Dennis R. Witzel
Class of 2013
Dennis R. Witzel was born in Huron, SD, on October 31, 1946, to Dorothy and Vern.
After graduation from Huron High School in 1964, he entered the U.S. Army and was eventually assigned to the 518th Adjutant General Personnel Service Corps in Cam Ranh Bay, South Vietnam. Among his service awards are the Vietnam Service, Defense and Campaign Medals, the National Defense Medal, and a Meritorious Unit Commendation.
Dennis married Sheila Chovan in 1982, and they have two sons, Richard and Michael.
After the Army, Dennis clerked at Albertsons Food Stores until 1969, then worked in sales for Rod’s Food Products until 1972, when he joined the Nestlé Foods Co. in Sales and Management for the Retail Chocolate Division.
In 1973, Dennis enrolled in Mt. San Antonio Community College to study business administration. He later studied sales and marketing at Chaffey Community College.
As an Account Manager from 1974 to 1985, Dennis focused on Nestlé’s key grocery, drug and mass merchant clients in Southern California and Las Vegas. He became a Territory Sales Manager and was inducted into Nestlé’s Centurion Club in 1982.
Dennis was promoted to District Sales Manager in 1985 and assigned to its Peter’s Chocolate Division, calling on candy producers and manufacturers in the Western U.S. and British Columbia.
When Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate North America purchased Peter’s Chocolate from Nestlé in 2002, Dennis remained District Sales Manager for the same territory for Cargill until 2009, when he left to start his own business.
In addition to being Owner of Dennis Witzel Sales & Consulting, he also executes special projects for Cargill and brokers for Linnea’s Cake & Candy Supplies, Inc. He serves the industry as a Chocolate Boot Camp instructor and course coordinator for the RCI’s educational programs, and received the RCI’s Henry Bornhofft Award in 2012.
Dennis has served on the RCI board of directors, and was a member of the Northern California Chapter of the AACT and the Western Candy Conference.
Cribbage and pheasant hunting are among his interests, and he belongs to a VVA Chapter of the VFW.
Dennis passed away January 11, 2020.