Magazine On-line [summer 2013]
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Joe and JoAnn Thomson honored with international business award

Transylvania trustee Joe Thomson ’66 and his wife, JoAnn, were honored by the World Trade Center Institute in Baltimore in May when the organization gave the couple’s Winbak Farm a Maryland International Business Leadership Award.

The award was presented by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley at a ceremony in the American Visionary Arts Museum near Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
Winbak is a 3,000-acre Standardbred horse farm located near Chesapeake City, Md., that is involved in breeding, foaling, yearling sales, and standing stallions. The farm has bred horses that have earned over $224 million and won more than 23,352 harness races since 1998.

In recent years Winbak has focused more on developing international business, which prompted the leadership award. About 30 to 40 percent of yearling sales are international, as is more than 50 percent of semen sales. The farm has done business with clients in Italy, Sweden, Norway, Holland, Germany, Scandinavia, Siberia, Russia, Romania, Ukraine, China, and Canada.

Winbak breeds 100 mares in Canada, and has horse operations in New York, Ontario, and Delaware, in addition to Maryland. The farm also engages in international exchanges in farm management and veterinary medicine.

“The award was a surprise, and it makes me proud of our operation,” Joe Thomson said. Winbak has won Breeder of the Year and Horse of the Year recognition.

Winbak Farm was one of seven winners chosen from over 100 nominations. Among the other honorees were Johns Hopkins Medicine International and Chrysler, LLC.

“Joe Thomson is a unique combination of prudence and aggression,” said Thomas Grossman, owner of Blue Chip Farms in New York, a Standardbred operation that has done business with Thomson for years. “He is a piece of true bedrock in a quickly changing business climate and makes all of us around him better.”

Thomson has been a member of the Transylvania Board of Trustees since 2004 and is a former member of the Board of Visitors. He and his wife made a generous lead gift toward the design and construction of Thomson Residence Hall, a $5.5 million project opened in 2008 that includes suite-style accommodations for 80 students, along with the 1780 Café.

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