“When I joined GEAPS, I was working for ADM, and most of my coworkers were members who attended chapter events to learn and network.
“In the early 2000s, I started on my chapter’s board of directors, then worked my way up through the chairs – second vice president, vice president, and president. In 2003, I joined the International Membership Committee. I chaired that for three years, and I’ve remained on the committee ever since. Then in 2006, I was nominated for the International Board of Directors. In 2009, I became an Executive Committee member and worked my way up to chairman. I was international president from 2011-12. I later rejoined the Board of Directors as chairman for another year. While I was a chairman that year, the treasurer had to step down, so I became the international treasurer, a role I hold today.
“As far as the benefits of membership, I think it’s really about networking and getting to know many different people in the industry. The networking at GEAPS Exchange is something I really enjoy.
“I always tell people that you will get as much out of your GEAPS membership as you put into it. GEAPS can do just about anything for you in the agricultural business as long as you make the effort.
“I absolutely recommend GEAPS to everybody. For the first 12 years, I wasn’t involved at the International level. GEAPS was a local meeting, and it was a direct resource. But when I started getting involved, it became a whole lot more. The friendships you make and the education have done so much for me professionally and personally.”
“I’ve been with the association for 20 years. Chapter-wise, I’ve been the local president, and I currently serve as the secretary/treasurer. At the International level, I’m on the Educational Planning Committee and Distance Learning Committee. I’m a past international president as well as a founding member of both the GEAPS Foundation and Kansas State Foundation.
“I have enjoyed the networking aspect of GEAPS more than anything. My first exposure to GEAPS was attending a leadership forum in Bloomington, IL. I didn’t know a soul there when I arrived, but I knew everybody’s name by the time I was done. Over the period of those two days, I had talked to everybody – about 80 to 90 people. Due to the relationships developed through GEAPS, I know many people I can call if I need advice on a problem.
“It’s unlike the grocery business, because in the grocery business, they’re pretty cutthroat. Nobody will talk to you, let alone help. GEAPS and the culture of the industry are so much different.”
“When I became a member, I had already known about GEAPS since I came into the industry in ‘94, but I didn’t join until I became settled in one location. When I worked overseas in Malaysia, having the ability to network with industry peers was so important, especially because I was disconnected geographically. I was living overseas but wanted to still have ties to the United States.
“I’m a past international president, and I’m the current chairman of the International Board of Directors. I’ve been a member of the Membership Committee, Marketing Oversight Committee, Nominations Committee, and GEAPS Foundation Board of Directors. At the Chapter level, I’ve been a director, vice president, and current president of the Kansas City Chapter.
“Over the years, I’ve been involved with four different Chapters, and I serve on the Advisory Board at Kansas State University for the IGP Institute, which is GEAPS’ strategic partner.
“I like that whenever I have an operations-related issue, I know many people through GEAPS who can help me. The fact that I can get answers or feedback from other operations professionals at other companies is amazing. I have developed multiple friendships with not only regular members, but vendors as well.
“As a longtime GEAPS member, I have witnessed the industry change a lot. I am very passionate about finding the next generation of leaders. So, our focus on Student Day at GEAPS Exchange of helping and supporting them is very meaningful. We’re bringing in the most talented young minds, not just in the United States, but internationally, too.”
Reprinted from Grain Journal July/August 2019 Issue
View this case study and more in the Grain Journal July August 2019 magazine.