GEAPS Exchange 2003

by Emily Buckley
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The Exchange, the Grain Elevator And Processing Society’s 74th annual technical conference and exposition, will return to the U.S. heartland after successful excursions to Vancouver in 2002 and Phoenix in 2001. The midwest U.S. location of Columbus, Ohio, in the eastern corn belt, is expected to draw one of the biggest attendances in a decade.

Twenty hour-long educational sessions will present information on Grain facility security; Skyrocketing insurance costs; Rising Workers’ Compensation costs; Training employees who don’t speak English; Finding and keeping good workers; Assessing the growing ‘new-uses’ market for grain and oilseeds; and Preventing grain-dust explosions.

While the program will cover current issues, it retains GEAPS’ long-term emphasis on operations safety, grain quality, professional development, and technical knowhow.

"These are topics that people in the industry need and want to know about," said Mike Kiel of The Andersons and chairman of the Educational Planning Committee. "We want to keep it interesting, but it also has to be useful. It has to offer knowledge and insight that people can take back and apply at their jobs."

Having one-on-one contact with suppliers in the trade show is core to the GEAPS Exchange and members attending the show. This year, there are more than 200 companies exhibiting. (See pages 40-41 to see which ones are supplying the products you need.) Educational programs have been scheduled to not conflict with trade show times, maximizing attendees’ interaction with the exhibitors.

As always, a successful GEAPS conference is the result of a lot of hard work and dedicated effort to provide the industry with programs benefiting various operations and touching on the most current trends.

"We do not just sit back and wait for things to fall into place," said John Boswell, GEAPS international president. "If we want to live up to the tradition, we really have to roll up our sleeves. And that’s what a lot of people in the organization have done for months now. Although I thought our Exchange last year was strong, this year looks even better."

Also in Columbus at the Exchange, the executive committees of both GEAPS and the Association of Operative Millers will continue talks of collaboration between the two organizations. GEAPS and AOM have met several times before, most recently in mid-December 2002 to discuss the possibility of hosting a joint "International Trade Show" in the future.

Boswell and Wayne Bauer, chairman of the GEAPS committee exploring collaboration with AOM, predict that if a joint show is agreed upon, it would not take place before 2008.

"Beyond the concept of a joint international trade show, we feel that there will be other opportunities for synergy between our two groups for achieving our common member-program and service objectives."

Meanwhile the Exchange will continue, and in strong force in 2003. The schedule here offers a quick glance at what’s ahead for the expected 2,000 conference attendees.