The Grain Elevator and Processing Society is a strong, vital organization that continues to change and grow globally, according to Jim Voigt, vice-president of operations and engineering for ADM/Growmark, Decatur, Illinois, U.S.
Voigt spoke about the future of GEAPS at the group’s annual conference and trade show last March in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., where he succeeded Tom DiGiorgio as president of the organization for 2001-2002.
DiGiorgio, of Scoular Grain Co., Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., will become chairman of GEAPS’ international board for the next year. John Boswell, General Mills, Inc., Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., moved to first vice-president. Roger Dowdy, Consolidated Grain & Barge Co., Wayne City, Illinois, U.S., was elected second vice-president.
Nearly 1,700 people attended the 4-day GEAPS Exchange, including grain operations professionals from 21 countries, according to the GEAPS staff in Minneapolis.
A GEAPS member since 1986, Voigt said his involvement in the organization "has given me a valuable education, key professional contacts and many treasured friends."
In his speech to the GEAPS membership, Voigt said the organization’s leadership "must find ways to anticipate the challenges that change brings." He also noted the organization’s growing global presence.
"I’ve had the opportunity to see first-hand the commitment to operations excellence at grain handling and processing facilities in other countries, especially in Latin America," he said.
GEAPS is committed to "reaching out" to peer groups abroad, he said. One such group is APOSGRAN, a post-harvest grain organization in Argentina. Several APOSGRAN members attended the GEAPS conference in Phoenix.
GEAPS and APOSGRAN have collaborated this past year to offer GEAPS’ safety training and operations material in Spanish to grain operations personnel in Latin America, Voigt noted. GEAPS also has translated its web site, www.geaps.org, in Spanish.
"Growing globally has become an essential part of our mission," Voigt said. "We know we can learn from each other and benefit from the exchange of knowledge."
He also pointed to GEAPS’ commitment to professional education. Two memorial scholarships were recently announced, including the Harold Reese Scholarship, which provides up to U.S.$5,000 to applicants pursuing post-secondary programs in grain handling operations, and the Henry H. Kauffman Scholarship, which was reestablished this year to aid agribusiness professionals interested in studying a foreign language, including English.
At a upcoming leadership forum to be held June 26-28 in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., the group also will explore the possibility of offering "distance learning" for grain operations professionals in countries all over the world.
"I invite you to join us and be a part of the strategy to meet that challenge of change," Voigt said.