MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, US — John Caupert, who has more than 30 years of experience in agribusiness, was hired to lead the Grain Elevator and Processing Society (GEAPS) as executive director, the association announced on Nov. 14.

Most recently executive director of the National Corn to Ethanol Research Center (NCERC), Caupert succeeds Steve Records, who was with GEAPS from late 2019 to March 31 of this year. Julie Kloehn, operations director at GEAPS, had been serving as interim executive director. Glen Gudino, president of GEAPS Media Group (GMG), has been leading the GMG team in Illinois.  

During Caupert’s 17-year tenure at NCERC, located at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, he directed the pathway to commercialization of more than 80 technologies. His efforts took NCERC from being a publicly funded research center to one which is now self-sustained through private sector contractual research and grants.  

Chuck Kunisch, president of GEAPS, said Caupert’s knowledge, experience and education in the grain elevator and processing industry fits perfectly with what the board was looking for when considering this hire.  

“His experience of running a nonprofit organization will put him in the GEAPS’ executive director pilot seat on day one,” Kunisch said. “He also has experience working with commodity organizations, which will bring GEAPS closer to working with the producers who partner with GEAPS in helping to feed and fuel the world.”

Caupert said he is both honored and humbled to be selected to lead GEAPS, which he described as an organization that has paved the way for thousands of people and companies in both the grain elevator and processing industries.  

“GEAPS is a member-driven organization, a resource for its members, which means, GEAPS is about people,” he said. “I look forward to getting to know the heart and soul of GEAPS, its members. More than 3,000 strong, GEAPS members represent all areas of the grain industry. By respecting our traditions while also keeping an eye on the future, I have faith together we will go far.”

Caupert received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agribusiness economics with a specialization in agriculture policy from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.   

GEAPS said it looked for a leader who would honor the organization’s history while also looking to the future.

“John brings some international experience to go along with his expertise in the processing industry and executive director experience,” said Chris Blair, chair of the GEAPS board. “This has been a long process, one that I believe has been well worth the time invested. John will fit right in with the GEAPS family and the grain industry and will work with the industry, members and staff to carry out GEAPS’ mission and vision.”

Caupert will join GEAPS on Dec. 11, in the midst of preparation for GEAPS Exchange next February in Kansas City, Missouri, US, and GEAPS’ Leadership Conference next May in Fort Worth, Texas, US.