MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, U.S. — The Grain Elevator and Processing Society (GEAPS) honored two grain industry leaders during its annual GEAPS Exchange, this year held in Portland, Oregon, Feb. 26-March 1.

Dr. Dirk Maier, Kansas State University (KSU), Great Plains Chapter, received the GEAPS Industry Leader Award and Van Buchanan, a GEAPS member for more than 30 years, received the Corbett Award. The two were honored at the President’s Banquet on March 1.

The Industry Leader Award is given to an individual member or non-member, who has made extraordinary contributions to the advancement of grain handling industry operations in the areas of safety, health, environmental responsibility, efficiency or stored-grain quality management excellence.

“A GEAPS member since 1992, our new honoree has served our industry by developing and launching initiatives for attracting and developing future leaders,” said GEAPS International 2011-2012 President Mark Fedje, General Mills, Minneapolis Chapter.

In 2005, as Purdue University’s associate head of Extension Agriculture Engineering, Maier helped GEAPS form DEPOC, the distance education program oversight committee, to assist in the development of the first distance education courses.

In 2007, he became director of the GEAPS-Purdue University Learning Program. That same year, he was the recipient of the2007 NC-213 Andersons Cereals and Oilseeds Award of Excellence. NC-213 is a project team of engineers, scientists and economists from universities and government research centers that conduct research to manage quality food safety and bio-security in the world grain market, and this award was created in 1999 to recognize individuals or teams that have made superior contributions to science and/or education related to cereals and oilseeds.

As head of the Grain Science and Industry Department at KSU, Maier’s dedication to GEAPS and the distance education program never wavered, Fedje said. In fact, he brought the distance education program to KSU as a method of maintaining the strategic relationship with GEAPS and to promote its continued development. Since its humble beginning in 2005, the distance education program has grown to 12 courses per year and has had over 1,000 students.

Maier is a key leader in advancing the International Center for Grain Industry Operations, a joint initiative between KSU and GEAPS to establish a comprehensive resource for the grain handling and processing industry.

The Corbett Award recognizes associate members who through individual initiative and volunteer leadership service, has made extraordinary contributions to advancing GEAPS’ core purpose on behalf of all GEAPS members.

During the course of his membership, Buchanan has been extraordinarily engaged in volunteer leadership service to GEAPS on both the chapter and International levels, said GEAPS Associates 2011-2012 Board President Gary Vaughn, Union Iron Works, Greater Iowa Chapter.

In addition to serving at the chapter level, Buchanan played an instrumental role as co-chair of the host advisory committee for GEAPS Exchange 2010 and serves as his chapter's unofficial historian. He also “single-handedly” organized and put on a multi-chapter regional conference in 2005.

At the GEAPS International level, our award recipient served as an associates board director for six years and as a member of the Chapter Resources Committee.