If anyone is wondering about the relative health of the grain processing industry an indicator things are going well could be found in the sold-out trade show for the GEAPS Exchange 2008.
Two months prior to the Exchange, almost 375 booths had been sold — this after expanding the exhibit hall floor plan five times — shattering the previous record of 300 set at Exchange 2000 in Kansas City. With exhibitors still coming in, there’s little question that the remaining booths will get snapped up, too. In all, the Omaha Exchange is likely to have more than 250 different companies exhibiting—and that’s a record, too.
Another indicator is how the GEAPS has responded to its membership’s thirst for information with an agenda packed with opportunities to participate in numerous sessions and activities covering the topics that matter most. In fact, the education program offers 33 hours of sessions — the biggest total to date — and extends over three days.
With the show reflecting the industry’s strong economic health, the GEAPS members, volunteers and leadership have created a don’t-miss event in the Exchange. (Editor’s note: read the sidebar interview with outgoing International President Mike Myrick, to learn more about how GEAPS grew this event).
WORKSHOPS TACKLE ISSUES
GEAPS Exchange 2008 will offer a morning-long workshop on a topic of special interest to the grain industry – how to recruit, hire and retain good workers.
They include two with extensive experience working directly for grain companies — Barb Quandt, human resource manager, West Central, Ralston, Ia.; and Rebecca Goranson, employment & training manager, The Andersons, Maumee, Ohio.
In addition, the workshop will feature Melinda Mullenix, agribusiness employment specialists with AgCareers.com; and Scott DeWeese, Chief Operating Officer, ProValue LLC, a human-resources consulting business. DeWeese will discuss how companies might consider generational differences when structuring employment options. The workshop will be held Sunday, Feb. 24, from 7:30-11 a.m.
"AND IN THIS CORNER . . ."
“Pods” will spring to life in all four corners of the Exchange 2008 expo hall as GEAPS expands its educational program and offers additional hands-on learning opportunities.
The pods, curtained-off areas designed for small groups, will focus on equipment used to assess grain quality. The sessions will cover a variety of different subjects and will be conducted on Monday and Tuesday.
All of the pods will offer up-close, how-to opportunities with the equipment, rather than lecture-type presentations and attendance in the pods will be held to a maximum of 30 people (and in one case, just 15 people), on a first-come, first-served basis.
The Pod concept — already a big hit — promises to grow and get better in years to come as they cover the following themes in subsequent years will be:
2009/St. Louis – Conveying Equipment
2010/Wichita – Electrical Safety in the Workplace
2011/Portland, OR – Dust Collection Systems and Maintenance
2012/Minneapolis – Process Control and Automation
GEAPS’ Educational Programming Committee has selected 15 presentations for the annual Idea Exchange.
The two-hour program, set for Sunday afternoon, Feb. 24, at the Exchange in Omaha, will once again be packed with information about new products and industry innovations. As in previous years, it’s bound to be a fast-paced, no-nonsense event. Each of the 15 speakers will have just six or seven minutes to get his main points across.
Larry Jackson, Agrex, Inc., Overland Park, Kan., who has been master of ceremonies at Idea Exchange for the past 14 years, has once again agreed to lead the program. The Idea Exchange has two parts.
One – “What’s New?” enables businesses to briefly discuss products that are new to the industry.
The other part, “Why Don’t They? ... I Did!” features innovations that grain-operations managers, workers or suppliers put into practice to improve safety or efficiency at their own facility or facilities. The list of presentations for Exchange 2008 are as follows: