GEAPS International 2013-2014 President Slav Waplak, Viterra, Inc., Canadian Prairies Chapter, delivered the following speech February 26 at the President’s Banquet at GEAPS Exchange 2013 in Louisville, Kentucky. The International Member of Distinction award is GEAPS' highest leadership service recognition award, presented by the International board to honor members who have made extraordinary contribution to advancing GEAPS core purpose and values.
"It is my privilege to present our International Member of Distinction award which is the highest award for distinguished leadership service at the International level. We bestow this honor on a member who has made extraordinary contributions to advancing GEAPS’ core purpose and values. As the inscription on the award reads:
'For extraordinary leadership service, commitment and dedication to representing the best interests of GEAPS, GEAPS’ members and the grain handling industry through the advancement and pursuit of GEAPS’ core values of operations efficiency, environmental responsibility, innovation, professional development, quality management, safety, and security. Your legacy of leadership benefits us all and inspires others to contribute their best.'
This year we recognize a member who has built his career and reputation on the pursuit of safety for our industry. GEAPS has been a direct beneficiary of that dedication though his volunteer leadership service. During the course of his 33 years as a GEAPS member, our recipient has held many different leadership positions. Even in his first year of membership with GEAPS in 1980, our recipient became immediately active in leadership service as a member of our Grain Industry Safety and Health Center Task Force and subsequently as a member of our Loss Prevention Committee. Though the name of that committee changed a few times over the years, his commitment never wavered and he later served as chair of the Safety Health and Environmental Quality Committee for 10 years including leading its transition to a committee of the National Grain and Feed Association a committee on which he still serves.
Throughout his distinguished career, he has made significant contributions to excellence in grain handling operations safety. His collaborative leadership style was instrumental in building the relationship between GEAPS and the National Grain and Feed Association. He worked proactively for the mutual benefit of these groups while at the same time holding GEAPS International Board director and executive officer positions as well as serving as GEAPS’ representative on the National Grain and Feed Association board of directors.
During his presidency, our recipient’s main priority was to lead advancement of GEAPS’ initiatives to expand and enhance forums for the exchange of ideas and information. His goal was to ensure members had the knowledge needed to perform their jobs in a safe and efficient manner. His time on the International board was one of tremendous advancement toward our pursuit of knowledge sharing. In 2008 while the entire nation was in financial crisis, he held the position of International president and kept the organization focused on developing and expanding the GEAPS’ distance education program to include online and on-demand formats. His tireless efforts included the continued development of the grain operations management credentialing program and approval of an expanded partnership with Kansas State University to launch development of the “International Center for Grain Handling Industry Operations,”.
Our worthy recipient was also a key leader in creating a more sustainable governance and operations management plan for GEAPS’ membership development including expansion of member and chapter programs and services.