GEAPS board president on grain industry challenges [Video]

Chris Blair discusses the current state of GEAPS and what it means to the grain handling industry.

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Chris Blair, western district manager at NEW Cooperative and president of the Grain Elevator and Processing Society (GEAPS) board of directors, talks with Feed & Grain at GEAPS Exchange 2023. Blair took over as president from Barbara Grove, and continues the changes that the origination has been implementing over the past few years.


Feed & Grain: Can you tell us a little about yourself and what you do at GEAPS?

Chris Blair: My name is Chris Blair and the current western district manager for NEW cooperative. I oversee 30 locations and have five direct reports that reports to me. I focus on operations mostly. So currently my position at GEAPS would be the president this year. I've been involved on the GEAPS board, two terms. And I've been running through the chairs and this year, I am the GEAPS president, next year, I'll be the chair.

F&G: How has your term as GEAPS president gone? What do you feel proudest about so far?

Blair: So, working up to be the president, there's a lot of other things that go into throughout the years. So we've been focusing as a Board, about being proactive, finding new ways to do things. In order to carry out our mission and vision, we felt that we needed to do some work on that and updating some of those things. So we've been doing a lot of strategic planning over the last year, just knowing what our members want, what they need, in order to make this be a benefit for them to be associated with GEAPS. To be able to come here bring things back to their locations, being a part of that is something that I felt we've accomplished a lot this year.

F&G: Why do you feel GEAPS is important for the grain handling industry?

Blair: So, part of our new mission, and vision with GEAPS is we want to be the place where anybody in the industry comes to us to be able to know that GEAPS is a place that you can come and find out anything on conveying equipment, legs, maintenance, safety, just GEAPS being the go to person. You know, we maybe we don't have the answer. But we want to be able to get those people in the right direction and get them to the people that know what can help them.

F&G: What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing the industry?

Blair: I mean, there's a lot of different things happening. Right now. It's getting people into this industry. I think that's just a common thing that's happening throughout all industries, right now, beating around grain every single day get dusty, and those types of things aren't necessarily sexy. So just trying to figure out how we can improve work environments for people using technology, we're not overly blessed with help. So just trying to figure out how we get things in place to make people's jobs a lot better. So that I think that's one of the hardest things that we're facing is, as an industry, you know.

F&G: What are you most excited for at the GEAPS Exchange this year?

Blair: What I'm most excited about is the opening workshop, bringing in those keynote speakers, that they can tell their personal story, because that's what we are about. Within GEAPS, we all tell our stories, just to help one another. So, bringing Dan in, and to be able to tell his story, through all the things that he's went through and still to be able to come up on top. I think that's something that, you know, as an industry, we need to hear those types of things.

I am really excited about that. I'm excited about the Expo floor and all the all the different things and new exciting things that are out on the floor. And just having all these people to come into one place and be able to connect with people. So that's, you know, there's a lot of things I'm excited about. Those are just a couple.