GEAPS Director: Excited to Be Back in Person [VIDEO]

Feed & Grain GEAPS Exchange Chats are the best way to learn about what is happening at the 2022 GEAPS Exchange & Expo being held this year in Kansas City, MO.

Steve Records, GEAPS executive director, stopped by to discuss this year's Exchange and the importance of getting involved with your local GEAPS chapter.

Transcription of Steve Records, GEAPS Executive Director.

Feed & Grain: What about the GEAPS Exchange are you most excited for this year?

Steve Records, GEAPS:

GEAPS Exchange is is the pinnacle event that we have and I'm actually very excited about getting everyone back together in a in a quasi post-COVID world.

Obviously we had GEAPS Exchange last summer as a postponement to the 2021 event, but this 2022 event is really the the first time that that GEAPS Exchange will be back to GEAPS Exchange as everyone has known and grown accustomed to.

I think the most exciting part as an organization whose mission is to connect people and network and train and educate, there is no better place than GEAPS Exchange, where we're going to bring thousands of people together within the industry, to meet each other to talk to have fun, and of course, to learn.

What value does the GEAPS Exchange offer for someone new to the grain industry?

For first timers coming to GEAPS Exchange, and for anyone new to the industry, I would encourage you to come to GEAPS Exchange.

And that sounds very selfish, I realize. But one thing that we pride ourselves on is as the industry association is, when we think about people coming into the industry, more and more, we're every every facility, every company is dealing with labor shortages, every company is dealing with experience shortages, people are coming to a co-op or an elevator or a supplier, without the perhaps industry experience that they once brought people coming into an elevator or coming off of the farm any longer.

When you think about the backgrounds and experience of people coming into the industry, regardless of role, it's very different. And then that's compounded with the idea that our industry has a number of people getting ready to retire over the course of the next five years.

It's a little bit of a double whammy with regards to less experience coming in the front door, and the really heavy experience going out the back door.

That's a very long intro to say, at GEAPS, what we can do is help those new people really lessen the learning curve with regard to how to do the job right.

At the end of the day, the industry's mission is to feed the world. And when people come together at GEAPS, whether you're a first time visitor to GEAPS, whether you're an industry veteran, whether you've been in been in the industry for a day or 50 years.

GEAPS' core value is to say we're here as an industry, we're going to live our industry mission together, we're going to help people do their jobs better, be safer, go home at night, feed the world. And that's really what we take pride in being the the central hub for.

What is happening with the Exchange's Education Program?

There will be a truly formal education sessions where speakers will come in and present topics.

We have different tracks for that type of more formal education. So there'll be a safety track, there'll be an operations track, there'll be a maintenance track.

This year, we're introducing a new track, which is really geared toward relationship management, sales and soft skills.

Scott Downey from Purdue University is going to lead through how to build strategic relationships and what that means not only for a co-op, but for someone selling to a co-op.

Ag reselling is something new that we're bringing to bear on the expo hall floor.

We have innovation stations, where during the expo, you can go and sit and learn and see demonstrations of people bringing new things to the industry.

There will be a a grain entrapment demo to highlight the safety aspect to talk about what it's like and how easy it is to be engulfed and trapped and how to properly rescue someone.

Of course, we believe that inherently just talking to people, whether you're speaking to someone at a booth or you're connecting with someone over your favorite drink at reception, that learning is occurring all the time.

What can you tell us about Kansas City, the show's location for the next three years?

We are excited about Kansas City. I think the great thing about Kansas City is that it uniquely for our membership, as it stands right now is geographically in the center of the vast majority of our members.

We did an analysis to show that the vast majority of people that not only are members but potential members are all within the majority are within an 8- to 10-hour drive of Kansas City.

The last time we were in Kansas City was 2017. It was the biggest show that we had had to date. We fully expect the show to to be on par with that one as well.

F&G How does someone get more involved with GEAPS?

The great thing about what we do is we're far bigger than just one show.

We have professional development programs where people can take training on their computer or through through webinars. We have 22 chapters across North America.

In between large events, whether it's our leadership conference in the summer or the GEAPS Exchange in the spring, chapters have routine meetings.

If you're in the Minneapolis area, that Minneapolis chapter meets nearly once a month, if you're down in Kansas, there's three or four chapters within a drive of where you're at.

Regardless of where you're at within Kansas, that networking and training occurs on a really localized level, in addition to what we do on the national and international levels.

F&G: If you could only recommend one thing to an attendee, what would it be?

I'm going to skip that question, give you two things, we've brought in a keynote speaker to really talk about resilience.

When we think about how things have changed, in our industry, in the world, in in, in our individual lives, how we deal with that change and what an organization does to be resilient, what an individual does to be resilient.

Those are all things that are on everyone's mind, regardless of role, regardless of tenure. That's what our keynote speaker will focus on to start our conference Sunday morning.

Then at the end, there's a closing ceremony and we're kind of excited about bringing something fun to do. The Peterson Farm Brothers who are a little bit of a viral hit in and around Kansas that do song parodies about agriculture. They also do speaking and will be closing GEAPS Exchange on Tuesday afternoon. That will certainly be a lot of fun and interesting. I don't think people want to miss that either.