The Grain Elevator and Processing Society (GEAPS, pronounced “jeeps”) recently announced that Chris Blair will serve as president of the international organization for their 2022-2023 term. Blair, region manager at NEW Cooperative, leads the Palmer, Pomeroy, Knoke, Lanesboro, Glidden and Lidderdale locations for the cooperative. He has been a member of GEAPS for the last 15 years.
The process to becoming president began over seven years ago for Blair. “I first became a board of director in 2015 and was elected as a Vice President in 2020,” he said. “The progression to becoming GEAPS President is the next step and occurs automatically.”
Becoming president of the organization was not necessarily Blair’s first thought. “When I was voted in for my first term as an International Board Member, I did not have any aspirations to be president. I didn’t really know what it all entailed. When I ran for a second term as an International Board Member, things got more involved. After visiting with other board members, I realized this is something I can do.”
Blair appreciates the opportunities GEAPS provides. “I’ve always been passionate about the grain industry and the safety aspect of things. I am a person who always wants to better myself. I got my two-year [college] degree at the age of 40 and always push myself to be better. Being a member of GEAPS has helped me be better at my job.”
The networking and relationship opportunities the GEAPS organization provides are beneficial to both NEW Cooperative and Blair, he says. “I feel that NEW has benefited from the leadership skills I’ve been able to bring back. I have made a lot of contacts in the industry, and we all help each other. That network [of industry peers] is so big.”
Bringing more value for members through education and growing membership numbers are two key initiatives during Blair’s term as president. “Over the last year we started some big projects such as acquiring Country Journal Publishing and launching our new website. These will be exciting to watch develop.”
Blair appreciates the support NEW has given him. “GEAPS is a volunteer organization. Without the support of NEW, I don’t know how I could have been able to do the things I’ve done. I have found that if there is value in something and you can apply what you learn, NEW will invest in you personally to help you grow professionally.”
A 25-year veteran of the ag industry, Blair has worked for NEW Cooperative for over eight years. He and his wife Jenn have five children and reside in Rockwell City.
About NEW Cooperative, Inc.
NEW Cooperative, Inc. is a farmer-owned grain, agronomy, energy and feed cooperative headquartered in Fort Dodge, Iowa. As a leading agriculture retailer, NEW Cooperative is focused on being an innovative and efficient provider of today’s agriculture markets and services to 8,000 members throughout their 60 locations in Iowa. To learn more, visit www.newcoop.com.
The Grain Elevator and Processing Society (GEAPS) is an international professional association of grain handling and processing professionals. GEAPS addresses the industry’s critical grain handling, storage and processing operations needs by providing networking, professional development programs and access to a global marketplace of industry suppliers. GEAPS’ global network includes more than 2,200 individual members from about 1,050 companies. www.geaps.com