Your Foundation Caretakers
The GEAPS Foundation Governing Board comprises grain and oilseed supply chain operations industry leaders. Governing board members recognize, understand and are inspired by the opportunity to significantly advance the development shared knowledge resources for grain handling and processing facility operations efficiency, safety, environmental responsibility and supply-chair sustainability
The Foundation Board:
- Directs and oversees the development and implementation of marketing and fundraising.
- Establishes criteria for making professional development and continuing education program grants and define the scope of and parameters for such awards to include standards and levels of achievement; and accountability by grant applicants and award recipients.
- Establishes mechanisms for communicating and reporting back to GEAPS, foundation donors and industry beneficiaries on a systematic basis.
Mark FedjeFoundation Board Chair
General Mills, Inc
Mr. Fedje is operations superintendent for General Mills, Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he has worked since 2000. He began his grain operations management career in 1986 at ADM, including work as foreman, assistant elevator manager and plant manager. He is GEAPS International executive officer serving as 2016-17 Treasurer. He holds an agricultural business degree from the University of Minnesota.
Bill LysterFoundation Board President
Mr. Lyster is president of Lyster Consulting, Sutherland, Iowa. He began his grain industry career in 1972 with Speltz Grain. He subsequently worked 1974-1978 for Cook Industries prior to joining Ag Partners in 1978. Bill has been a GEAPS member since 1976 and served as GEAPS president in 2012-13.
Bill MerrittFoundation Board Treasurer
General Mills, Inc (retired)
Mr. Merritt recently retired as Director of Operations and Finance for Grain Operations at General Mills Inc. He worked for General Mills beginning in 1977 advancing in increasingly important financial and operational management roles for numerous operating divisions. Nearly half of Merritt’s career at General Mills was devoted to the grain and milling businesses, providing leadership for key strategic initiatives such as acquisitions, joint ventures and asset rationalization, and developed proficiency in operations, business process improvements, business planning and organization development. Merritt was on the National Grain and Feed Association committee for electronic data interchange. He is currently an Associate Member of GEAPS and an independent management consultant. As a GEAPS Regular Member, Merritt served in GEAPS leadership roles for the GEAPS International Board, the GEAPS International Executive Committee, and as GEAPS International Treasurer.
Robert TaylorFoundation Board Secretary
Mr. Taylor is the training and technology leader for Cargill, Inc, Wayzata, Minnesota, where he has worked since 1990. He began his operations career as a production supervisor and has held additional leadership roles as a team leader, maintenance superintendent, facility superintendent, facility plant manager and group operations leader. He holds an B.S. degree in Industrial Technology from Prairie View A&M University. He is a GEAPS International Executive Officer serving as 2018-19 president.
Julia Kloehn, CAEInterim GEAPS Foundation Executive Director
Julia oversees GEAPS general operations management. She also serves as GEAPS International Secretary. Julia joined the GEAPS staff team in 2007.
The Scoular Company (retired)
Mr. DiGiorgio is a native of Chicago, Illinois. He received his B.A. degree in Economics from Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois in 1971. His first exposure to Agribusiness was working in public accounting in Monmouth. Later, he started working at grain and feed business in Monmouth. In January, 1977 he started work at The Scoular Company as a facility manager. In 1980 he transferred to the Corporate office. In his nearly 40-year career at Scoular he held a number of positions in the areas of operations, business development, safety and loss control and commercial insurance administration. Tom retired from The Scoular Company in July, 2016. At that time his title was VP/Loss Control and Insurance Risk Administration.
Mr. Fray leads the risk management, trading and freights positions for Landus Cooperative’s grain origination and merchandising business which includes nearly 180 million bushels of grain storage assets and a 20 million bushel per year soy processing facility. Mr. Fray has been an NFA Series III licensed commodities broker for 30 years, and currently serves as a board member on the Executive Committee for the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) as well as on NGFA’s rail shippers and receivers committee. He is currently first vice chairman of the Transportation, Elevator and Grain Merchants Association (TEGMA) board of directors and is a member of the GEAPS Foundation Board. Fray has also served as a member of the U.S. Surface Transportation Board’s Railroad-Shipper Transportation Advisory Council (RSTAC) and was an arbitrator in the first rail case brought before the NGFA. He holds a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from University of Missouri at Columbia.
Brock Grain Systems, Division CTC, Inc., a Berkshire-Hathaway Co (retired)
Ms. Good has recently retired as a grain storage, handing and conditioning District Sales Manager where she served Illinois and Missouri since 1994. She began her grain handling career in 1973 with Clay Equipment, advancing to Hunter Manufacturing/Meyer Agri Products in 1980 and working at Butler Manufacturing from 1985 to 1994. Good has represented the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois as a chairperson of the Scholarship Committee and Convention Committee and three years on the Board of Directors. She also has held various leadership positions in GEAPS on both the chapter and International levels including service as a member of the educational programming committee and as president of the Associates Board of Directors.
Mr. Klare has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Ohio University and has over 20 years of experience in the grain industry, with 11 years at ADM’s export facilities and 11 years as a consulting engineer. During that time, he has developed and managed capital projects for facilities throughout the United States, as well as several countries around the world. As a GEAPS member for the past 15 years, he has served as Associates Board President, International Board Director, Foundation Board Director, Chapter Resource Committee Chairman, and is currently secretary for the Gulf South Chapter. Mr. Klare has also written and presented three lectures for GEAPS / KSU Distance Education courses, and has served as a peer reviewer on several others.
Mrs. Lansink began her career in the grain industry when she joined Comco Controls in Saskatoon, Canada in July 1999. Initially hired by Comco as a computer programmer for the development of PLC automation systems for grain and feed facilities, her position transitioned into Sales & Marketing after she attended the GEAPS Expo in Columbus 2004 with her general manager. Cheryl is the Chapter Secretary for Siouxland Chapter, Chair of GEAPS Membership Committee and President of the GEAPS Associates Board.
Mr. Myers is the elevator superintendent at Bunge Milling, Atchison, Kansas. He joined GEAPS in 2008 and was elected in 2017 as second vice president in succession to the office of 2019-20 president. As International first vice president, Steve serves as a member of the Executive Committee and Marketing Oversight Committee. Steve also serves as GEAPS representative to the NGFA Board, a member of the Membership Committee and as a director of the Kansas City Chapter.
Mr. Neal began his grain industry career in 1994 with Cargill and has additional industry experience with DeBruce Grain and Perdue Agribusiness. He has lived, worked, designed, built, and operated grain facilities in Asia and throughout North America. He served as GEAPS 2016-17 International president. He also serves as a member of the Kansas State University Grain Science and Industry Advisory Board. He holds an Agricultural Engineering degree from the University of Minnesota.
Kansas State University
Prior to joining the department of Grain Science and Industry in early 2015, Dr. Smith worked nine years as vice president and research fellow for ConAgra Foods’ Research, Quality and Innovation team in Omaha, Nebraska. Prior to that, he worked for fourteen years at Sara Lee Foods in a variety of technical roles. Dr. Smith received his bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and biology from the University of Tennessee at Martin. He completed a master’s degree in organic chemistry and doctorate in food science from Texas A&M University. As a food science scholar, Smith has authored or co-authored published research involving food product creation, food product tests, acrylamide and shelf life stability. Smith also has served as a co-author on food science book chapters and has developed or co-developed 20 patents or patent-pending technologies in food manufacturing.
Mr. George Vis has been a Vice President of Commercial Operations – North America at Ag Growth International Inc. since September 2016. Mr. Vis co-founded G J VIS Enterprises Inc. in May 2000 and served as its President. He joined AGI and the Management Team in late 2015 with the acquisition of G.J. Vis Enterprises.
Mr. Zink is Global Product Manager for Tuthill Transfer Systems, Fort Wayne, Indiana. He is a twenty-year veteran of the grain handling and storage industry with experience both nationally and internationally. As a GEAPS member, he has served in various chapter and International leadership roles; presently holding seats as the Associates Board vice president and vice chair of the Continuing Education Program Oversight Committee. Zink is a member of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers and holds a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Science from Purdue University, West Lafayette.