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The Power of Networking with GEAPS

Published: Apr 21, 2023 by Krissy Ohnstad
Chuck Kunisch GEAPS Power of Networking

Six Degrees of Chuck Kunisch

Back in the day, we talked about the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

Basically, it was a hypothesis that anyone who was in show business was connected—in six degrees or less—to Kevin Bacon. It was a party game; it was also true.

(For our younger readers, Kevin Bacon was the guy who brought his big city dance moves to Texas in “Footloose,” long before the unremarkable remake in 2011.)

In the grain business, we have Chuck Kunisch.

Chances are, you know Chuck. If you don’t, you’ve probably heard of him. If you haven’t heard of him, he sure does look mighty familiar.

While he may not have Bacon’s famous dance moves, Kunisch, who serves as first vice president of GEAPS’ Board of Directors and has worked at Michigan Agricultural Commodities for 25 years, believes in networking.

Networking has opened doors, introduced him to thousands of people, improved his health and saved his company millions of dollars.

Almost sounds like magic, right?

“Networking can take you places. It can open doors for opportunities, and it can save you and your company a lot of money,” Kunisch said.

How did he get so good at networking? Kunisch credits his involvement with GEAPS.

“When I first became a GEAPS member, I did not understand the value or even what networking meant or how it could help me in my career,” he said. “However, as I started to attend GEAPS events—GEAPS Exchange, MSO chapter meetings, Great Lakes Regional and leadership meetings—I was meeting people, listening to what they knew about and keeping their contact information. In the future, when I ran into problems and issues where I didn’t have the knowledge, I realized I could use these contacts to help me figure out how to solve those issues.”

To be successful at networking, Kunisch said, one must go outside of their walls. It can’t be done from a cubicle. It’s about being involved not only at work, but with industry organizations and getting to know people who do the same work—and people who do work you could never do.

Networking isn’t just about chatting with assigned teammates at a  golf tournament. It’s about building relationships, learning, asking questions and having the confidence to speak up and reach out.

Kunisch has been a member of GEAPS for more than 20 years. He plans to renew this spring—and encourages you to do the same.

Over the years, Kunisch learned being a part of an organization like GEAPS is an important part of building connections and having support in the industry.

“As I learned more about networking, I made more of an effort to make more contacts and gain more information in the future,” Kunisch said.

In addition to serving on GEAPS’ board, Kunisch is a longtime member of the Exchange Educational Planning Committee (EPC) and is a member of GEAPS’ Michigan/Southern Ontario chapter.

Kunisch doesn’t stop with GEAPS. He’s also involved with the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) and Specialty Soya and Grains Alliance (SSGA) and Michigan Agri-Business Association (MABA).

“I can say networking has made and saved my employer millions of dollars over my time with them. Networking has allowed me to make really good friends with people in and out of the industry who I will value for the rest of my life. I have gotten to know a lot of people over those years. I remember all their names, or most of them anyway,” he joked.

By Jessica Waltzer

Please Join Us!

Please tune into an upcoming webinar to learn about networking directly from Chuck Kunisch. Scheduled for noon, Wednesday, May 10, “The Power of Networking in the Grain Industry: Build Your Business and Support Your Career” is your opportunity to learn about networking straight from Kunisch. There will be a question-and-answer period following Kunisch’s presentation.


Jessica Waltzer
Communications Manager