Listen in to hear about the monumental GEAPS Exchange event with John Caupert, the visionary executive director of GEAPS (Grain Elevator and Processing Society). Fresh from the excitement of Exchange 2024 in Kansas City, MO, Caupert shares his reflections, highlights and insider insights on the event that celebrated the grain handling and processing industry.

From record-breaking attendance to standout moments like the Get Acquainted Party with a mechanical bull and keynote presentation that included a rockstar drummer delivering a powerful message, Caupert paints a vivid picture of the energy and enthusiasm that permeated the trade show floor, educational sessions and numerous networking events. Dive deep into the numbers, trends and innovations that shaped  GEAPS Exchange 2024, from international representation to the pivotal discussions on automation, technology and the ongoing labor shortage.

Discover how GEAPS Exchange serves as a catalyst for industry advancement, offering a perfect blend of information, education and networking opportunities. Caupert shares his vision for the future of Exchange, including strategies to attract more attendees and cultivate the next generation of grain industry professionals.

Don’t miss this episode as we peek behind the success of GEAPS Exchange and chart the course for a brighter future in the grain handling industry. 

Save the date for GEAPS Exchange 2025! Make plans now to attend 2025 GEAPS Exchange at the Kansas City Convention Center February 22-25, 2025, in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

Tune in now and be inspired to join the thriving community driving innovation and progress in grain handling and processing.

The Whole Grain show is hosted by Jim Lenz, GEAPS’ director of training and education.


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Y’all are invited to Fort Worth, Texas for GEAPS Leadership Conference May 8th & 9th! GEAPS Leadership Conference is a two-day deep dive into all things leadership—with a bit of fun to round things out. The conference features a robust education focus, social events a tabletop trade show and—of course—networking!  For more information, visit!

Grain Elevator and Processing Society champions, connects and serves the global grain industry and its members. Be sure to visit GEAPS’ website to learn how you can grow your network, support your personal professional development, and advance your career. Thank you for listening to another episode of GEAPS’ Whole Grain podcast.

Transcript: GEAPS Exchange 2024: Setting Records, Shaping FuturesDetails

Jim Lenz, Host of Whole Grain  0:05
At the time of this recording the big global event in the grain handling and processing industry chiefs exchange has just concluded listen in to hear about the monumental event with John Caupert, the visionary Executive Director of the Grain Elevator Processing Society fresh from the excitement of exchange 2024 in Kansas City, Missouri Caupert shares his reflections, highlights and insider insights of the event that celebrated the grain handling and processing industry. Hello, and welcome to the show. Welcome to the Whole Grain podcast. My name is Jim Lenz, your host and producer of the show and the Director of Global training and education at GEAPS, where the mission of the grain elevator processing society is to champion connect and serve the global grain industry and our members had chiefs we’ve worked to be the global community and thought leader for the grain industry, which feeds and fuels a world. Thanks for listening today and for joining the network of 1000s of other grain handling and processing professionals across the globe. Taking strategic steps to grow professionally. The whole grain show gives you the competitive advantage to win at work so you can make more of an impact. In this episode of whole grain. Our guest John Culbert, Executive Director of GEAPS offers a recap of exchange 2024. From the record breaking attendance to standout moments. Caupert paints a vivid picture of the energy enthusiasm that permeated the trade show floor educational sessions and numerous networking events. Discover how GEAPS exchange serves as a catalyst for industry advancement. This episode provides a peek behind the success of Jeeps exchange and charts the course for a brighter future in the grain handling and processing industry.

All right, we have John Caupert, Executive Director of GEAPS, we are here talking about post exchange items. John, thanks for being on hold green again. We should. Yeah,

John Caupert  2:01
thank you. Great to be with you again. Now

Jim Lenz, Host of Whole Grain  2:03
we’re going to use this episode to kind of put focus on some of your insights and reflections on the exchange that just concluded at the time of the recording. So just big picture wise, how do you feel the event went this year? What were some of your big highlights or standout moments from GEAPS exchange 2024.

John Caupert  2:20
Jim Exchange 2024, for me was, was unique in that while I have attended Exchange in the past, this was obviously my first time my first opportunity in this role as executive director. If I could sum up exchange overall into one word, I would say, fantastic. Now fantastic is a pretty broad term, right and a term without true definition, but truly from the first person to arrive at exchange to the last person that last exchange point 24. This was an exchange that was one for the record books, and every possible way. There were some things that stood out. There were some individual moments that stood out. There were some experiences that stood out beginning I believe with the Get Acquainted party on Saturday evening, we had a record number of attendees, we had a mechanical bull who has a mechanical bowl, and that like this right we had a live band it was just a fantastic experience. And then Sunday morning, Sandy Janiero, Sandy Janeiro is known worldwide as rock and roll drummer. He’s performed with the likes of Joan Jett and Cyndi Lauper, Michael Bolton, in front of more than a billion people around the globe. But who would have thought that a legend and rock and roll would deliver such a powerful message on what it is to lead what it is to do things for others without expecting anything in return? The little things that you do for others extremely powerful. Now a highlight I understand for a number of attendees was the fact that yours truly sat in on drums and dropped a beat for We Will Rock You which was which was kind of kind of fun as well. I guess Jen might conclude my, my comments on just the overall aspect and standouts of exchange has just been so much energy, Jim, the energy that was in the convention center, the enthusiasm amongst the attendees, and then just on limited networking and educational opportunities. That exchange in exchange only offers just a fantastic experience

Jim Lenz, Host of Whole Grain  4:44
45 hours of educational opportunities in different formats and great opportunities for people to connect what was great there’s a lot of new attendees there is there was a special energy going on during the event. Can you provide our listeners what the numbers look like in terms of a attendance and engagement this year. Sure

John Caupert  5:02
Can Jim, we shattered previous attendance numbers. And attendance numbers mean something. They mean something because it demonstrates that there’s interest. There’s interest in the subject matter. There’s interest in the topics. There’s interest in the educational sessions. There’s interest in the expo, we topped 3700 in person attendees at exchange 2024, complemented by a completely sold out Expo of nearly 400. It was just it was just fantastic, Jim,

Jim Lenz, Host of Whole Grain  5:34
that’s great. Any particular trends, any particular observations regarding attendee participation in educational sessions and networking events?

John Caupert  5:42
Jim there were there were there were some standouts, and particularly in the educational sessions, a number of the sessions where I popped my head in the room, and even more than I heard about those educational sessions were standing alone, which is fantastic. We were finding chairs we were dragging and chairs so more people could could sit down, you know, standing room only in an educational session. What a great challenge to have. Right? That’s a fantastic challenge to have. Why? Because it demonstrates that the exchange Planning Committee was spot on, and not only the subject areas that were selected for those educational sessions, but that they nailed it in determining and choosing who the speakers would be on those. So yep, clearly, an observation was how well attended the educational sessions. were reflecting

Jim Lenz, Host of Whole Grain  6:36
on some of those themes for the series exchange. What do you believe were some of those prevailing topics or issues discussed among attendees? What any notable trends or innovations showcased by exhibitors and presenters? Jim,

John Caupert  6:49
these are great questions, and they’re in their great areas. I’m going to talk first, about kind of a central theme that was discussed with me, I had a number of employers who were present. So they were employers who may or may not be an exhibitor may or may not be a sponsor, but they were there in some form. And a central theme of conversation around me was the ongoing and continuing labor shortage, and that there needs to be a pipeline developed of new employees, the workforce of the future. And Jim, I always view challenge as an opportunity. And in there lies an opportunity, attracting the next generation of the workforce, enhancing the training opportunities that are available. And these are all perfectly aligned with who GT is, as an organization that is complemented by things that we saw in the expo, there clearly are some notable trends. Here they are automation and technology, the grain and grain processing industry, they’re becoming more and more automated, via the adoption of new technology. This and of itself, it provides opportunity for this next generation of the workforce. Who are these folks going to be? And Jim, we have to be as an organization, as an industry, we have to be positioned as I feel we are to provide the education and training necessary for these novel skills that are going to be required in a more automated industry.

Jim Lenz, Host of Whole Grain  8:30
There’s a lot of opportunity, a lot of challenges, and we look forward to serving our members and our customers of chiefs. As you kind of reflect on your conversations that you had for those who were present at exchange. What kind of feedback did you receive from attendees from exhibitors speakers regarding their experiences at exchange 2024?

John Caupert  8:53
Yeah, overwhelmingly gym attendees again, whether they are an attendee, whether they are an exhibitor, whether they are a sponsor, or a combination of the above. They love the location. They love the venue, Kansas City is such a gracious host. But Jim, this makes sense. And the reason that it makes sense is when you look geographically, we’re Kansas City is located Kansas City is within driving distance of more than 50% of all of us agricultural production, meaning you can put a couple of employees you can put yourself in a car, a drive, and within hours, you’re there that’s so much more proficient, efficient and affordable to getting on a plane traveling halfway across the country. So folks love the location and our host is exceptional. Still

Jim Lenz, Host of Whole Grain  9:46
you talk about United States that kind of brings up discussion of live exhibitors and attendees from outside the United States. Actually, we had a great showings recall about approximately how many nations or country fees were represented and exchanges here. Yeah,

John Caupert  10:02
jam, we had more than two dozen countries represented 200 Plus individuals from those countries. It’s fantastic to see this, that Jim is an area that I am particular and admin and rested in I know that our board is, but I’m very interested in how we can expand upon that, and how we can draw even more of an international presence to future exchanges.

Jim Lenz, Host of Whole Grain  10:27
In what ways do John believes GEAPS Exchange contributes to the advancement of the grain handling and processing industry in general, and especially this event? Jim,

John Caupert  10:37
I truly believe that exchange is it’s the perfect blend of of information, of education, and networking. It’s a balance. And when you take the educational sessions, the information that is provided in those education sessions, as well as in the Expo, and you complement that by seeing up close and personal, the latest products, the latest technologies, the latest services that are available throughout the grain and grain processing industry. I just again, believe it’s an exceptional way to advance the greater industry that we serve. Looking

Jim Lenz, Host of Whole Grain  11:20
ahead, how do you envision the future of GEAPS Exchange evolving to meet the needs of industry professionals? I know it may be too early for that. And there’s surveys to be looked at that people completed. But any initial thoughts here, even though we just completed exchanging, and just more analysis to be done? Jim,

John Caupert  11:39
I do have some thoughts. First off, you hit it already, when you talked about the surveys, we solicit feedback from attendees, exhibitors and sponsors. We do that for a reason. Because they come there for a reason. They spend their money for a reason. Therefore, we need to utilize their feedback. And we utilize that feedback to present the best possible exchange moving forward. If you don’t mind. Oh, Jim, what I’d like to do is I’d like to spend just a couple minutes about attracting not only more attendees, but also the next generation of the workforce to exchange and I’m gonna give Jim just a couple couple of examples that that I believe our listeners in our audience will truly connect with. First off, starting with high school FFA kids. If one attends the annual Farm Progress Show an annual event in August, it rotates back and forth between the state of Iowa in the state of Illinois. Jim, you’ll see hundreds, if not 1000s of high school, FFA kids in attendance, getting them introduced to agriculture in the agriculture industry at an early age. What about college students, including collegiate FFA, I’d love to see the aisles of the expo in particular filled with college students, exploring future opportunities, while recognizing that the grain and grain processing industries are just unlimited with upward potential for them. And then finally, connecting with and attracting these early career employees. These folks that are at the entry stage of their career, Jim, we offer 45 hours of in person educational learning opportunities. Let’s fill the reins moving forward with these early entries, these early career, folks, these things and more. We have so much to build upon

Jim Lenz, Host of Whole Grain  13:44
opportunities there. They are the future of the industry. And it’s a good move to support them in any way possible. Now, as we wrap up our conversation, is there anything else you’d like to share with our listeners about cheeps exchange over the future direction of the organization?

John Caupert  14:01
I would Jim you know, first off, again, to our attendees, to our exhibitors, and to our sponsors, absent them, exchange doesn’t happen. Second, I just want to remind all listeners that I along with the entire Jeeps team, we’re going to continue to work tirelessly to promote not just what exchange means, but what it means to be a member of Jeeps jam, I coined a phrase that I’ve used before and I will continue to utilize and it’s really, I think it really defines what it means to be a Jeeps number, no GEAPS we’re a thriving community of thought leaders. We’re advancing the careers of those that work in the grain and the grain processing industries. How do we do that? We do that by bringing members awareness, information, education, and networking opportunities to All of our members that are out there, we thank you for your membership. For those who are currently not a member. We welcome you. We ask you to join this thriving community to join this family that is 3300 plus strong and growing. All

Jim Lenz, Host of Whole Grain  15:16
right, I love it. Thank you so much, John, you were out there meeting and greeting people all throughout the event. It was just great to see their new executive director and I love the way that you’re moving the organization forward. And I appreciate all your support, and everything you do. Thank you so much, Jim,

John Caupert  15:34
I thank you and the team as well. All right. Again,

Jim Lenz, Host of Whole Grain  15:37
thank you, everybody, for attending the GEAPS exchange 2020 floor, be on the lookout for more information about future information. We thank you for completing those surveys to help us build next year’s program, and especially thank the sponsors of GEAPS Exchange, 2024, and as John just said, we couldn’t do that without you. And we hope it was a very positive experience for you all. Thank you so much. And thank you, John, for being a guest here and the whole green shop. Thank you, listeners of old grain we thank you for making time in your day to join us in this episode, we continue to see the podcast grow in our listenership with grain professionals from 66 countries already connecting with the show, you can catch the show on your favorite podcast app just do a search for whole grain. Be sure to hit the subscribe button so you can easily stay connected with the show. The whole grain podcast can also be found in the GEAPS website at grain. The whole green show is a production of Jeeps, the grain elevator and processing society. The grain elevator and processing society is a largest organization dedicated to advancing the grain handling and processing industry. Be sure to check out You’ve just heard about this record breaking event in the grain handling and processing industry. I know many of you are already asking about Jeeps exchange 2025 Make plans now to attend 2025 GEAPS Exchange at the Kansas City Convention Center. Same place as this year. It’s taking place February 22 through the 25th of 2025. In Kansas City, Missouri in the United States, be sure to refer to cheap stock comm slash exchange for all of your exchange related inquiries. Full Grain offers a terrific opportunity to spotlight your business through audio ads. You can also be featured as a global thought leader by serving as a guest in the show as we work to advance a grain handling and processing industry. If you and your organization want to sponsor an episode and be a featured guest on the whole grain show, please reach out to me, Jim Lenz, Director of Global Education and host and producer of the show. We have an in house audio production studio that can service your needs from the comfort of a virtual environment. For all of your needs and interests. Please reach out to me my email is James at cheap stock comm we look forward to connecting with you. Continue listening, share the news of the show with your friends and colleagues. Have yourself a great day and thanks for listening to wholegrain

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