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Agrimarketing : May 2009 Supplement
26 AG BIZ CES:16 Thinking Outside Box 5/4/09 3:41 PM Page 27 “Collaboration on selling techniques can enhance sales results abovewhat a local salespersonworking in isolation can accomplish,”Williams reports. FOCUSED OUTSIDE THE STATUS QUO “The CES programwas created on LeonWestbrock’swatch,” adds Williams. “As a former co-op general manager, Leon has a keen appreciation for howdifficult it is to sell aggressivelywhen dealingwith daily operations.He recognizes our customers need somebody to focus strictly on sellingwithout constant interruptions.” CESs concentrate completely on energy sales, helping co-ops utilize CHS programs to their full advantage, achieve growth andmore effectively compete. “Most importantly, because of their rigorous training, strong peer network and support fromCHS programs and staff, CESs are positioned to challenge the status quo at the co-op,”Williams says. “That’swhy CESs have had such great success going beyond just servicing the traditional agricultural base and expanding into newcommercialmarkets such as construction, trucking,mining, oil and gas, and logging.” IMMERSED IN THE CENEX BRAND The programalso helps CHS and dealers reach goals across the full Cenex energy product line. “For example, a co-opmay have robust refined fuel and propane sales, but be leaving money on the table by not selling lubricants to those same customers. The CES programensures the sales force isworking strong on all three energy product fronts,” saysWilliams. “It’s a true shared success between CHS and local co-ops. CESs are our committed energy brand work force and are directly responsible formuch of our branded gallon growth.At the same time, they really help co-ops establish their own service brands.” he, likemost everyone involved over the years, is proud of theway this initiative has contributed to the career development of agribusiness leaders and built teamwork across ruralAmerica. “Our CES programis a unique strength for our co-ops and Jade Barstad, CHS CES,workswith Lampert Roles, left, LeadMechanicwith FloydWild Trucking, Marshall,MN, and RogerMarks, right, Prairie Pride Cooperative. DEVELOPING LEADERS, FOSTERING TRUST Although its primary goal is to develop outstanding energy sales people, the in-depth CES programhas become something of a recruiting and training armfor the broader co-op system.Dozens of CES alumni can be found among the ranks of co-op petroleumdepartmentmanagers, co-op generalmanagers and CHSmanagers. Though relatively newto overseeing the program,Williams says unmatched by any rival in our industry,” he says. “CESs are completely immersed in the local co-ops’ retail energy business. That level of closeness requires an element of trust that I just don’t think could exist outside of the cooperative system, andwithout great leadership. Leon’s accessibility, candor and integrity all contribute to building a culture of trust that has allowed an unconventional programlike this to flourish.” AM Tuthill congratulates Leon Westbrock, CHS Inc. Executive Vice President and COO, Energy, on being named the National Agri-Marketing Association’s 2009 Agribusiness Leader of the Year. May 2009 s Agri Marketing 27