After a few months, I was fortunate to get back to FS Grain and complete the job shadowing opportunity I was provided through the Grain & Feed Association of Illinois. As we know, the grain markets are much different this spring than last fall. That meant I got to see a shift in business operations. This spring, I spent both days at the FS Grain Main Office in Morris, IL. These two days were a deep dive into the operations of FS Grain. These specific conversations were able to tie things together and give me more confidence as I head into a grain merchandising internship with FS Grain this summer.
On the first day, I started off by speaking with Mark Trainor, the Safety & Regulation Manager. While I was aware of the risks that accompany the grain industry, I was able to learn how FS Grain not only meets industry regulations but exceeds them. This ambitious mindset has led Mark to implement safety procedures based on behavior. This allows the employees to take a proactive approach by understanding their behavior to prevent many unsafe situations from even occurring in the first place. I then met with CSR Manager Lisa Scribner and Sales Settlement Manager Molly Fanning. Their presentation and discussion were thorough. I learned about FS Grain’s processes that occur from when the grain leaves the field to when it is no longer in possession by FS Grain. This “behind-the-scenes” aspect of the business is extremely important, and it was able to tie together things I learned during the fall job shadow days. As the child of a FS Grain customer, I am now extremely appreciative of the accurate and efficient work Lisa and Molly do each day. After lunch, I wrapped up the day with Collin Graves, Controller at FS Grain. He was able to explain his role in evaluating and planning within the cooperative. Our discussion made me aware of how he interacts with a variety of people, such as the General Manager, board, and employees. I had a great first day and became more aware of integral business operations.
When I came back a couple days later, I started with Dale Vigna, who works with the trucking side of FS Grain. Based on the amount of phone calls and messages he received during the time talking with him, I was shown the busyness of his position. The many truck drivers and destinations definitely requires organization and effective communication, both of which Dale showed he is an expert in. I then had the opportunity to go back to the merchandising desk and meet with Justin Burke. He was able to explain the merchandising process based on each market, which includes truck, container, and rail. This breakdown was helpful in understanding how FS Grain operates in a variety of markets. After I came back from lunch, I spoke with Logistics Specialist Jeff Anderson, who showed me the details of the container markets. I was amazed by how variable the container market can be. While it can be a successful market, the drayage companies and railyards determine much of their ability to take part in that market. Overall, I learned more in the GFAI Job Shadow experience than I ever imagined. Thanks to the welcoming and kind people at FS Grain, I was able to further learn about the grain industry. I am grateful that this experience has prepared me well for my summer internship at FS Grain.
Grain & Feed Association of Illinois
3521 Hollis Dr.