CHS Grainland’s new general manager Evan Fust looks forward to continuing the tradition of a strong local co-op in Holyoke. — Johnson Publications
Lifelong trust in co-op model fuels new GM
Evan Fust is a new face to the community, but over the last few years he’s already become acquainted with Holyoke and grown to love it. Numerous stays at the Cobblestone, meals at local restaurants and, of course, meeting the locals paved the way for Fust seeking the general manager position at CHS Grainland when his predecessor, Rick Unrein, retired.
Previously, Fust served as environmental health and safety manager for the Country Operations division of CHS. He lived in Minnesota, but his job saw him traveling around the United States, and that’s how he had his first in-person interactions with CHS Grainland.
Fust’s first day as general manager was Feb. 5, but he’s coming up on the 10-year mark with CHS. His first role with the cooperative was at CHS Northern Plains in Gettysburg, South Dakota, where he was location manager. He also spent time in inventory and compliance before becoming the EHS manager.
Originally, Fust is from a small town in southeast North Dakota — the kind of town that makes Holyoke look big in comparison, he said with a grin. After seven years in the Twin Cities area, Fust said he’s looking forward to living in a small town again. It’s a good place to raise a family, he added, pointing out that his wife, Alison, and their young sons Bode and Miller will be making the move to the area soon.
As far as working for a cooperative, Fust takes his responsibilities seriously. “I’m a very staunch believer in the co-op business model,” he said. “It’s not just another job.” Raised with a farming and ranching background, Fust explained that his family relied heavily on a co-op. There’s a real and purposeful reason he’s chosen to work within a co-op rather than a traditional business.
“I am working for the farmers of this area; my boss is the board of directors, elected by members of the co-op,” Fust said. CHS Grainland’s primary focus is to make sure producers are taken care of, he added.
As CHS Grainland board chairman Chad Osborne said, “Evan brings a lifelong commitment to the cooperative system and a strong background in leadership with a focus on operational success.”
Overall, Fust’s goal is to “continue the tradition of having a strong local co-op.” Within his first few months, he is looking forward to meeting the farmers and producers of northeast Colorado and southwest Nebraska in order to better understand what their needs are and how CHS Grainland can benefit its members and meet their needs.
As his family settles in to the area, Fust will certainly get to know the community better through the youth activities his children will be involved in. In the meantime, however, he noted that he’s an approachable guy who loves having people stop by for a visit. He hopes that anyone with questions or who simply wants to meet him will do so.
Beyond that, he encourages community members to seek out any employee of CHS Grainland with questions or concerns. They’re all approachable and there to listen, striving to understand the needs of farmers and producers in the area.