March 2, 2021

Meet MaxYield’s 2012 All Star Team

At MaxYield Cooperative we know that trust is never given. It is earned—always. Nowhere is this more evident than in our 2012 All Star Team.

“We received a lot of nominations this year for the All Stars, who exemplify MaxYield’s people-first practices,” said Keith Heim, MaxYield’s CEO. “It’s very rewarding to watch these team members succeed in their roles and be recognized by their peers.”

Each All Star must exhibit a client-centered focus and a positive attitude and behavior, routinely exceed job mission functions, live MaxYield’s non-negotiables (integrity, safety, professionalism, client focus, accountability, and teamwork), and live the MaxYield brand promise every day.

We’re proud to congratulate MaxYield’s 2012 All Stars: Bryan Traub, Ron Hutchison, Dave Hubka, Sheryll Denney, Joe Behounek, and Jennifer Allen, who was named MaxYield’s Solutions Provider of the Year during the team member/board appreciation event held in Des Moines on Feb. 9.

Bryan TraubBryan Traub, service station team leader

For Bryan Traub, a person’s power of positive influence is more valuable than a job title. This positive influence results from the little things, like showing up for work on time, to the big things, like working together as a team.

“I rely on my team heavily for their knowledge and experience,” said Traub, who understands the value of mentoring and leading. “It’s not just top down or bottom up; it’s full circle at MaxYield.”

As the service station team leader in West Bend, Traub arrives at the shop by 7 a.m. each weekday to get things organized, print off price sheets for the day’s fuel contracts, and account for the sales tickets. He also enjoys brainstorming with MaxYield’s energy solutions specialists to identify potential clients and discuss ways to offer them value. “Finding these solutions opens the door to build a stronger relationship between the clients and MaxYield,” said Traub, who was named to MaxYield’s All Star Team for the second time.

Traub’s own relationship with MaxYield has grown since he joined the company in 2009 following an extensive military career. He started as a part-time delivery driver and hauled fertilizer in the spring and the fall before being asked to lend a hand at the service station in West Bend. This developed into an opportunity to become the service station’s team leader.

“We’re not just focused on a client’s immediate needs, like a new set of truck tires,” said Traub, who credits Gene Sewell, MaxYield’s tire specialist, and Tom Zaugg, MaxYield’s energy technician, for building the station’s foundation of success. “We want to establish long-term relationships and become your partner for the long haul.”

To support this goal, MaxYield has invested in the service station, from safety enhancements to new equipment like a state-of-the-art tire balancer. “The details can make or break you, and it’s all about follow-through in this business,” said Traub, who strives to provide competitive prices. “We’re seeing some new faces we haven’t seen in years at the station, which is a win-win for the clients and MaxYield.”

It takes more than the All Stars to make this happen, he emphasized. “There’s a lot of talent at MaxYield, and it’s a privilege to be part of a team that works together so well.”

Editor’s note: Bryan and his wife, Susan, both served in the U.S. Army. Bryan, who served for 22 years, completed two tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom before retiring in 2009 as a Sergeant First Class. The couple enjoys spending time with their children and grandchildren, who live in Iowa and Nebraska.


Ron HutchisonRon Hutchison, Whittemore location leader

Since he didn’t grow up on a farm, Ron Hutchison never expected to make agriculture his career. A native of Plainview, MN, Hutchison worked as an auto mechanic for 17 years before joining MaxYield Cooperative more than five years ago.

“I like the fact that MaxYield is willing to train people who may not know a lot about agriculture,” said Hutchison, whose family moved to Emmetsburg after he graduated from high school. “I’m constantly learning every day and like getting my hands dirty.”

After working part-time at MaxYield’s Mallard location for a few seasons, Hutchison joined MaxYield full-time at the Whittemore location on Oct. 10, 2008. He specialized in outside operations, dumping grain at the elevator and running an applicator, before becoming the location leader in September of 2011.

“I was excited to have the opportunity to take on a new challenge,” said Hutchison, who oversees three team members who handle outside operations. He also works in the office with Jennifer Allen, Whittemore’s client care leader and 2012 Solutions Provider of the Year. “Jennifer has been great about teaching me about how things work in the office,” said Hutchison, who noted that his typical day’s tasks can range from running the scale and answering the phone to loading crop protection products. “You’re never doing the same things day to day.”

Hutchison also likes visiting with the many clients who stop by and ensuring that they receive the best service possible. “We try to make things fast and easy, whether clients are coming in to deliver grain or buy products from us.”

While he was surprised to hear his name called for MaxYield’s All Star Team, Hutchison is quick to share the credit. “A great team makes it fun to come to work.”

Editor’s note: Ron and his wife, Kimberly, a Pampered Chef consultant, live in Mallard. They have three sons, Jacob, 19, who is a student at Iowa Lakes Community College; Zach, 16, who enjoys golfing; and Aaron, 14, who participates in track and field. Since September of 2012, the Hutchisons have also hosted a foreign exchange student from Berlin, Germany. For the past several years, Ron and Kimberly have served as coordinators for the nonprofit Education First (EF) Foundation for Foreign Study and have hosted international students from Thailand and Sweden.


Dave HubkaDave Hubka, Belmond location leader

Although Dave Hubka’s career has taken him around the world, he has always remained rooted in rural Iowa.

“Iowa is all about agriculture, and I’m proud to work for MaxYield,” said Hubka, who is responsible for grain operations, safety, train loading, and many more jobs at the Belmond location.

After joining MaxYield in October of 2007 in grain operations, Hubka was promoted to grain superintendent within three months and was named Belmond’s location leader in February of 2010. His leadership skills are a direct reflection of his military training.

Hubka, who grew up on a dairy farm near Cresco, served in the U.S. Marine Corps for nine years and seven months after graduating from Sheffield-Chapin High School in 1980. Following two tours of sea duty, including one on the U.S.S. Iowa, Hubka had traveled to 34 countries and achieved the rank of sergeant before returning to civilian life.

He worked at the Eaton Corporation, a power management company, in Belmond for 14 years as a CNC (computer numerical controlled) machine operator before joining MaxYield. “I wanted to work in agriculture, and I’m glad I had the chance to come to MaxYield. They care about their people, and there’s a lot of diversity with the job.”

Hubka, who works with 10 team members at the Belmond location, makes sure everyone receives the proper education through safety meetings, which are held twice a month. He also stresses the importance of mutual respect among team members. “People are MaxYield’s best assets, and I’m a firm believer in respect both ways.”

Being named to the All Star Team caught Hubka by surprise. “You never expect an honor like this. I like to continue learning and try to give 110% every day.”

Editor’s note: Dave and his wife, Sarah, have one son, Malachi, 10, and Dave has two step-daughters, Mandy, 32, and Holly, 30. The Hubkas enjoy traveling and spending time with their grandchildren.


Sheryll DenneySheryll Denney, grain originator

When Kathie Ostrander texted Sheryll Denney that she had been named to the All Star Team, Denney was humbled by the news.

“I rely on my team members, and each year we grow as a team,” said Denney, a grain originator at MaxYield’s Lakota location. Her 2012 All Star Team award marks her third time to receive this honor.

Denney, Ostrander, Tiffany Wycoff, and Kelsie Koppen work together to find solutions that benefit the clients who deliver grain to Green Plains Renewable Energy (GPRE). “We know our clients by name and can recognize many of them by their voices when they call in,” said Denney, who has worked at the ethanol plant since 2002, when it was known as MGP.

The team hit a new record on Oct. 1, 2012, when they weighed 294 trucks hauling 302,637 bushels of corn—and got the job done in eight hours and seven minutes. That same day, they also weighed 25 trucks hauling products for the GPRE ethanol plant.

Teamwork is vital at a location that handles 3 million bushels of corn each week for the 100-million-gallon plant. “Just about every week we have new clients here,” said Denney, who noted that her team works with 600 clients across northern Iowa and southern Minnesota. “While we have 1.4 million bushels of grain storage, it’s not that much for a plant that operates 24/7. That’s why we’re constantly in contact with clients to buy grain.”

To make things more fun during harvest, the Lakota and GPRE teams grill hamburgers for clients and serve the free meals with chips and deserts a few times each fall. “If our clients want to take a lunch to their harvest crew, we box up the food for them,” Denney said. “We try to help wherever we can.”

Many people throughout the company make the work easier, Denney added. “Teamwork doesn’t stop at the Lakota location; it extends throughout MaxYield. I’m proud to work with a company that invests in their team members and clients.”

Editor’s note: Sheryll and her husband, Roger, live in Garner and have three grown sons. Lance, his wife, Stephanie, and sons Ty and Trever live in Garner; Jason, wife Ivy, and new son Garrett, who was born Feb. 20, live in Wesley. Brian lives in Waterloo. In her free time, Sheryll spends time with her grandsons and rides motorcycle with Roger.


Joe BehounekJoe Behounek, systems and network technician

Whether a fellow MaxYield team member’s computer is crashing, a printer isn’t printing, or a phone isn’t working, Joe Behounek can help.

“I enjoy figuring out how to fix things,” said Behounek, who is based in West Bend and works with team members throughout MaxYield. “There’s always plenty of variety with this job, and I stay pretty busy.”

Behounek, who joined MaxYield’s information technology (IT) department in September of 2010, works with IT Team Leader Jeff Wittkopf to keep MaxYield’s computer networks, servers, printers, cell phones, tablet computers, and more working properly. “We can fix a lot of issues remotely,” said Behounek, who also travels to MaxYield’s many locations to install new equipment and provide on-site support when issues can’t be fixed online. “Jeff is very knowledgeable, and we work well together.”

The job is a good fit for Behounek, an easy-going guy who has always been fascinated by how things work. While other people might get frustrated when a machine isn’t functioning properly, Behounek enjoys the challenge. “As a kid, I liked fixing dirt bikes and motorcycles as much as riding them. It would be weird to buy something new and just take off.”

A native of Livermore, Behounek earned associate of applied science degrees in information systems, architectural drafting, and network administration from Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo, where he also earned his diploma in computer science in 2009.

Behounek appreciates the opportunity to be part of MaxYield’s IT team. “It’s exciting to be named to the All Star Team, and it’s awesome to be able to live in the area where I grew up and have a good job with MaxYield.”

Editor’s note: Joe and his wife, Carissa, who grew up in Bode, opened a photography studio in West Bend in March of 2012. Carissa also offers graphic design services and handles web design for a company in Traer, Iowa. In his free time, Joe farms with his parents, Mike and Rhonda, who run a cow-calf operation and operate a custom baling business. Joe also enjoys hunting, fishing, and overseeing the construction of a new home he and Carissa are building near Livermore.

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