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Agriculture Career of the Month:
Grain Terminal Operations Manager

ADMFor more than a century, the people of Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM) have transformed crops into products that serve vital needs. Today, 30,000 ADM employees around the globe convert oilseeds, corn, wheat and cocoa into products for food, animal feed, chemical and energy uses. With more than 265 processing plants, 400 crop procurement facilities, and the world’s premier crop transportation network, ADM helps connect the harvest to the home in more than 160 countries. For more information about ADM and its products, visit www.adm.com.

This month, we take a look at the career path for a Grain Terminal Operations Manager.

What's the Job Description?
The Grain Terminal Operations Management (GTOM) Trainee position is a three-stage position within an 18-month trainee program. As a GTOM trainee, you'll initially be stationed at one of approximately 50 grain elevators across the Midwest United States. You'll then relocate to a different elevator or terminal for stage two training. In stage three you'll move into a continuous career advancement program that may include a corporate position or a position as a supervisor, superintendent, or manager.

One employee that we spoke to said that "[The] thing I liked about the position was [being] involved in and treated as management from day one. Being in the GTOM program is something new and different almost every day, and there are many opportunities to travel to other locations to help out during busy times."

The training program is hands-on; you'll work through most of the activities at the elevator and learn by performing the work with proper safety and supervision. These activities include loading and unloading grain trucks, railcars and barges; sampling and grading grain; overseeing hourly employees and assigning work; participating in maintenance and safety programs; drying, storing, aerating and blending grain; and more.

Another ADM employee we spoke with outlined some more details: "The GTOM program is based on an 18-month training program and is designed to prepare the trainee for future supervisory roles. Performance reviews are done [every six months]. In addition, typically in the six and 12 month window, the GTOM trainees are gathered together for a two-day training session. Once the 18-month training is completed, each trainee is evaluated based on his or her capabilities and success in the training program, which will help determine future placement as a supervisor."

How Much Can I Make?
We pay competitively based upon the industry, the responsibilities of the job as well as candidates’ experience.

What's the Career Path Like?
After the 18-month training period is completed, GTOM trainees move on to supervisory positions. An ADM employee informed us that the placement "is typically done by experiencing multiple types of facilities as supervisor, in preparation for becoming a facility superintendent. The timeframe from GTOM to superintendent can be accelerated depending on the individual and his or her ability; advancement opportunities happen across the country at various types of facilities on a frequent basis." He also informed us that relocation is common -- two to three moves can be expected in the first five to seven years -- and that relocation does generally involve a promotion.

As another employee told us, "The career path will depend on each individual’s ability, work ethic and drive. We have people that have gone through the program and want to stay in a certain area or position, and that has been accommodated. Otherwise, there are people like me who chose to do as much as possible, transfer as needed, and advance to other challenges."

"My path started as a GTOM in Summerfield, Texas, and then moved into a superintendent role in Hereford, Texas -- this did not require me to move for nearly three years starting out. I next moved to Idaho and ran a small group of facilities, eventually being promoted to regional superintendent for the northwestern area. Next, I moved to Kansas as a divisional operations manager, where I supervised part of the regional staff.

"Most recently I have accepted a new position at Toepfer, [a subsidiary] based in Hamburg, Germany, and will be relocating to Germany as well. I have had opportunities to travel around the United States, and now around the world, working on operations issues and projects."

What Are the Job Requirements?
To become a GTOM trainee, you'll need at least a two-year degree in agriculture-related studies and/or experience with the loading and unloading of grain for multiple modes of transport. Experience with the transferring, drying, storage, aeration and blending of grain is helpful. You'll also need to have basic troubleshooting skills, and the knowledge of electrical systems is a plus.

Find out more about working at ADM.

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