In 1954, Eihusen started a small residential construction company — from his garage. A few years later, he began dealing with steel farm buildings and grain bins. This was the beginning of Chief Industries, a family-owned, service-oriented manufacturer with 1400 employees and seven unique brands, including Chief Agri.
Chief Agri offers a complete line of grain storage and handling systems along with aeration and material handling products. Serving private farms and commercial cooperatives, Chief Agri provides grain storage solutions at any scale required.
How has this brand succeeded for over 60 years? According to Chief Agri’s President and General Manager Mark Kjar, the company’s people-first culture is the bedrock of its success.
Core values drive a positive environment
As the third generation leader, Chief’s Chairman of the Board, President, CEO DJ Eihusen has prioritized its core values from the top down. The primary goal is taking care of the customer. “It’s the relationships with our customers and dealers that we pride ourselves in,” said Eihusen.
While the brand distributes its products globally, it sells into all 50 states across the U.S. This physical proximity to our customers helps enhance strong relationships. In addition, throughout the brand’s history, the client’s needs have driven product innovation.
An emphasis on nurturing genuine and positive relationships isn’t just for customers. The company’s employee culture prioritizes positive relationships. Treating employees with respect is another core value of the company, and respect is reflected at every level.
“It is paramount to provide unparalleled personal attention to both internal and external stakeholders,” said Eihusen. “’Many of our staff have been here for 20, 30, 40-plus years, and we have customers that have been with us since the beginning. There is a family atmosphere with a positive environment that contributes to our longevity.”
New district sales manager brings greater service to Iowa
Until recently, Chief Agri didn’t have the physical presence in Iowa to facilitate the close one-on-one relationships with customers and dealers the company values so highly. While the brand has always had a presence in Iowa, the company is now focusing additional efforts in this most impressive state.
In 2021, Jose Meza, who has been with Chief Agri since 2006, took on a new role as Iowa’s district sales manager. Meza previously was an international sales manager. “Knowing that Iowa plays such a critical role in the agricultural market for the US, we understand the importance of having a district manager present. This proximity will allow them to provide unparalleled personal attention to our valued dealers,” said Katie Simmons, Chief Agri’s marketing coordinator. Meza brings extensive experience to Iowa, where he connects with dealers and customers to provide exceptional service.
History, service and solutions
Chief Agri’s commitment to customers endures after more than six decades. “It all comes down to our history, brand, and strength in fostering quality, personable relationships with our clients,” said Eihusen. “Whether we’re dealing worldwide or in Iowa, we work with customers to set them up with exactly what they need.”