Dockter receives honors
In 25 years, Envision Cooperative CEO Steve Dockter has noticed a lot of changes with the co-op.
But in some ways it is still the same.
Earlier this month, Dockter received recognition for 25 years of service at the CHS Annual Meeting in Minneapolis. CHS, Inc. CEO and President Jay Debertin presented Dockter with a commemorative watch.
“Steve’s experience and leadership are an inspiration to others within the cooperative system,” Debertin said in a press release. “He has demonstrated a true dedication to helping today’s farmers and ranchers grow, while also strengthening his cooperative and community to serve future generations.”
After studying agronomy at North Dakota State University, Dockter joined as manager of Cenex’s agronomy department in 1981 and worked in that post until 1990.
In 1990, Dockter became the general manager of Farmers Union Oil Company of Rugby and held that post until 1996.
Dockter came back to Farmers Union after an estimated 15-year stint with Farm Credit Services and a “very short” farming career.
Dockter said when he started there were two communities in the co-op: Rugby and Towner. Now the co-op is not just Rugby and Towner, but also includes Wolford, Leeds, Sherwood and Mohall.
“If I remember right, the first year I was here looking back at some old statements we ran about $3.5 million in sales, we had 13 employees. Now we’re between $75-80 million in sales with over 140 employees in all locations,” Dockter said.
In 2013, the “doing business as” name changed from Farmers Union Oil Company to Envision, and recently the name was legally changed to Envision Cooperative.
“That really doesn’t change who we are or what we do but the fact is we have to change to make ourselves relevant to the patrons in now six communities, not just the one like it was in 1929. We’re trying not to distance ourselves from Farmers Union Oil Company of Rugby, but to be more inclusive so that we can be a locally-owned co-operative in all our communities,” Dockter said.
However, Dockter said Envision is still a farmer-owned cooperative.
“Our primary focus is still agricultural, but we are diversified in a way that we didn’t used to be. Which includes a broader demographic base of people,” Dockter said.
Dockter said another thing that hasn’t changed about the co-op is the “need to work hard every day to be relevant to our customers” for the future.
“Our board of directors and our mgmt team has to always be looking ahead further than what’s coming up tomorrow,” said Dockter. “And that’s not easy trying to figure out what’s coming up next year, in five years, in 10 years, in 20 years. That’s hard, but that’s what we have to do.”
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