Success Story: CHS

Simplifying the Complex:

CHS Inc. is owned by farmers, ranchers, cooperatives and preferred shareholders from the Great Lakes to the Pacific Northwest and from the Canadian border to Texas. The company provides products and services ranging from grain marketing to food processing. CHS also operates petroleum refineries/pipelines and, through a broad range of working partnerships, markets and distributes Cenex® brand energy products and renewable fuels, along with agronomic inputs and livestock feed to rural America.

Once a year, CHS holds its annual meeting and brings more than 2,500 people together in one location to conduct business, learn and elect leadership. Nanci Lilja, Managing Paralegal for CHS, is responsible for making sure the elections run smoothly and effectively. She notes that, “Our voting structure is very complex with multiple layers of members. Each layer has different voting rights and different voting formulas.” That in itself is a challenge, Nanci says, “Then add the fact that we conduct the elections on-site as a highly visible part of our annual meeting.”

Send in the Experts

Early on, CHS realized that they needed a partner to help them create a reliable, effective election process – and then manage it each year so that the CHS team could focus on other priorities at the annual meeting. Seventeen years ago CHS chose SBS as that partner.

SBS developed CHS’ election into a robust process that incorporates mailed ballots with the on-site voting. The process also includes registration services —a natural tie in with the voting and helps ensure that attendees have a seamless experience. This combined process also saves CHS staff significant time and the technology that SBS uses eliminates voter lines.

Nanci confirms: “SBS expertly manages all of our registration and voting needs, from printing and assembling the balloting and registration materials, to providing the on-site registration and election services. They’ve got the people, technology and systems integrity to produce efficient and accurate results for us.”

Beyond Nanci’s review, CHS also has a Group Credentials Committee that conducts the due-diligence review of the elections processes. Nanci says, “The authenticity of SBS’ support stands up to the committee’s critical analysis.”

Delivering an Excellent Experience worthy of the CHS Name

It’s critical, Nanci says, for everything about the annual meeting to be presented in a positive, professional image of CHS. “This is our opportunity to interact with our key stakeholders. SBS helps us project that positive image. They provide expertise and accountability from the point of registration all the way through elections.”

Nanci acknowledges that the process isn’t always easy. But when issues arise, Nanci knows SBS will do whatever it takes to make it work: “It’s incredibly rewarding to work with a group of people so clearly committed to exceptional customer service. I don’t think that I’ve worked with another vendor who cares more about us and our needs.”