Greg Heckman had it made. He had spent 24 years with ConAgra Foods and was in line to one day become the company’s CEO. But Heckman didn’t get himself in that enviable position by playing it safe, and he wasn’t going to start now.
Heckman had been named president of ConAgra Trade Group in 1998, and eight years later, he determined that the ownership structure of his business was limiting growth opportunities. So he began to pursue a management buyout and lined up investors who would join him.
He made the risky decision to put all his personal wealth into this new commodity management company, and in 2008, he launched The Gavilon Group LLC. The risk was just beginning.
The global recession hit just a few months later and threatened to unravel everything Heckman wanted to build. But as president and CEO, Heckman was prepared for challenges, and his relentless focus on execution positioned his people to provide great service. Heckman put his knowledge and experience gained over the years to use and made wise decisions to protect Gavilon’s balance sheet and the business remained stable.
By 2010, the company exceeded its operating plan and began establishing offices around the world. Gavilon also completed six acquisitions, moving the company from the seventh to the third-largest grain handler in North America. Significant investments were also made in energy, which only sped up the company’s ascent.
Heckman plays a large role in the success of Gavilon, but he doesn’t do it alone. He maintains a dynamic, entrepreneurial culture that enables his team to take measured risks and capture opportunities to generate returns in line with expectations. Employees are able to act quickly and decisively within a disciplined framework.
By instilling such a collaborative culture, new ideas are continually being explored. The result is a company constantly yearning to improve.
How to reach: The Gavilon Group LLC, (888) 428-8723 or www.gavilon.com