Geis leads in ag finance
Keith Geis is well known for his support of the agriculture industry, through his service as president of Platte Valley Bank in Wheatland, his community support and his general involvement in the community.
Geis will be inducted into the Wyoming Agriculture Hall of Fame this year during the Wyoming State Fair.
Frank Galey, dean of the University of Wyoming College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, who nominated Geis, says, “I am privileged to work with many exceptional people in our industry. Keith certainly ranks in this group and is deserving of being inducted into the Wyoming Agriculture Hall of Fame.”
With a small-town attitude, Geis believes in building relationships with his customers across the kitchen table, rather than over the phone or from a desk, and his ag roots have allowed him to build success.
Rooted in agriculture
“I was raised on a dairy farm in Wheatland,” says Geis, who notes that he developed a passion for agriculture during his youth. “I always knew I wanted to be involved in the ag industry because of the people and the value system they brought with them.”
During college, he interned with Farmer’s Home Administration, and after he graduated, he went to work for the organization in Basin.
“I was employed with Farmer’s Home for about six years in Wyoming,” he explains. “I moved to Alabama and then back to Wyoming.”
After realizing he was looking for a faster pace, Geis began to work for the Federal Land Bank in eastern Iowa for two years.
“I was a misplaced cowboy in the cornfields of eastern Iowa,” he says, “and that was not where I wanted to be, so I moved to Gillette and started working for Farm Credit Services of America (FCSA).”
Geis spent about 24 years at FCSA, until he received a phone call from Platte Valley Bank CEO Hod Kosman in 2002.
“Hod called me and asked if I was interested in going back to Wheatland and becoming the bank president,” Geis says. “After three months, I decided it was a great opportunity, and I haven’t looked back.”
Over the past 15 years in Wheatland, Geis says he’s enjoyed the autonomy provided to him to do what was necessary to serve the ag community and their banking needs.
Geis has also made concentrated efforts to focus on improving the community for youth.
“I have always felt very, very fortunate to be brought up in a stable family environment,” he says. “When I see young children not able to participate in life’s events because of abuse and other things, it strikes a chord in my heart.”
He and his wife have served as foster parents, and he started a junior investor program in Wheatland to build financial literacy in youth.
“We wanted to help educate young people,” Geis says, noting that they work with young people to distribute loans for 4-H and FFA projects, among other things. “We want to provide life lessons that they can reflect back on to understand what it takes to manage their money.”
“These are our future leaders, and we have to help instill good values and help them learn to be good citizens,” Geis adds.
Along with Galey, Ray Hunkins of Cheyenne speaks highly of Geis, commenting, “I have known Keith for over 25 years.”
“Keith would say that agriculture has done a lot for him over the years, and undoubtedly, that is true,” Hunkins continues. “But the greater truth is, Keith has done a lot for the agriculture industry in Wyoming. His hard work and dedication are abundantly apparent in the good health and clear purpose of the organizations in which Keith has held leadership positions.”
Geis says it’s an honor to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
“I’m fortunate to have worked in an ag environment where I’ve never felt like I’m working,” Geis comments. “The Wyoming Agriculture Hall of Fame Award is a humbling recognition. This is probably the most significant honor that I’ve ever received in my career. I feel very, very honored to be selected.”
Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.