Businesses of Agriculture

Diversification and a focus on customer service has led Chief Industries from humble beginnings in a garage as a small construction company in Grand Island to six locations in Nebraska, locations in Iowa and Indiana and even locations in France and England.

Founded in 1954 by Virgil Eihusen, the company is celebrating 65 years. With more than six decades in business, Chief Industries has evolved from remodeling existing homes to an array of commercial construction projects.

“It is because of that experience that we felt the next evolution was to provide vertical integration in the construction process, which involved providing development services,” said DJ Eihusen, Chief Industries president, CEO and chairman of the board.

DJ, grandson of the founder, started with the company in 1988 and has been dedicated to its continued success ever since.

“As an example of this vertical integration, Chief Construction has the ability to construct just about any type of project,” Eihusen explained. “We can provide all of the steel these various projects may require by using Arrowhead Steel and/or Chief Buildings. Also, all of the electrical requirements can be handled in-house with Heartland Electric.”

Not only can Chief Industries oversee projects, but they can handle the logistics of construction materials.

“The products we manufacture can be shipped via Chief Carriers, which offers transportation/logistics,” he pointed out. “Our experience and product breadth allows us to achieve vertical integration. It is our belief that by doing so, we provide a more streamlined and efficient process for the customer.”

Chief Industries also believes having their offices in local communities has been a real plus.

“Chief is committed to our corporate social responsibility in the various areas in which we have a physical presence,” Eihusen said. “We believe that not only makes us a better company but also improves the communities in which we are involved.”

According to Eihusen, Chief Industries’ mission is to strive for customer service and attention to detail.

“We aspire to provide unparalleled personal attention in meeting the needs of all our stakeholders, which will ensure our strength and stability,” he added.

Customers will find the highest in Chief products and services used in agriculture, commercial construction, structural steel, factory-built housing, ethanol production, transportation and more. Products include grain and bulk feed storage, grain drying and material handling equipment, metal building systems for commercial and farm use, commercial construction and development, and custom steel fabrication.

The company also specializes in factory-built modular residential homes, wastewater treatment systems and water tanks, secondary containment systems, ethanol and high protein feed production, and a common carrier shipping fleet. According to Eihusen, Chief Industries also provides commercial and industrial electrical services, pivot walkers, powder coating and structural steel.

“We are probably most known for our grain storage because of our logo,” Eihusen pointed out. “It is easily seen along various interstates and highways across the United States. A person can see our name on these bins in just about any corner of the country, making it one of the more recognizable products that we manufacture.”

According to Eihusen, the ag industry involves some of the most dedicated and driven stakeholders that Chief deals with on a daily basis.

“They drive us to seek continual improvement in order to get better each and every day,” he said. “It takes a true passion and commitment to be a producer and we are honored to be associated with the caliber of people such as this.”

Eihusen has noticed changing trends in the agricultural industry that have affected how they do business.

“Farm incomes have continued to trend downwards as a result of lowered grain prices,” he explained. “In turn, this has impacted the ability for many to obtain credit. Grain yields continue to break records creating real demand for on-farm storage. With a projected increase in corn acreage in 2019, we are looking forward to a strong year. Agriculture remains a great opportunity for those of us living in the Midwest.”

Eihusen said the success of Chief Industries is largely because of the dedicated people — past and present — who built their careers at Chief, and helped Chief build lasting relationships with customers and suppliers around the world.

“We take incredible pride with how we treat all of our stakeholders,” he continued. “The experience, dedication and passion of our people here at Chief, in meeting the needs of these stakeholders, is second to none. I couldn’t be more proud of our group, with their understanding of how important it is that we live by our mission statement each and every day.”

Becky Chaney can be reached at becky.chaney@midwestmessenger.com.