June 5, 2020

Grant County Herald

Community news from the prairie to the lakes

Mashek guides co-op through changing times

Pictured (from left) new manager, Kevin Stein, and retiree, Al Mashek

Al Mashek had his last day at Elbow Lake Co-op Grain this past Wednesday.  After 33 years, he’s retiring and plans to enjoy fishing and spending more time at home on Clitherall Lake with his family – and especially his grandkids.

Al’s first day of work in Elbow Lake was March 1, 1987. Prior to coming to Elbow Lake, Al was the manager of the elevator in Wolverton for over 12 years.

Reflecting on the changes over the past 33 years, Al said the biggest change is “the size of everything… from acreages to yields – it’s just all larger. We went from shipping 15 boxcars at a time, then to 25, then 50, and now to 100. The volume on the 106 car trains is 400,000 bushels, that’s 12-13 times more than we used to do.” Another change Al mentioned is the acreage shift to corn. At the time he started, there were no ethanol plants and now, that is completely changed. Seed genetics and hybrids for corn and soybeans are also constantly changing now.

The best part of his job? “The people. I’ve had the luxury to be working with a great bunch of employees over the years. Their teamwork is the best. Also, we have such great, loyal customers – and that is so appreciated.”

Al is turning the reigns over to Kevin Stein as of Thursday, April 16.

Kevin Stein is the new manager at Elbow Lake Co-op Grain. Kevin is a native of McVille, ND (west of Grand Forks). He grew up on a family farm and has been involved in the ag industry his entire life. Kevin is a graduate of NDSU with a major in Ag Business. He comes to Elbow Lake with 18 years of experience as the Grain Department Manager for CHS in Devils Lake, ND. Stein and his wife, Stacie, have two children – a daughter who is a senior in high school and headed to NDSU, and another daughter who is a sixth-grader at Dakota Prairie School in Petersburg, ND. The family hopes to find a home in Grant County. Kevin is looking forward to meeting people, “It’s been a tough time to come in, due to the COVID-19 restrictions. I’m eager for the restrictions to be relaxed and to get to know people, and get more involved in the community. I’m happy to be here.” said Stein.