Richard Gearheard, former President and CEO of Agrium Retail, was presented with this year’s Jack Eberspacher Lifetime Achievement Award from the Agricultural Retailers Association.
Gearheard served as Senior Vice President of Agrium, Inc. and President of the Retail Division from August 1996 until his retirement in April 2014. He also worked in various capacities with other Agrium retail companies such as Western Farm Service as Vice President, Northwest Region and Crop Production Services as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. In 1983, he participated in the formation of Crop Production Services through a leveraged buyout. During his career, he has been involved with company-changing acquisitions including PureGro, Western Farm Service, Royster-Clark, United Agri Products, Landmark (Australia) and Viterra (Canada).
Reflecting on his accomplishments, Gearheard said he was most proud of the opportunities he helped create for Agrium employees. “We were able to set up an environment at Agrium Retail where people could be very successful – and provide well for their family – when they performed well,” he said. “Even through the confusion of acquisitions and integrations, those who were doing a good job for our customers were able to make a good living.”
Established in 2001, the Eberspacher Lifetime Achievement award was renamed after the late Jack Eberspacher who served as ARA President and Chief Executive Officer from 2001 until his death in 2009. The award is ARA’s highest individual honor, designed to recognize career-spanning achievements in and contributions to the agricultural retail industry. “Richard exemplifies the characteristics ARA is seeking to recognize with the Eberspacher Lifetime Achievement award,” said Daren Coppock, ARA President and CEO. “Mergers, acquisitions and consolidation are challenging aspects of this business and he went about it the right way – with respect, humility and humanity.”