True Talk
Team profile

Kris Gefle:

Cultivating work-life balance

The sun sweeps over 3,000 acres of land south of Eckville, Alberta. The light, the crops, the crisp autumn air — there’s a bit of magic this time of year. We’re visiting Kris Gefle’s family farm and sharing a meal with him and his family before he heads back to the wheat field to continue harvest. Kris, his wife and kids, and his parents serve supper from the tailgate of their pick-up truck — we’re sharing a hearty meal with them and they’re enjoying a well-deserved break in a very long day. Behind this idyllic landscape and portrait of a farming family is a lot of hard work. Not to mention Kris’ full-time career outside of farming.

Growing up on a 120-year-old family farm prepared Kris for his future. He’s accustomed to jumping in where he’s needed, achieving goals as part of a team, being resourceful, and weathering challenges, like stretches of endless workdays. But how is it possible for him to run a grain operation and be successful as True North Solutions’ Area Manager for Eckville and Rocky Mountain House? It all comes down to teamwork and support, says Kris. Two lessons he learned early on.

You could say agriculture wasn’t the only business in Kris’ blood. From a young age, the diverse nature of farm work interested him and helped introduce him to skilled trades. “I liked doing a lot of different, hands-on things,” he says. “I hung out with my grandpa, and he was an electrician. When I finished school and was deciding what to do next, it was my grandpa who inspired me. Electrical was just natural.”

In 2000, Kris started his career at ABB Ber-Mac in Eckville. Through mergers and acquisitions, he grew with the company and worked his way into a management position. In 2020, the same company he started with became True North Solutions — and they kept the very same team. Kris wouldn’t have it any other way. “The people are what make it, right? From the team I’ve worked with for 20-plus years to the clients I get to interact with daily… I learn a lot from all of them. I like to hear about their day, what’s going on, how I can assist, and just be involved.”

Kris knows the level of involvement and engagement he puts in comes right back to him. Because both his team and True North support an authentic work-life balance. For Kris, that means taking time for the Gefle family farm. “The flexibility I have at True North helps immensely with farming. Everyone pulls together. My entire team helps and steps up. It can be a day here, maybe 10 days in a row there… It allows me the time and opportunity to step away when needed,” he says.

And he has an equally supportive team waiting for him at home. Three generations of Gefles come together at times like harvest to get the job done. “Everyone supports one another,” Kris says. “If you need a little assistance, there’s always someone to lend a helping hand and help accomplish our common goal — together as a family and as a team.”
Kris is grateful to live his life’s dream farming while also achieving his career goals at True North. He says it wouldn’t be possible without the company’s Leadership teams leading by example. In fact, Kris says he receives at least one phone call every Fall asking how harvest is going and what help he needs: “This is their business, right? But they want to know how they can help us. And then we all do that as a team too… we cheer one another on and support each other’s goals outside of work.” And that’s how you cultivate true company culture.

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