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Man wearing safety helmet and gear standing in refinery
Bo Koehn, zone supervisor in the water treatment facility, in front of the water filtration units.
Our people

Generations of dedication for McPherson refinery family

The Koehns have exemplified the hardworking and humble families working every day to supply rural America with the fuel it needs to keep moving.
Tiffanie Connelly
Jun 17, 2024

For nearly seven decades, there has been at least one Koehn employed at the CHS refinery at McPherson, Kan. Claude Koehn began working in the guard shack at the refinery in 1956 and since then the Koehns have exemplified the hardworking and humble families working every day to supply rural America with the fuel it needs to keep moving.

Bo Koehn recalls when his father, Jim, received a job offer from the refinery, “I remember the day he got that phone call. He and my mother were dancing around in the kitchen. We were all so excited.”

Bo Koehn, the latest in the family line, has worked at the refinery since 2014. With a freshly minted MBA, he had applied to several jobs and received offers when Jim suggested that Bo look into working at the refinery. Jim knew from his decades of experience that Bo could stand to earn even more from a job at the refinery. Bo recalls, “I looked at him, I'm sure, with a dumbfounded look because if I wanted to do that, why didn't I just do that after high school?”

After weighing his options, Bo decided to speak with someone from the refinery before making his job decision. At the time, the refinery was owned by National Cooperative Refinery Association (NCRA), which included CHS and other cooperatives, but an acquisition was underway for CHS to assume full ownership. Bo says this change was a draw for him, giving him confidence that he'd have plenty of career opportunities working for a global company.

Their time together at CHS has not only given the Koehns rewarding careers, but they say their shared experiences have brought the family closer together. Bo and his dad say working together was a joy and gave them and Claude something to bond over at family gatherings. Bo and Jim even worked in the same unit for several years. “Working with Bo made my heart happy. I loved having him there,” says Jim.

Claude retired after 38 years with the refinery and Jim retired in 2021 after 26 years of service. Claude was one of the refinery’s first special projects operators and Jim served his entire career in the feed unit. Today, Bo is a zone supervisor, running the state-of-the-art water treatment facility at the refinery. About his work, Bo explains, “You don't know exactly what's going to happen every day when you show up to work. Things change in the blink of an eye, so every day is a challenge and that's something I like.”


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