Meet the 2013 Board Candidates

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The Chequamegon Food Co-op offers the following information about the 2013 Board of Directors candidates. Our candidates for this year’s board election are: Jon Beirl, Sara Lehr, and Jarrod Stone-Dahl. All candidates given the questions below and were asked to allot no more than 100 words in response to each question. The candidates are running for three open positions on the Board of Directors. Elections will be held in-store from April 1-15, 2013 and during our Annual Meeting on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 5:30 p.m. at CESA #12 in Ashland.

1) Please provide a 100-word bio about yourself.
Jon Beirl
Born in Ashland, matured and educated at UW-Madison, seasoned by living for over a decade in the U.P. of Michigan, and finally able to come back home. A Wisconsin undergraduate degree in economics is complemented by an MBA in finance. I have worked in financial institutions for over thirty years – from large holding company banks to small community banks. I’ve been a small business lender in Ashland at Northern State Bank for the last ten years. I live in Ashland, in the older house I grew up in, with my wife, Denise, and our two labs, Holly and Emma. Our two daughters are in their twenties. Carol is in Green Bay and Jessie is maturing and hopefully getting educated at the School of Nursing at UW-Madison.
Sara Lehr
My husband and I fell in love with the Chequamegon Bay Area, so when a position opened up at Northland, he applied. We moved here in the summer of 2010 and have loved living here and getting involved in this remarkable community. I have an undergraduate degree in accounting and a Masters of Public Health with a focus on community nutrition. I work at the Lakes Community Health Center as the finance manager, though I started at The Lakes as an AmeriCorps member working on a project to address the barriers preventing community members from accessing health care.
Jarrod Stone-Dahl
I was born and raised in Ashland and have lived in the Chequamegon Bay region save for a few years of youthful wandering, my whole life. I now reside with April, my wife/partner and our four kids about 20 miles south east of Ashland in the Penokee Hills. I’m a self-employed woodworker focusing on creating hand-carved wooden spoons and turning bowls with a foot powered lathe. I teach these handcrafts both nationally and internationally. I’ve been a member or involved with the Chequamgeon Food Co-op since the early 1990s and have served the Co-op by sitting one two-year term and finishing out a past board members term of about a year.

2) Why are you running for a position on the Chequamegon Food Co-op Board of Directors?
Jon Beirl
As an incumbent board member, I would like to continue the Co-op’s momentum. Over the last couple of years, your board of directors has made some difficult decisions: sold the farm, bought a building,g and hired a leader. The board has also set the groundwork for expansion. I am proud to have been a member of your board and look forward to continuing our momentum.
Sarah Lehr
I strongly believe in the Chequamegon Food Co-op’s ends statements that our community has access to local, organic, and healthy food; has a thriving local economy; and is knowledgeable about choices that impact the economy, personal wellness, and the environment. Oftentimes, there is a lack of transparency surrounding food, but health, local economies, and the environment benefit when people are knowledgeable about their food. My combined public health and accounting background brings a unique perspective to the board that can help the Co-op meet the ends.
Jarrod Stone-Dahl
I feel a real connection to the community and to the Co-op. I am very passionate about local food and our local economy. I feel that in the past few years as a board member, the Co-op has begun to transition into a whole new world of possibilities and I’d like to continue to contribute to that.

3) What skills or passions can you bring to the Chequamegon Food Co-op Board that will benefit both the Co-op community and our greater Chequamegon Bay community?
Jon Beirl
I was born here, am passionate about health, and have a good understanding of financial matters. My roots run deep in the Chequamegon Bay area – I AM a local product. I am passionate about health. I am a runner who attempts to lead a healthy lifestyle. And in an era of “no margin, no mission,” I believe my financial education/background can help the Co-op make good financial decisions.
Sara Lehr
I bring a public health and finance perspective, and I am passionate about access to quality food. So much of what is being peddled by the food industry is not healthy for people or the environment. Our food systems are contributing to the increased prevalence of chronic disease in this country and environmental degradation. I want to make sure that our community has access to the quality food we deserve. On the finance side, I believe that there is no mission without a margin, so a business needs to be financially viable in order to fulfill its mission.
Jarrod Stone-Dahl
During my time with the CFC I sat as president through the transition of reestablishing a general manager, buying a building for the Co-op’s future use, and the beginning phases of selling the farm. I have done extensive research on my own time on cooperative organization models, the board of director role in cooperatives and the policy governance system, as well as two board training sessions. Through my personal business/work, I have been researching and participating in discussions that focus on the local economy and the local food movement. I am very committed to these ideas as they can only help us and our community to grow and thrive.

4) How do you perceive the current role of the Chequamegon Food Co-op in the community? How would you like this to evolve or change over time?
Jon Beirl
In these volatile economic times, the Co-op has become a cornerstone business in Ashland’s downtown. In addition, the Co-op is an area leader in promoting health and our local economy. I would like to see the Co-op become an even greater presence in our downtown and grow its efforts to promote healthy lifestyles and the local alternative.
Sara Lehr
The Co-op sells local and organic foods, helps distribute these foods to the community through the Co-op and other distribution work, and facilitates education about food and wellness. I see it as a hub of both organic and local foods in the community and a leader in education about healthy foods and food systems. I see this role broadening further as the Co-op expands into a larger space and has additional capacity.
Jarrod Stone Dahl
The Co-op is in a very positive position in helping to promote the local food movement and the broader local economy movement. I would say that it already is involved in these. The expansion process is just starting to unfold the possibilities for even more influence and involvement on the greater Chequamegon region’s wellbeing.

5) What experience do you have working on boards and/or working with a diverse community group?
Jon Beirl
I have been a Co-op board member for the last two years. I serve/have served on numerous boards over the years, including: Ashland Little League, Chequamegon Health & Fitness, City of Ashland Board of Zoning Appeals, Ashland Rotary Club, Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce, Junior Achievement, and the Chequamegon Bay Chapter of UW-Madison Alumni Association.
Sara Lehr
I have spent one term on the Co-op board. It has been a fun and busy two years! We sold the farm, bought a building for Co-op expansion, and hired Harold Vanselow as the general manager. As finance manager at The Lakes and during previous employment, I have worked with various boards of directors to get them the financial information they require to do their jobs. This has involved listening to their needs and developing financial reports that are informative, easy to understand, and contain useful information.
Jarrod Stone-Dahl
As already mentioned, I have three years of experience with this board and about 10 years cumulative experience on other boards and co-ops. I also currently sit on a board for a small non-profit.