2021 Candidate Profiles

This year, there are two open spot on the board of directors. Please read the candidate profiles below and vote for the two candidates you think would do the best job guiding the co-op. Candidates will also be speaking at our annual meeting. You may want to wait to vote until after the annual meeting if you would like to hear them speak.

Our annual meeting will be on Saturday April, 17th at 5pm via zoom. The agenda will be announced late March.

The voting deadline is April 30th. Results will be announced May 3rd.

Only current owner-members of the Chequamegon Food Co-op are able to vote. A valid owner number is required on your ballot. Ballot were sent out on in the latest issue of the Grapevine newsletter mailer. Ballots can be dropped off at the Chequamegon Food Co-op or mailed back to the store.

You may also scroll to the bottom of this page to vote online.

Gary Sherman

  • Describe your experience with this cooperative and cooperatives generally.

I have been a member of this cooperative since it began and have served on the Board for about a year.  I joined my first cooperative in 1967 and have belonged to a number of cooperatives since, including the Williamson Street Coop in Madison.  I was on the board of the now defunct Common Health Warehouse Coop, a second level coop in Duluth, and they were also my client.  I represented a number of coops in my law practice, including CHWCA and Coop Services, Inc. in Maple.  I was also part of a group of participants in a buying club in Cornucopia.

  • Summarize your professional experience and relevant skills.  What unique skills, personal qualities, or perspectives will you bring to the board?

 I have been a lawyer since 1973 and served as a judge on the Wisconsin Court of Appeals for 10 years.  Prior to serving on the Court of Appeals, I represented this area in the Wisconsin Assembly for 12 years.  I have been on numerous boards of organizations both small and larger, including a stint as the President of the State Bar of Wisconsin, the organization to which all Wisconsin lawyers are required to belong.  In my law practice, I advised small business, including cooperatives.

  • What is your vision for the future of our cooperative?  What makes you passionate about the Co-op and/or its mission?

My focus is on organic food, particularly produce.  I was an early founder of the food coop movement and food was always the focus.  We used to control more of the food supply chain and I would hope that some day we can again.  I feel that we are too dependent upon large corporations that are not always trustworthy.  Food, like water, is life

  • Why are you interested in serving on the Co-op’s board of directors.

I would like to continue serving because it is interesting and, hopefully, I am making a valuable contribution.

  •   Add anything else you think is relevant to your candidacy.

As the coop has grown from a very small operation that largely existed to support buying clubs, if anyone even remembers what they were, into a major anchor of Ashland retail, it has benefitted from good management and the dedication of its workers.  The current Covid pandemic has shown how much can be accomplished in an emergency when good management and dedicated workers address the problem.  Would that it were universally so.

Colleen Beagan

  • Describe your experience with this cooperative and cooperatives generally.

When I moved to Bayfield in September one of the first things I did was join the cooperative, and it has been wonderful having access to the same quality of organic options I had available in St. Paul.  I can’t say enough about the friendliness of the staff! I was a member of the Mississippi Market in St. Paul and also years ago a cooperative in Bellingham, WA.

  • Summarize your professional experience and relevant skills. What unique skills, personal qualities, or perspectives will you bring to the board?

For 15 years I was a Social Studies teacher, and now I am a training specialist for the largest online K-12 education company in the country.  I train teachers on how to teach online. I am experienced in facilitating trainings and meetings remotely and in person.  I hope to bring the perspective of a new community member, my enthusiasm for buying local, and my commitment to environmental sustainability to the board.

  • What’s your vision for the future of our cooperative? What makes you passionate about the Co-op and/or its mission? 

My vision is to see the cooperative continue to grow and expand, primarily by continuing to sell locally produced food, providing zero waste options, and developing educational opportunities for members.  I also hope to expand on the involvement the cooperative has in the surrounding communities, for example working with organizations like CORE and the BRICK. Post COVID my vision is more opportunities for members to volunteer at the cooperative and in their communities.

  • Why are you interested in serving on the Co-op’s board of directors?

Volunteering my time is important to me since it allows me to give back to my community and build relationships.  Being on the board of directors would provide me the opportunity to learn more about the cooperative and support them in continuing to develop opportunities for members and the community.

  • Add anything else you feel is relevant to your candidacy.

While living in St. Paul I was on the Union Park District Council Board, a member of the board executive committee, and served on the Land Use and Development committee.  I was also a member of the Upper Midwest MS Society Government Relations Advisory Committee and volunteered for many MS events.  Last year I started an employee resource group at my company for people living with, or who have friends and family living with visible and invisible disabilities.  I am also a member of the companies’ diversity and inclusion standing committee.

Kelly Ross

  • Describe your experience with this cooperative and cooperatives generally. 

I’ve been a Co-op member in 3 cities over the past 10 years and love the local products they offer, the educational activities they host, and the sense of community they foster. My husband and I joined the Chequamegon Co-op two years ago when visiting the area and we moved to Ashland last February. We shop there regularly and look forward to becoming more involved. 

  • Summarize your professional experience and relevant skills. What unique skills, personal qualities, or perspectives will you bring to the board? 

I have a Masters in Education specializing in curriculum design and currently work remotely for a financial software company where I create educational content and teach. I have a teacher’s eye for problems and enjoy exploring creative solutions. I am time and detail oriented and love collaborative work.

  • What’s your vision for the future of our cooperative? What makes you passionate about the Co-op and/or its mission? 

I can envision our Co-op as a primary resource to our community for affordable and local staples. I picture a growth in educational resources and community outreach like cooking classes, activities for kids, and events featuring local artists and musicians.  I also hope to help foster collaboration with other education institutions and neighboring co-ops so ours can continue to learn and grow. 

  • Why are you interested in serving on the Co-op’s board of directors? 

I would like to join the Co-op board of directors to become more involved in our community and help continue the growth and successful future for our cooperative. I have the time and desire to learn whatever is necessary to do this in a competent, positive way and I look forward to getting to know more members of our community. 

  • Add anything else you feel is relevant to your candidacy. 

I applaud the Co-op’s response to the pandemic and the value it places on the safety of our community every day. As a member of the Board of Directors, I hope to help the Co-op continue its mission to “promote the health of our members and our community”, because what else could we all want more than that? Thank you for your consideration!

Cynthia Dalzell

  • Describe your experience with this co-op and co-ops generally.

I have been a member of the Chequamegon Food Co-op for many years and am a vested member.

When I moved up here to Madeline Island, I immediately started looking for a source for natural foods and organic foods and products.  I have watched the co-op grow and have admired its development and its response to the community.  I support the Chip Up Program to help small producers improve their endeavors.  When I meet new islanders, I always recommend them to the co-op for a source for their groceries and supplies.  I am always interested in the introduction of new products  and their sources.

  • Summarize your professional life and skills.

I am a landscape architect working in my field for over forty years.  I currently work mostly on Madeline Island but have done work throughout Northern Wisconsin for twenty years.  My work concentrates on natural landscaping and organic techniques and practices.  I have designed and installed many native plant communities and continue to educate my clients and the public on the benefits of natural plantings. 

I am also a small sheep farmer.  I have raised sheep for twenty-five years.  For many years I concentrated on producing fine fleeces for hand spinners, knitters, and weaves.  My property’s soil has been improved by organic farming methods and I have begun to dive deeply into vegetable gardening. I have just started a small dairy flock of sheep hoping to produce milk, cheese, and butter alternatives to cow’s milk on the island.

 I have joined the Madeline Island Harvesters who provide organic island grown produce to our community.  We are small group of around eight farmers, growers and foragers, and will remain so, but we have found the demand is great for natural whole foods that are locally grown. 

One of my other passions is EMS.  I am the ambulance director on Madeline Island.  I have been an EMT for sixteen years and the director for eight.  It is probably where I have learned to delegate and work as a team in all types of situations. 

  • What is your vision for the future of the Co-op?

I feel as though the co-op is a leader in the community for sustainability and food security. I was also so impressed by the Co-ops response to the pandemic.  It was the first grocery store that I encountered that set up safety standards immediately.  Everyone working in the Co-op was friendly and informative.  The Co-op took the proper steps right away.  I see that type of leadership in the community as a large asset.  I see that the Co-op can continue to raise awareness of the health benefits natural foods and grow its support to small local grower’s and farmers.  This is the future for the younger generations and their families.  If we want this area to thrive, we need to encourage young people to stay in the community.  I see a growing connection between Northland College and the Co-op as well.  I currently hire many Northland College students to work for me in the summer and they are always full of enthusiasm and energy for these ideas.  I learn so much from them and I hope they learn from me.

  • Why are you interested in serving on the Board of Directors?

I am interested on serving on the board for many reasons.  I enjoy being a part of a group that is so at the heart of their community.  I know the store is in Ashland, but I feel as though most of us on Madeline Island depend on you as our source for our needs.  I enjoy working within cooperative groups such as Northland College, the Apostle Island’s Visitor Center, and others to make our communities better educated and to build new and better programs for all aspects of the community.  I find the Co-ops educational and class program a wonderful start and would like to help that component grow as well.  Foremost I am concerned about food security and sustainability.  Our environment needs protection for it to continue to be a healthy source for our food and products for ourselves and our families.  I believe the Co-op takes that responsibility seriously and looks for ways to continue its growth and development.

  • Do you have anything else to add?

Even though I live full time on Madeline Island I feel as though I can make the meetings and fulfill my responsibilities on the board.  Especially now with the convenience of Zoom and other meeting resources there is no reason that I cannot attend.  I also do not mind if there are a few times when I will need to stay over.  I always have things to do on the mainland. 

Bob Putnam

  • Describe your experience with this co-op and co-ops generally.

The Co-op in Ashland is a store that I use since changing to a healthier diet and lifestyle.

  • Summarize your professional life and skills.

I am a retired superintendent that had many people from all trades working under me. Being able to problem solve and listen to my workers is very important in the final product.

  • What is your vision for the future of the Co-op?

Being able to work with people in our community that have the ability to provide healthy products to us all. You are helping area families and residents provide for the community.

  • Why are you interested in serving on the Board of Directors?

Being a superintendent has given me the skills to work with people. Also listening helps the team move in a positive direction to reach your goals for our community.

  • Do you have anything else to add?

I’ve been in Ashland from 1971 to present. The reason we have lived and raised our family here is because of the community we have. Being retired now leaves me with time to give back, and learn from members of this board to help make our community and store a healthy alternative.

Read more about serving on the Board of Directors by clicking here.