2013 board candidate statements and videos

The 2012-2013 nominating committee presented a slate of four candidates for consideration in the 2013 election.

Each candidate provided some biographical background as well their responses to three questions designed to give members insight into each candidate’s background and reasons for running.

John Sheller

John Sheller (incumbent)

I am completing my first term on the PCC Board and would appreciate the opportunity to serve a second term. During my first term I learned how our board operates and interacts with our management team. I worked hard to learn our finance, accounting and auditing to fulfill my fiduciary responsibility; and have visited all our stores to see how each fits our different communities. I have served on the Board Development, Finance, and Nominations committees, and currently chair Member Relations.

I grew up behind the cash register of a mom & pop grocery store in suburban Philadelphia. When we first married in the 1980’s my wife and I raised beef as part of a loose family cooperative in eastern Washington. I currently assist with sheep and turkey on our family’s farm. Our daughter prefers vegetarian fare so my wife and I greatly appreciate PCC’s nutritional education support, as do many of the members I have met and spoken with. As a family we actively support the PCC Farmland Trust.

I am a senior manager with the King County Library System, an organization that like PCC is nationally recognized for excellence, and is committed to our members’ informed decision making.

Why do you want to serve on the board?

I would love to continue applying what I have learned in my first term in service to our members. We have a great organization and I appreciate spending time thinking about our past and future. My fellow board members and I are committed to PCC’s long term success. We each bring unique experiences and perspectives to our policy discussions and decision making.

I am excited about the new stores in Green Lake and Columbia City. I would very much like to continue board level oversight of their progress. I look forward to opening day at both of these fantastic locations. I would also like to continue to monitor and support management’s commitment to our Seward Park shoppers, who have been so loyal and deserve our best in return.

What makes PCC a different kind of business?

Aside from our co-op model, PCC’s commitment to sustainability is unique in the grocery world. Being able to connect members and shoppers with local and regional farmers, producers and suppliers; plus our commitment to environmental sustainability; does not happen automatically. It takes long term thinking combined with daily effort from our staff, management, trustees and members. We are very much in this together, making our cooperative model such a great fit for what we all agree we want PCC to be.

Our Policy Governance governing model ensures that passionate board members focus their time and effort on board level responsibilities. As tempting as it might be to throw on a purple apron and help out in our stores, Policy Governance keeps trustees from veering out of our areas of responsibility. It took me about a year to get used to the language and reporting system, but I have come to view Policy Governance as a model for other organizations to consider adopting.

What experience, skill or perspective will you bring to the board?

I spend a lot of time in our communities and have a ground level perspective on local needs. I am fortunate for having lived and worked in variety of locations throughout the Puget Sound area. I have become especially attuned to neighborhoods struggling with the double epidemics of obesity and diabetes.

If reelected I will continue to support board efforts to educate our trustees and members about these plagues, and PCC’s ongoing efforts to make healthy choices available to more people.

Taso Lagos

Taso Lagos

PCC has a special and unique mission: build community, serve members, support farmers, care for the environment, provide to its employees, and run an on-going business. I am a proud member since 1984.

I practice community building as a university lecturer. I share with my students the value of engaged citizenship, simplicity in living, and giving back. My doctoral dissertation focused on social institutions that support the community’s well-being, and help keep it vibrant and humane.

I served on the PCC board nominating committee and saw firsthand the principles of the triple bottom-line (community, environment, profits) put into daily practice.

I helped found “Street Soccer Seattle” that seeks to end youth homelessness through participation in soccer. As for PCC’s mission to support farmers and provide members with healthy food choices, I fully support this because I grew up on a small farm with goats and chickens. We grew our own food, even made our own olive oil.

I know how to keep customers happy, manage a food service business, and pay attention to the bottom line because in 1974 my family took over a popular and well-loved restaurant in Seattle.

I would be honored to serve on the PCC board.

Why do you want to serve on the board?

We trust PCC to give us healthy, nutritional, quality food at fair prices. I want to build on this trust, particularly with my knowledge of social media at a time when PCC uses more and more communication technology in the stores to reach our more than 45,000 members.

Food is life, something I have spent decades learning and appreciating. PCC began in 1953 because a few families wanted access to quality local food - this is a legacy worth preserving and building upon.

I believe in teamwork and working in a collaborative environment; especially critical at a time when PCC continues to grow as the largest food coop in the country. Its 10th store at Greenlake will open this year. PCC can expand but also inspire.

What makes PCC a different kind of business?

Three points stand out:

  • PCC practices the triple-bottom line – social responsibility, environmental stewardship and sustainable profits. It gives so much back to the community, and does a lot to educate our members about food, about policies that affect the food system, about being good neighbors and supporting local farmers.
  • PCC is accountable to its owner-members. PCC is more than a business; it’s a social and neighborhood institution. It looks to the future creatively and sustainably.
  • PCC is an innovator. Kid Picks. Cooking classes. Promoting “green” structures. Providing livable wages to the hard-working employees. Supporting the Farm Trust.

PCC is a model for all other businesses in our community.

What experience, skill or perspective will you bring to the board?

I want to bring my intimate knowledge of the food system – from grower to producer – to the board. At the same time, I have extensive experience researching the value of social institutions like PCC, which act as glue to the community. I want to work hard to make PCC sustainable for the next generation of member-owners.

I want to be a “servant-leader” for all PCC members. It is not easy being PCC in a highly competitive climate, but it is the people – the courteous staff, the nearly 1,000 employees, the members, the vendors – that make this such a special place to work, shop, eat, learn, and experience.

Karen May

Karen May

In 1980 when my husband and I were deciding where in the US to make our permanent home, the PCC was a big reason we chose Puget Sound. To celebrate moving here, we immediately became a PCC member. Membership is our symbol of our commitment to the Northwest. Daily, PCC is a big part of where we find “community”. The ethics of PCC, its environmental leadership, the fact it is a co-op, the people who work there, the farmers, the friends we run into when we shop, and the commitment to the triple bottom line philosophy are why PCC is so important to our family’s life.

While I have been doing community volunteer work since high school, I now have enough time, financial expertise and board experience to meaningfully contribute to PCC.

Why do you want to serve on the board?

Because the PCC community has the audacity to believe environmental stewardship and social responsibility are on par with profit, it is providing a unique kind of leadership. PCC demonstrates democracy with dignity through its adherence to the cooperative model. The spirit that 60 years ago created from scratch a market here in the northwest for organic food is still vibrant and continues to build the healthy community we know we can have. That spirit has a home (i.e. the cooperative model) so we know with responsible care and attention it will continue for generations to come. These are the things that matter and that is what PCC is focused on. When I look for places to volunteer, I look for places that matter. PCC is such a place!

What makes PCC a different kind of business?

Recent examples of how PCC has translated its audacious cooperative spirit into action are PCC’s childhood nutrition initiative, the founding of the PCC Farmland Trust, the award winning PCC Cooks program, getting rid of plastic bags, monitoring the sustainability practices of our suppliers, participating in the establishment of National Organic Standards, tirelessly working on labeling standards (in particular getting GMOs labeled and our body care producers to meet NPA standards), the Sound Consumer as timely and honest consumer education, partnering with WISErg to turn food scraps into organic fertilizer, working with small farmers on diverse issues such as re-usable produce cartons, transportation, training the next generation of farmers, support of fair trade products, encouraging the development and growth of other co-ops like the fledgling NW Cut Flower Growers Market Cooperative…. I could go on and on and on.

What experience, skill or perspective will you bring to the board?

I recently retired from the Boeing Company after 25 years, mostly as a Line Manager. There I was very fortunate to have held positions that exposed me to the revenue cycle (Sales and Marketing), product development (Engineering) and business process infrastructure products (Strategic Planning, Finance and Computing Support).

Prior to Boeing, I was a CPA with the Seattle office of the international accounting firm Coopers & Lybrand. Prior to that, I worked as Planning Director of several quasi governmental regional planning agencies located in the Midwest. My original degree was Liberal Arts (BA in English).

Serving on the PCC board is an opportunity to invest my time, energy and leadership skills in an organization that believes at its core we can actually change the world to be a more democratic place; an organization that is cooperative, sustainable, honest and socially responsible. If elected to the board, I am sure I will learn a lot and in return, I look forward to sharing my creativity and collaborative skills with this organization.

Art Scheunemann

Art Scheunemann

I currently am Senior Vice President, Business Development for Northwest Container Services, a Division of Waste Connections, Inc. I oversee all business development for the company, focusing on new business initiatives, acquisitions and partnerships.

My career and accomplishments have focused largely on food and agricultural market development (domestic & international) for Washington products. My knowledge and experience encompass such diverse sectors as wine, seafood, food processing, organic crop production marketing, transportation, food quality, safety and sustainability.

I hold a B.A. degree in education from Augsburg College, Minneapolis, MN; a M.A. degree in transportation economics and marketing from Washington State University, Pullman; and am a graduate of the Executive Management Program, University of Washington, Seattle.

I am married to Michelle Owens, have two grown daughters (Nicole & Jennifer) and a Labradoodle – Gracie Kelly. My home is in Redmond, Washington. My work and accomplishments in the public-private food, agriculture and transportation sectors have provided me with a unique set of management skills and perspective that will contribute positively to the process and work of the PCC board. The opportunity to work collaboratively with the PCC membership to address their needs and concerns would be very exciting, challenging and rewarding.

Why do you want to serve on the board?

In life and business, there should come a time when we seek opportunities to share our experience and success. To “give-back”, and contribute beyond our own self-interest. The PCC board provides a wonderful opportunity to share my management experience, my work in the food, agriculture and transportation industries and perspectives gained from my career in a meaningful, productive way, in a unique and successful business organization.

What makes PCC a different kind of business?

Clearly the cooperative structure is a unique (but not new) business model, differentiated from a traditional for profit business. As in the PCC case, the co-op structure, run well, provides a strong framework for creating value for the member-owners in terms of protecting and growing the PCC brand; food product choices, quality and safety; understanding and acting positively on the demands and needs of the member-owners; adaptability to new products, brands, market changes and opportunities; and directed, assured reinvestment in the success of the business, i.e. employees, stores, products and communities served. PCC is truly, a unique organization.

What experience, skill or perspective will you bring to the board?

35+ years of successful management experience in the private and public sectors, focusing on developing, promoting, marketing and positioning Washington food and agricultural products and brands, both domestic and international. Proven operations experience including budget management and bottom line fiscal accountability; strategic planning management skills, including all elements of organizational, business, economic and marketing plan development and execution; strong leadership and team building skills, with proven success developing consensus and managing in complex and dynamic organizations. Additionally, I bring a passion for food. Food is a significant investment in our lives. It provides for our daily sustenance, and the satisfaction and pleasure we derive from eating. That said, we should have high expectations regarding the “return on our food investment”. PCC delivers on this expectation by assuring diverse, high quality, safe and abundant food choices to its member-owners.

I believe I offer a unique set of mutually beneficial skills, experience and perspective for consideration.

I would be honored and gratified to serve the PCC membership on the Board of Trustees.

More about: board of trustees, election, member meetings, membership

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