I’m an incorrigible foodie and I became interested in local foods for the promise of happier taste buds. Over the years, my interest in local foods has become about much more than taste. It's about economic development in our area's struggling rural communities. It's about teaching people with limited means to cook nutritious foods. It's about battling obesity and unhealthy lifestyles. It's about breaking the destructive effects of monoculture farming. It's about treating animals more humanely. And, yeah, it's about taste!
My last two years serving on the TFCM board of directors has been one of the most rewarding times and causes of my life. I’m always surprised when someone asks me “if” the store will actually ever open. I’ve never had a doubt that it would. We are strong, committed, focused and we have a plan. The store will open.
With more than 25 years in marketing and public relations, I bring important skills to TFCM. Crafting the membership marketing drive in 2013 that resulted in the reaching the 600-member threshold and working with the team to implement the drive was especially rewarding. Promoting a Blueberry Festival so well that we ran out of blueberries and had to shut down early was fun! Leading the work to develop a new visual identity for TCFM as the store gets ready to open and building another membership drive to hit 800 and then 1000 member owners by store opening is as exciting as it gets.
Let’s open the store!
I am a lifelong resident of Terre Haute and have taught courses in biology and chemistry (including the chemistry of food) at the high school level for the past 17 years. I also completed the Master Gardener Program through the Purdue Extension Office. Outside of school I am also a beekeeper, hiker, do-it-yourselfer, fisherman and hunter. I grew up living in town but was always a country boy at heart. My wife and I purchased land, built our home ourselves in large part for our two sons on 23 acres in southern Vigo County. I have always gardened organically and have chosen to focus my gardening energies on blueberries. I have been a vendor at the Downtown Farmers Market since its first season where I sold and still sell my berries, berry plants, honey and other produce. I have also sold blueberry plants at the last two Blueberry Festivals. I have tried to farm as sustainably as possible while teaching those techniques in my classroom, Master Gardener classes, Osher Institutes and anyone else willing to listen. When visiting Bloomington and Indianapolis my family has made it a priority to visit their natural foods stores. I believe the time is right and the clientele exists for Terre Haute to have its own natural foods store. I think my experiences from my former tree service, the Downtown Farmer’s Market, produce growing and knowledge in the sciences would complement the talents of the existing Board of Directors.
The last two years have been some of the most rewarding of my professional career. Serving as
Board President of Terre Foods, I lead a strong team of committed individuals working towards
a common goal. Our Board of Directors is a cohesive unit that has achieved growth through
leadership and humility, while actively engaging our membership and community in order to
continue to grow the message of Terre Foods' role in the emerging local foods economy. As a
team, we take advice Where needed (especially through our consultant relationships) and are
decisive in furthering the mission of Terre Foods Cooperative Market. My role as coordinator of
the group is one of continual learning, patience, and planning.
I believe that the manifestation of our shared vision, a cooperative grocer in Terre Haute, is one
key in opening our community up to new areas of growth and sustainability. Our
accomplishment will be a cornerstone for other economic development to follow. By
partnering with local producers, and addressing an area of need in the central core of the city,
We have the opportunity to impact not only Terre Haute, but the surrounding region as Well.
Our contribution to building a vibrant local food economy and our commitment to community,
education, health, and sustainability will be a model for other businesses in the local area.
Our recent success has been due to hard Work and perseverance, and I am committed to
continuing the successes Terre Foods has achieved under my tenure, and look forward to
facilitating the eventual opening of the store and beyond.
My interest regarding the Terre Foods Cooperative Market is on several levels: My wife Angela and I committed to this "dream" early on and are extremely interested in seeing this dream become a reality. I have waited several years to have a chance at becoming involved with the management and future direction of this local store. Now that the store looks to be a reality, I'm confident my construction and leadership skills will be valuable in the building process and future management ensuring the long term success of this Coop Market.
I see the role of this store becoming a "partner" not only with the local community, but with the local growers and farmers. It's certainly time for our community to have choices when it comes to purchasing foods for ourselves and our families. People should look to this store as the leader and best resource regarding organic and pesticide free food options. This can be accomplished with workshops, publications, and most importantly through face to face interactions between the entire staff involved with this store and the local community.
I have a unique combination of both construction and project management skills coupled with proven leadership skills that I know will help drive this market to completion. I served dual careers with the Department of Justice and the United States Navy retiring from both careers in 2013, that will allow me to focus as much time and energy as needed to ensure success. With extensive advanced electronic training in the US Navy, I went on to serve as the lead electrician at a federal complex with over 1,000,000 sq. feet of buildings. From there I served in various roles with the Department of Justice in the construction field - Project Manager and Construction Inspector for multi-million dollar federal projects, and Construction Foreman for building construction and upgrades. I have over 30 years total construction experience, and over 30 years of disciplined leadership with the US Navy.
Over the past two years, I have had the privilege to serve on the TFCM Board. My main roles are as Treasurer and bookkeeper. Additionally, I am team lead on the site selection, market feasibility, and store layout initiatives for the Board.
As an urban planner by trade, I offer expertise in identifying site selection and site layout opportunities for the store. Through projects that I have worked on in Terre Haute, I have insights into other development plans and contacts that are willing to contribute commentary on potential sites Terre Foods is considering. The responsibilities in preparing for a store opening are very rewarding and I would like to continue in adding to the success of the store in this capacity.