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The taproom will open at 6:30 pm today instead of 4 pm.

Meet the Candidates: Board of Directors 2022

The following 20 members have applied to join three open spots on the 2022 Board of Directors. Learn more about them below and get the chance to meet them in person on Monday, April 18 from 6–8 pm at the taproom.

Voting will open May 1–8, with results announced on May 11.


Afton Benson

CURRENT OCCUPATION
Managing Director

INVOLVEMENT WITH COOPERATIVES
Fair State, Broken Clock Brewing, REI

CURRENT INVOLVEMENT WITH BEER INDUSTRY
Currently I am a Fair State and Broken Clock member. At my job we operate pull Tabs/Bingo with Bent Brewstillery which has given me some additional insight to this industry. I’ve been talking with other members, board members, and Fair State staff to learn more about the expansion of the coffee shop space and how the union has been an asset to the organization and staff.

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE
Masters in Organizational Behavior and Business Management, Treasurer for the International Jugglers’ Association since 2015, Managing Director and nonvoting Board Member of CLIMB Theatre, Grant Writing, Nonprofit Management, Strategic Planning. Additionally, I help produce the MONDO Juggling and Unicycle Festival and the Spectacular show, as well as organizing and producing the International Jugglers’ Association’s annual festival since 2018.

WHY WOULD YOU BE A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR THE BOARD?
I would be a good candidate for the Board of Directors of Fair State because I have a diverse set of business skills and nonprofit experience. I am honest in my communications, I listen more than I speak, and my patience makes for a rich and successful team environment. My passion lies in anticipating needs, organizing tasks, and supporting organizations and individuals to ensure they are able to succeed in what they are passionate about.

Now, who could this person possibly be? Hello! My name is Afton Benson, I hold a B.S. in Business Management and a M.S. in Organizational Behavior and Business Management with over 15 years of leadership experience. Currently, I am the Managing Director of CLIMB Theatre Inc; in this role I have developed and implemented our Strategic Plan, and managed all fiscal aspects (budgeting, tax filing, and fundraising). Additionally, I serve on the International Jugglers’ Association Board of Directions as the Treasurer; in this role I handle the financials including onsite financial management of our annual festival (400+ attendees). Both of these roles support activities I enjoy: juggling and experiencing the arts. (You’re thinking, “Those are great activi…wait what? Juggling?” That’s right, I juggle! Alright, back to business.)

I task-switch like a champ, am flexible, responsive, personable, supportive and I meet my deadlines. I find joy in developing relationships with others, find community partners and creating engaging events. I would love to have the opportunity to put my skills to work with the Fair State Board of Directors!


Melissa Frenzel

CURRENT OCCUPATION
Assistant Practice Manager at Blue Pearl Emergency & Specialty Animal Hospital

INVOLVEMENT WITH COOPERATIVES
None

CURRENT INVOLVEMENT WITH BEER INDUSTRY
I have over 23 years of restaurant industry experience. I have worked as a greeter, server, trainer, and bartender. I have management experience working as an assistant general manager and general manager. My last position before my current role was as an events manager that was responsible for 7 restaurant locations and booking private events. Events include holiday parties; both private and corporate, weddings, rehearsal dinners, graduation parties. Event sizes ranged from 10 to 300. I was also involved with corporate support that included accounts receivable and implementing a new event software (Gather) and invoicing software (Plate IQ).

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE
I have helped plan and facilitate multiple off-site events for the restaurant company I worked for. Some examples are Dan Patch Days in Savage, Grand Ole Day, Restaurant Expos, Lake Front Days in Prior Lake, an Oktoberfest tent party, and off-site catering events for businesses. I also have other management experience including my current role.

WHY WOULD YOU BE A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR THE BOARD?
I believe I would be a great candidate because I am truly passionate about the hospitality industry. I have the experience that enables me to offer ideas and collaborate with others. I enjoy planning and being creative. I am also very detailed orientated and believe in the power of teamwork. What I love most about this industry is the people you work with, the community, the guests that you serve. They all become like family. Plus, I love FS! I have since my first visit two years ago. I am there at least every other week if not more. I am excited to see FS continue to grow and I would love to be a part of that.


Kyle Ratke

CURRENT OCCUPATION
Digital Marketing Manager

INVOLVEMENT WITH COOPERATIVES
NA

CURRENT INVOLVEMENT WITH BEER INDUSTRY
NA

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE
Digital Advertising, Social Media, Marketing, Journalism, Website UX, Copywriting

WHY WOULD YOU BE A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR THE BOARD?
Fair State has such a presence in the Northeast Community, and I think that’s what has gravitated me towards the Brewery. Certainly, the beer is good, but the people is what makes it great.

I believe I have a lot to offer the Board with my experience in Marketing, Advertising, Journalism, Website UX, and more. I’ve worked in the NBA for seven years, freelanced for USA TODAY for 5 years, and I’m currently leading a Digital Marketing department in my current role. All these experiences, and the constant evolution of the digital world, puts me in a position to help Fair State continue its impact on the community.

People ask often, “what is digital media or digital marketing?” There really is no real answer. It’s a something that is constantly changing, and I’d love to help Fair State optimize that.

What Fair State stands for is always without hesitation. That has been so appreciated over the last two-plus years, especially. Fair State is a beer and a brewery, but it’s so much more than that. I can’t think of a place that embodies the community like Fair State does – and that’s something I’d like to continue.

I’ve lived in Minneapolis since graduating from college and haven’t looked back. My wife and I (along with three cats – didn’t see that coming!), have lived in Northeast for the last three years and we absolutely love it. It would be an absolute honor to join a Board of so many talented and knowledgeable people, with the growth of Fair State and the community as its goal.


Tyler Brown

CURRENT OCCUPATION
Associate Finance Manager, General Mills

INVOLVEMENT WITH COOPERATIVES
Only involved as a current Fair State member

CURRENT INVOLVEMENT WITH BEER INDUSTRY
No experience specific to the beer or alcohol industry

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE
7.5 years of finance and accounting experience (4 years in external and internal audit; 2 years in financial services; 1.5 years in corporate finance providing guidance on business management, pricing, sales, and trade)

WHY WOULD YOU BE A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR THE BOARD?
During my eight years in the Twin Cities, I have grown to appreciate FSBC as more than just a brewery. Whether it’s union support, gender equality, racial justice, or simply providing a taproom for the community, the values and product of FSBC embody a strong brand that I passionately support.

I believe my finance and accounting experiences will allow me to uniquely contribute to the Board of Directors and the growth and development of the cooperative. With four years of external and internal audit experience, I provide a risk management perspective that will help the Board deliver guidance on building efficient, sustainable processes and policies as FSBC continues to expand. These experiences also allow me to work with the Audit Committee and contribute to the review and assessment of financial statements and other business documents.

Further, the finance, pricing, and forecasting knowledge I have developed at General Mills will be useful to the FSBC Board. I have worked with cross functional teams to manage parts of the snacks and convenience business and offered guidance on trade and pricing. With these experiences, I will help the Board drive a healthy business model. In the current inflationary environment, this is increasingly important to ensure FSBC has profits to invest back into the core business and its initiatives.

I want to be a member of the Board to further support the cooperative and community as a whole and to do my part to help FSBC be the best it can be.


Tom Pechman

CURRENT OCCUPATION
Senior Financial Analyst

INVOLVEMENT WITH COOPERATIVES
I have enjoyed working for financial cooperatives for the past 12 years and I appreciate their focus being on the membership and community, not greedy profits. My employment at Hiway Credit Union and Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union have been the most fulfilling of my 30+ year career in finance and accounting. I’m a very satisfied member of REI and the Minnesota Tool Library. Also, shopping at coop retailers like ACE Hardware and True Value Hardware stores is more rewarding than feeling unimportant at a big box home improvement warehouse.

CURRENT INVOLVEMENT WITH BEER INDUSTRY
I am a member of Fair State Brewing Cooperative, one of my “top 5” Minnesota breweries. In 2022 I achieved a goal of visiting “all” 220 Minnesota craft breweries. And I don’t “just visit,” I actively engage with owners, brewers, beertenders, and patrons. I learn about the owner’s passion for craft beer and what led them to start a brewery. I inquire about brewing systems, production capacity, water chemistry, expansion plans, and the collaborative nature of the craft beer industry. I’ve been offered many impromptu tours and several private tastings. It has been an amazing journey! Sadly, this self-guided tour includes 15 breweries that have closed since 2014, and there are several breweries I did not visit before they closed including Lucid, Harriet, and Wenonah. However, I am excited for the 7+ Minnesota craft breweries slated to open in 2022! This is an awesome testament to the resilience of the craft beer industry especially during a pandemic.

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE
I am a Twin Cities native and raised three daughters in NE Minneapolis and St Anthony Village where I’ve lived since 1992. I love this area and I feel fortunate to benefit from the retail, business, and community development the area has experienced. I have a Bachelor of Science in Business Finance from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management. I have experience in management, financial analysis, interpreting financial statements, budgeting and forecasting, financial reporting, facilities management, operations, and project management. I am also a member of the Rocksteady Trail Running community, a unique, welcoming, and diverse community much like the MN craft beer community.

WHY WOULD YOU BE A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR THE BOARD?
I love and support Fair State and the goal of achieving lasting success by creating desirable high-quality beverages and experiences, and by being a responsible all-inclusive member in the community through competence, respect, honesty, integrity, innovation, and fun. My education and professional experience will complement the current board and will help me confidently move initiatives of the cooperative forward. As a long-term member of the community, I have a vested interest in its social and economic development. My friends and associates would describe me as reliable, diligent and true to my word. I am a good listener and speak with meaning and relevancy. I have the time, capacity, and commitment necessary to meet all expectations and requirements of the board and I would be honored to be considered as a candidate for the Board of Directors.


Heather Donohue

CURRENT OCCUPATION
Artist

INVOLVEMENT WITH COOPERATIVES
Shopping at grocery coops

CURRENT INVOLVEMENT WITH BEER INDUSTRY
Happy customer; exchange student in Germany

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE
Many years in corporate America (NYC) as a website project manager

WHY WOULD YOU BE A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR THE BOARD?
I am a genuine fan of Fair State Brewing! I have corporate experience to help move business forward. I love the quality of the product, the welcoming atmosphere of the beerhall, and the beautiful graphic design of the labels and merch. (I don’t love when the summertime slushies run out before my husband and I place our orders after a long bikeride from SW Minneapolis, but there are always plenty of other delicious options so I quickly shift gears and welcome something new.) There is a pink “Heather Donohue Crafts” logo sticker in the ladies’ room, which shows my love for the place. Thanks for considering me for the job!


Tim Coyer

CURRENT OCCUPATION
Unemployed

INVOLVEMENT WITH COOPERATIVES
I have been a member of Fair State Co-op for two years.

CURRENT INVOLVEMENT WITH BEER INDUSTRY
I became a craft beer fan after drinking a bottle of Founders Double Trouble DIPA almost 15 years ago and quickly became a fan of local breweries and distilleries. I meet a group of friends every Thursday night at a local taproom and we enjoy trying all the new places that pop up but continue to be drawn back to Fair State.

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE
I have worked for non profits for the last 15 years as well as serving on the board of a large regional non profit for 5 years. I understand board dynamics and organizational change.

WHY WOULD YOU BE A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR THE BOARD?
In the summer of 2020 I remember hearing someone tell me that now is the time to support local businesses that you would be said to see go away during the pandemic. My first thought was Fair State and asking why have I never become a member? We fixed that quickly. I have a passion for good, locally made beer and Fair State is the embodiment of a brewery that wants to make a positive impact on its community. I would bring that passion to the board and work to keep the brewery profitable while also maintaining its integrity.


Mary Timmerman-Parker

CURRENT OCCUPATION
Retired

INVOLVEMENT WITH COOPERATIVES
No current or past involvement with cooperatives.

CURRENT INVOLVEMENT WITH BEER INDUSTRY
No current or past involvement with the beer or alcohol industry.

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE
-Recently retired after 25 years of Federal Government service, 11 of which I served in management. While in management, it was crucial for me to demonstrate time-management skills, lead a team of employees to meet goals, and listen to internal and external customers to meet expectations.
-Prior to my management experience, I was an active member of my local Union and served as the EEO specialist for my local. In this role, I assisted employees in understanding their rights and if their allegation of discrimination would be best resolved via the grievance process or an EEO complaint.
-Active with Advisory Councils, including serving a term as the President of the Women’s Advisory Council. In this capacity, I advocated for equality and organized events including serving as the Vice-Chair for our annual conference which brings together members of all the councils.
-While on detail with the Regional Public Affairs office, I routinely engaged in public speaking events and drafted memorandums for regional distribution.
-I have a degree in Education from St. Cloud State University and completed my Master’s program in Administration with a Professional Writing emphasis from Northern Arizona University.

WHY WOULD YOU BE A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR THE BOARD?
After years of living away from Minnesota, when it was time to return I knew it had to be to Northeast Minneapolis. My early years were spent NE and I still recall going to Windom Park to play. ow that I am here, I want to give back to the community that means so much to me.

From my first jobs in retail to my government career, all revolved around customer service. My work provided me opportunities to lead teams, manage projects, develop short and long-term goals, prepare and maintain reports, gather and evaluate information to identify problems and recommend solutions, and serve as a liaison with community partners. Within my job, I routinely accepted additional roles that allowed me to address solidarity and equality. I served as the EEO specialist for my local Union and was active in Advisory Councils. In my personal life, I have advocated for various causes, but closest to my heart is the rights for those with disabilities. As the sibling of a person with a neurological disorder that affects her physically and mentally, I grew up challenging perceptions and fighting for her rights.

I am eager to learn more about Fair State and the local community. As a member of the Board of Directors, I will use my experiences, skills, and perspectives to give back and keep the business moving forward to meet the needs of the coop and community.


Lindy Parker

CURRENT OCCUPATION
Director, Accounting

INVOLVEMENT WITH COOPERATIVES
None

CURRENT INVOLVEMENT WITH BEER INDUSTRY
None, other than enjoying thoroughly!

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE
I have six years of public accounting experience with Deloitte. I am currently the Director of Accounting for Landmark Health, a part of Optum, where I spend significant time working through both accounting and finance business needs to ensure proper financial reporting and business management. I am also the VP, Finance for W.I.S.E. Twin Cities, a national non-profit working to empower women to succeed in the business of sports in which I advise the other members of the Executive Board on financial budgets, event planning, and management of financial assets.

WHY WOULD YOU BE A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR THE BOARD?
I love bringing accounting/finance knowledge to small businesses that are founded on passions and people. Being a part of non-profits has been a great way to give back to the community and groups of people that I care about and the Fair State community would be no different. I would be a good candidate for the Board based on my experience and ability to analyze and present data in a way that is useful to others.


Jason Stein

CURRENT OCCUPATION
Retail Category Management

INVOLVEMENT WITH COOPERATIVES
I work for a secondary cooperative that provides business services to our member-owners, which are community-owned retail food cooperatives across the United States. In addition to FSBC, I’m a member-owner of The Wedge, Seward and Hampden Park co-ops, as well as REI.

CURRENT INVOLVEMENT WITH BEER INDUSTRY
I do not have any experience with beer or alcohol industry directly.

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE
I’m currently the Director of Category Management for National Co+op Grocers. My team uses data and advanced insights to determine which products to include in categories and build merchandising, pricing, and promotional plans that meet as many consumer needs as possible while capitalizing on larger consumer trends. I have experience developing, deploying and optimizing complex business programs; building annual budgets and sales, margin and labor forecasts; negotiations; retail operations; and I have ancillary experience with distribution and logistics. Lastly, I’ve just completed the Master Recycler and Composter program through Hennepin county.

WHY WOULD YOU BE A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR THE BOARD?
I would be a good candidate because of my 20+ years’ business experience. While it’s not specifically in the beer and alcohol industry, the concepts and disciplines in my current and past work are transferable to any industry and I would have a lot to offer the organization. I’m collaborative and skew towards introversion so give others space to contribute. Also, I’m a loyal consumer of FSBC!


Phil Fleischer

CURRENT OCCUPATION
Principal budget analyst for the State of Maryland

INVOLVEMENT WITH COOPERATIVES
None

CURRENT INVOLVEMENT WITH BEER INDUSTRY
None

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE
I have extensive experience working in the public sector. I obtained a Master of Public Administration degree which provided experience working on various community research projects with non-profit partners. I subsequently worked for the State of Maryland in various roles that provided close cooperation with many community institutions and nonprofits.

WHY WOULD YOU BE A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR THE BOARD?
As a recent transplant to the area, I have been looking for opportunities to utilize my skills to serve community institutions. Fair State’s community focus and cooperative ownership structure have created a unique brewery that not only produces great beer, but also keeps service as a pillar. Serving as a principal budget analyst for the State of Maryland my skillset includes fiscal analysis, quantitative and qualitative research, and executive communication. I have worked with assigned State agencies and community colleges to evaluate their budget requests against various performance objectives and for adherence to their master plans and Administration policy initiatives. Equity is a core of the community college mission and working with them to serve underserved populations has given me an appreciation of its importance. I have led my department in developing various innovative process improvements, including to cash flows and grants to non-profits and other community organizations statewide. My Master of Public Education degree and associated community research projects have provided experience with various non-profit organizations. I hope to utilize these skills to assist Fair State in implementing the strategic plan and help craft the vision of the co-op for the future. It would be an honor to serve on the board and I appreciate your consideration.


Nicole Mayefske

CURRENT OCCUPATION
Grocery Buyer, Mississippi Market; Tarot Reader and Reiki Practitioner, Big Mouth Tarot

INVOLVEMENT WITH COOPERATIVES
My partner and I have always done a majority of our grocery shopping at co-ops, especially Hampden Park and the Wedge, where we are currently members. I’ve also been employed with Mississippi Market, a cooperative in St. Paul, for over a year and a half.

CURRENT INVOLVEMENT WITH BEER INDUSTRY
While I don’t have any past employment with the beer or alcohol industry, I’ve been an admirer of both for a long time, whether that be a Saltine Cracker-esque Pilsner, a loaded Bloody Mary complete with a beer chaser, or Wisconsin-style Old Fashioned made with whiskey and a soda wash. Whenever my partner and I are on vacation or on a quick weekend trip out of town, hitting up the local breweries is always a favorite. Lastly, both my Grandmother Ramona and Aunt Sandy owned bars in Green Bay, which has me wishing and hoping for a basement bar of my own someday.

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE
During my time at Mississippi Market, I’ve also been involved with the Diversity and Inclusion Committee there, whose purpose is to ensure a welcoming and inclusive environment within the co-op, whether you’re employed there, shop at any one of the three locations, or do business with us. We’re continually striving to add more BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, or women-owned products to our shelves, become more accessible on all fronts, and actually walk the walk when it comes to doing this important work.

At the same time, I’m a solo small business owner who has had to navigate everything from further education taxes, website design and layout, scheduling, online class creation and execution, etc on my own. My business model includes half off pricing (always) for BIPOC folks, learning from those whose identity and background is different than my own, and teaching cultural appropriation within the healing and metaphysical communities.

WHY WOULD YOU BE A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR THE BOARD?
Given my personal and professional background, I feel I’m a jack of all trades- I already have experience working and interacting in a co-op, I’ve had to navigate uncertainty and high emotions in that very setting during a pandemic and engaged with the public, and I’m devoted to making those spaces more welcoming and accessible for everyone.

At the same time, I’m a queer woman with a trans partner who would love to have a smidge of influence within one of my favorite spaces in the Twin Cities, especially when it comes to diversifying Fair State’s members and patrons. I’ve loved the partnerships, events, and actions y’all have participated in in recent years and would love to see that expand into an even more inclusive space, especially since many feel as though breweries are not.

Lastly, while I may not hit all the desired qualifications of a future board member, especially when it comes to working elbow-deep in financials, I’m an incredibly fast learner and proud of my Midwest work ethic. Thank you so much for this opportunity!


Kyle Goertz

CURRENT OCCUPATION
Sr. Sales Consultant at Ameriprise Financial

INVOLVEMENT WITH COOPERATIVES
I have no formal experience working with cooperatives but I am very excited about an opportunity to do so.

CURRENT INVOLVEMENT WITH BEER INDUSTRY
-I was a bartender for ~5 years at Burrito Loco in Dinkytown. It was a great job and experience that built some of the best friendships I have to this day.
-I was a part time member of the street team for Castle Danger; mostly working at festivals and tastings.

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE
-In my role with Ameriprise, I lead a small team of consultants who all work directly with financial advisors to help them build and grow their businesses.
-I have worked in the financial industry for 10 years as an advisor, marketing specialist, sales consultant, and earned my Certified Financial Planner® designation.
-I am a (very amateur) home brewer with a passion for beer and knowledge of the brewing process.

WHY WOULD YOU BE A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR THE BOARD?
My partner and I moved to Northeast about 5 years ago because we fell in love with this part of the city. It’s laid back with a lot to do. It has diverse influences from all types of people and cultures. The feel of the community resonated with us, especially as we settled in and frequented the local shops, restaurants, bars, and of course breweries. Over time, we found ourselves gravitating to Fair State as our go-to place because it embodies what we liked most about Northeast MPLS. It has an inviting, all are welcome personality that is not always easy to find. We waited FAR too long to decide to become members.

I am applying for a role on the Board of Directors because I want to be a more active part of Fair State Brewing Cooperative’s personality as it expands and grows. Through my current role at Ameriprise, I have a lot of experience leading people, coordinating with various groups to accomplish a common goal, and analyzing the strengths and opportunities businesses have; all of which I feel would help me bring value as a Board Member. My years as a bartender gave me a look at the good and bad sides of the beer and alcohol industry. I want to help build up the good parts and partner with the Fair State community to acknowledge and improve the bad parts.

Fair State is seen as a leader in the community for being inclusive in an industry that can often feel exclusive. I would like to do what I can to help continue building on the example the Cooperative has set.


Karl Gilbertson

CURRENT OCCUPATION
Manufacturing Manager, Medical Device and Reagents

INVOLVEMENT WITH COOPERATIVES
Apart from a dear REI membership, and an MS150 ride associated with Land o’Lakes and FS, my main involvement with cooperatives has been with Fair State as a member and board member.

CURRENT INVOLVEMENT WITH BEER INDUSTRY
Significant history as a home brewer since 2012. I have a spreadsheet to back that up! Just ask me! Additionally, elected board member of Fair State since 2019, records keeper since 2021. And most important, an alumni of the Fair State kickball team!

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE
My professional background is in medical chemical manufacturing and and a recent addition of medical device manufacturing. I have ten years of experience in driving manufacturing efficiencies, cost reductions, lean initiatives and capital projects along with managing a team of technicians, operators and engineers. I find myself driven, delighted and at home when analyzing yield trends, production variances and ROIs. I’m equally invested in my employees, their balance, and their development. My career requires collaboration with quality, sales, finance and facilities teammates, all of whom I rely on for my business’ success. I’ve used this experience with the board for the last three years to help Fair State focus operational goals and drive towards success of the cooperative.

WHY WOULD YOU BE A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR THE BOARD?
In the last three years, Fair State has grown significantly as a company, not only from a community standpoint, but physically, structurally, and financially. My experience from the operations side of a business will continue to be important to Fair State as we further look to grow the cooperative and its brand. And as a manager of people that are valued, I will continue to support Fair State in the view that employees should be valued, supported, and heard. I’m seeking reelection because I want to continue offering my skillset and viewpoint as Fair State continues to move forward.

Beyond the business side of things, Fair State has been “my” place for the last 6 years. The community that my wife and I found in this cooperative was more than I had imagined. There are permanent memories associated with this coop, be it riding the MS 150 with great people, playing kickball, shenanigans at Camp Fair State or just the casual wave to a member in the back patio. One that I recognize, but don’t yet know.

I’m asking for your vote because I believe my professional background and history on the board is and continues to be valuable to the business and its employee family, but also because it is a meaningful way for me to continue to serve a coop that has supported me and my own family.


Serena Boyce

CURRENT OCCUPATION
Human Rights Specialist

INVOLVEMENT WITH COOPERATIVES
I do not have any current or past involvement with cooperatives. But, I am eager to dive in, become a part of, and learn as much as I can about Fair State Brewing Cooperative.

CURRENT INVOLVEMENT WITH BEER INDUSTRY
I do not have any current or past involvement with the beer/alcohol industry. Personally, I am a lover of craft beer, and I consider Fair State basically my second home as I love to spend my free time there with my friends.

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE
n/a

WHY WOULD YOU BE A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR THE BOARD?
If I am chosen to be a part of the Board of Directors, it is a goal of mine to show that Fair State Brewing is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). I believe that it should be a goal of Fair State Brewing to show their commitment to DEI and making this a place welcoming to all. I have the professional ability to design strategies and direct initiatives that demonstrate an organization’s commitment to racial equity, diversity, and inclusion. DEI and anti-racism efforts are a passion of mine, and I believe that by having someone on the Board that can lead new diversity initiatives is quite important and needed at this time. With my passion for DEI and my love of Fair State Brewing Cooperative, I believe that I make an exceptional candidate for the Board of Directors.


Tom Wolfe

CURRENT OCCUPATION
Retail Logistics Specialist – Capstone Logistics

INVOLVEMENT WITH COOPERATIVES
My current and past experience with cooperatives is limited to patronizing organizations such as Fair State, Linden Hills Co-op

CURRENT INVOLVEMENT WITH BEER INDUSTRY
I’ve been involved in the beer industry for many years. As a long time volunteer (16 years) and Board Member (3 years) of the Irish Fair of Minnesota, I am responsible, as part of team, for all aspects related to the beverages for the annual fair and other events throughout the year. This includes the selection and working closely with the wholesalers. (JJ Taylor, Breakthru, Capitol Beverage, etc.).

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE
My professional career has been spent mainly in manufacturing / distribution environments, in a variety of industries including Northern Brewer.

At the Irish Fair of Minnesota, in addition to the beverage aspect, I also participate, on the Marketing, Sponsorship and Diversity committees.

I am also a weekend volunteer at Bridging in Roseville, MN helping load and unload donations. Bridging is a non-profit dedicated to helping individuals and families transition out of homelessness.

WHY WOULD YOU BE A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR THE BOARD?
I feel I would be a good candidate for the Board of Directors due to my overall, well rounded experience. I am very familiar with the beer industry and wholesalers and understand how they operate. In addition, what has intrigued me the most is the Fair State story and community initiatives. I would be proud to serve the cooperative. Being a current board member of a 501(c)(3) non profit, I understand all the things (marketing, budgeting, diversity, sponsorships, etc.) needed to help lead an organization to achieve it community and diversity goals.


Joe Nelson

CURRENT OCCUPATION
Procurement Manager

INVOLVEMENT WITH COOPERATIVES
I have spent the last 3 years as the Treasurer of the Fair State Board of Directors. It has been a great experience to get to know and work closely with the board members, the Fair State management team, the beer-tenders, and other members who are passionate about Fair State & the community we are part of. I hope to be able to continue to do so.

Outside of Fair State, I have also spent nearly 10 years of my career at Land O’Lakes, Inc., a dairy and agricultural cooperative that has been headquartered here in Minnesota for over 100 years. In my time at Land O’Lakes I have gotten to work with dozen of other cooperatives across the country and have gotten to meet countless individuals who work every day to support the cooperative system.

CURRENT INVOLVEMENT WITH BEER INDUSTRY
All of my experience in the alcohol industry comes from being part of the Fair State board of directors for the past three years.

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE
In my time at Land O’Lakes, I spent 5 years working in a role doing consulting work with cooperatives across the country. I worked closely with cooperatives who were in the midst of making decisions on long term financial investments and developed the analysis that either supported or rejected the plans. I helped businesses analyze their current operations and helped them build plans for improvement to better serve their members. I sat with management teams and boards of directors to determine if a merger or acquisition helped them meet their long-term strategic goals. Through all this work, I have built a background and perspective that I believe has been, and can continue, to be valuable to the Fair State board.

WHY WOULD YOU BE A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR THE BOARD?
Working with the Fair State team and helping to navigate through the uncertainty of the past two years hasn’t always been fun, but the fact that we’re coming out the other side has certainly made it worth it. But for me, Fair State surviving the pandemic isn’t enough. I want to help make sure we are continuing to build on our foundation so we can thrive into the future. As I reflect on the last three years, I’m just not ready to be done serving this cooperative…we still have work to do.

The Fair State board is well served by individuals who have a wide variety of talents and experiences. Given my experience as Treasurer of the Fair State board in both a pre-pandemic and pandemic world, I believe I have a great perspective of knowing where we started, and the twists and turns that got us to where we are today. Over the past three years, the core vision of building community has not changed, but the day-to-day realities of life in 2022 vs. 2019 have changed, and we have had adapt to these realities. Given this experience and perspective, I believe I’m very well suited to help the Fair State team get us to where we want to go.


Neal Wozniak

CURRENT OCCUPATION
Chief Operating Officer & Co-Founder of euverita, a healthcare services provider

INVOLVEMENT WITH COOPERATIVES
Aside from membership in Fair State, I have none.

CURRENT INVOLVEMENT WITH BEER INDUSTRY
I was a licensed bartender briefly, but otherwise none.

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE
In addition to a long career in IT, I have twice served in leadership roles in fast-growing business: as COO of an IT services provider and currently as a co-founder and COO of a new healthcare services company called euverita. In both of these roles I had accountability for all operations, finance and HR, among many other areas.

Through my work with the IT services firm, I was a “virtual” CIO and consultant to well over a hundred companies in areas such as IT strategy, implementation, and a range of business challenges. Additionally, I have been a consultant to small businesses in Hennepin County as part of the county’s Elevate Business HC program for the past 18 months.

I served a term on a nonprofit board and have experience working with many other nonprofits and foundations who were clients of my IT services business.

Personally, I was an avid home brewer through my college years. First in Oregon, and more recently while living near the rapidly expanding Michigan brewery belt, I’ve been an observer and enthusiastic fan of the phenomenal growth of independent brewing over the past 25+ years.

WHY WOULD YOU BE A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR THE BOARD?
It’s become a family joke that whenever we go out, we’re likely as not going to a “beer factory;” so when we moved here in 2019, we naturally gravitated to the local breweries. Fair State immediately became a favorite. Not only is the beer amazing, we were blown away by the warmth and diversity of the members we encountered. I think this stems from the sense of ownership – it’s is an important part of what makes Fair State special and why we became members.

The board has a crucial role in the continued good health of this community. I’ll never brew amazing beer, but I can contribute meaningfully to Fair State’s mission by putting my professional skills to work. Specifically, I have experience in managing the finances and operations of a rapidly growing business and have excelled in the subtle art of advising and supporting senior leaders. I have deep experience in technology and infrastructure – a vital part of any modern organization. Lastly, I have a record of supporting non-traditional employees, in particular women in the tech sector.

I bring a creative and nimble approach that will be of use to the Board as it continues to navigate the post-pandemic (fingers crossed) marketplace and the unique aspects of Fair State being what it is. And importantly, I have the time, energy, and drive to devote to the Board. I want to get more involved in the Fair State community and I can think of few better ways to do it.


Eric Spore

CURRENT OCCUPATION
Copywriter (advertising)

INVOLVEMENT WITH COOPERATIVES
My experience is mostly as an enthusiastic member up to this point. My partner and I are both members of The Wedge and enjoy the feeling of connection we have with that place/to the community it cultivates.

CURRENT INVOLVEMENT WITH BEER INDUSTRY
I have worked on a couple of beer brands in my advertising career. Namely, Peroni and Leinenkugel’s. I got a firsthand look at how major beer labels think about themselves and communicate, both in terms of reinforcing their brand and driving sales.

Also, I have retail experience as a manager at a Denver bottle shop (Joy Wine And Spirits) and worked at Lake Wine And Cheese. Honestly, I learned a ton from those roles about a wider range of products, how they showed up in a sales setting, and how customers approach making their purchases. I was also a server/bartender for a handful of years after college. That role was also extremely formative for me, teaching me a great deal about people and moving the world.

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE
Personally, I have avidly followed breweries in every city that I’ve lived, taking part in events, festivals, and generally trying to stay as connected to them as possible. I love seeing what’s new and trying everything. And hitting up local breweries is one of the highlights of any trip my partner and I take.

WHY WOULD YOU BE A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR THE BOARD?
There is a lot that a community-minded brewery can do to make people’s lives and the places it serves better. I believe I can help Fair State continue the excellent work it does in this area.

My professional work is largely creative problem-solving and communication. These skills are fairly broadly applicable. I have had to figure out the best way to deliver a message under a variety of constraints that really flexes my approach. And I’ve had to learn how to be responsible for carrying a company’s values, ensuring that what I put forward meets an institution’s high standards.

I am a team player. If you’re into Enneagram types, I’m a nine. While I have opinions and will speak up for them, I also build a lot of bridges and seek compromise wherever it can be found.

And lastly, I just really want to help. I believe in what Fair State wants to do in the community. This brewery creates more than just excellent beer but a welcoming environment where all people can come together. And it extends beyond the walls of the brewery to have an impact in the world that is so much bigger than beer. That’s an effort that I can truly get excited about and put myself into.

Thanks and hope to hear from you soon!


Wendy Fossum

CURRENT OCCUPATION
Content Support Analyst (Librarian at a law firm)

INVOLVEMENT WITH COOPERATIVES
None

CURRENT INVOLVEMENT WITH BEER INDUSTRY
None, but I drink a lot of craft beer and liquor.

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE
Vice President for the Friends of the North Versailles Public Library (PA), Editor of the MN Association of Law Librarians (MALL) newsletter for 2 years. Research and technology experience at work.

WHY WOULD YOU BE A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR THE BOARD?
I’m passionate about how Fair State is one of MN’s best craft breweries. I really appreciate their status as coop as well as being unionized.

Also, recently, I saw the cancellation of the Native Land beer. I stand behind listening and reacting. While our initial ideas may be well thought out and well meaning, they can still be wrong. Willingness to own up to that is an amazing strength that will only enhance community.

I also have great access and ability to research via my professional experience and access that I would love to use for the benefit of Fair State.