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Meet the Candidates: Board Election 2024

The following members have applied to fill three open spots on Fair State’s Board of Directors. Learn more about them and cast your votes! Voting will open Monday, May 13 and close on Thursday, May 23.

TIM COYER
GEORGE FISCHER
WILL FRANTA
ANDREA JOHNSON
JARED RODDY
CHARLES (TOM) TATE


TIM COYER | MEMBER #1391

CURRENT OCCUPATION
Public Finance Consultant

WHY WOULD YOU LIKE TO JOIN FAIR STATE’S BOARD OF DIRECTORS?
I love Fair State Brewing! The taproom is one of my favorite spots and over the last few years has been a place I cherish. I became a member in 2020 because I wanted to make sure that the places I cared about thrived through the pandemic. That job is not done and I want to lend my passion and expertise to ensure the healthy future of this community asset.

THE BOARD LEADS AROUND FOUR STRATEGIC PILLARS: FINANCIAL HEALTH, SUSTAINABLE GROWTH, MEMBERSHIP AND ENGAGEMENT, AND IMPACT ON THE COMMUNITY. PLEASE PICK ONE OF THE FOUR PILLARS AND PRESENT AN OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH OR IMPROVEMENT YOU SEE WITHIN THE COOPERATIVE.
Financial Health/Membership: It’s clear that membership engagement has been at a high level over the last months. I have been curious about giving members the option to not receive a discount during times of economic hardship.

EXPERIENCE WITH COOPERATIVES AND/OR BOARD SERVICE
I served on the executive board of northwest conference of the covenant church for five years. I have also worked as the executive director of a small non profit and worked with the board to enact policy.

INVOLVEMENT WITH BEER, ALCOHOL, SERVICE, AND/OR CANNABIS INDUSTRIES
I have been a bartender and barista for over 10 years.

EXPERIENCE WITH ORGANIZATIONAL LONG-TERM PLANNING
As the executive director of a small nonprofit, we entered into a deliberate long-term planning process that encompassed both an extensive amount of time looking backwards to see how we got here as well as engaging our community to be better prepared for the future.

HOW DO YOU APPLY DEI (DIVERSITY, EQUITY, INCLUSION) IN YOUR WORK AND/OR PERSONAL LIFE?
A lot my personal work in DEI has been around recognizing my own privilege and looking for ways to use my positions to empower others. I am definitely still learning and look forward to the opportunities the board will present me to grow.

HOW WOULD YOU WORK TOWARDS INCREASED INCLUSION AS A BOARD MEMBER?
I would work both to listen and to speak, to know when my opinion will be helpful and when the opinion of others needs to be lifted up. I would hope that I would be seen as an ally to all.

ANYTHING ELSE?
I’m convinced that Fair State is the greatest brewery in Minnesota and I will work hard to ensure it remains that way.


GEORGE FISCHER | MEMBER #184

CURRENT OCCUPATION
Corporate IT

WHY WOULD YOU LIKE TO JOIN FAIR STATE’S BOARD OF DIRECTORS?
I love Fair State, and I’d like to serve the organization. I believe that my experience will make me a productive director, and at the same time I look forward to learning more about the business and the organization.

THE BOARD LEADS AROUND FOUR STRATEGIC PILLARS: FINANCIAL HEALTH, SUSTAINABLE GROWTH, MEMBERSHIP AND ENGAGEMENT, AND IMPACT ON THE COMMUNITY. PLEASE PICK ONE OF THE FOUR PILLARS AND PRESENT AN OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH OR IMPROVEMENT YOU SEE WITHIN THE COOPERATIVE.
I believe there are always new ways to impact the communities in which organizations live, and the ways that they intersect. For Fair State, there are the communities such as the taproom customers, the patron members, the non-patron members, and the staff. Then there is the community of Central Avenue businesses, and the residents of Northeast Minneapolis, as well as our neighbors in St Paul. Of all those communities, I would bring focus to expanding the function of the Third Space for residents of Northeast. I remember the years before the taproom opened, and the lack of anywhere on Central to spend time with friends, and I am grateful for how the taproom fills that role; I would continue to work to provide functions and events for our community to spend positive time together.

EXPERIENCE WITH COOPERATIVES AND/OR BOARD SERVICE
I was on the board of directors at Eastside Food Co-op for ten years. Over that time I served as Board President, Treasurer, and Chair of the Governance committee. During my service the co-op board conducted a capital drive, and the co-op expanded to its current footprint. I was active with the board education committee, and also on the committee that ran the search for a general manager. I am very familiar with the governance model used by Fair State, and would be ready to contribute right away.

INVOLVEMENT WITH BEER, ALCOHOL, SERVICE, AND/OR CANNABIS INDUSTRIES
I have none.

EXPERIENCE WITH ORGANIZATIONAL LONG-TERM PLANNING
I served on the Strategic Planning committee at Eastside Food Co-op. We used several different methods to gather information from our owners about their perceptions of the co-op and its role, and then we consolidated that information into our strategic plan. Over the years, those plans included specific projects, like the expansion of the store, and more general guidelines expressed in our Ends policies. We worked with our general managers so that their operational plans were in alignment, and instituted ongoing monitoring so we understood our progress and could make adjustments.

HOW DO YOU APPLY DEI (DIVERSITY, EQUITY, INCLUSION) IN YOUR WORK AND/OR PERSONAL LIFE?
In my last year on the board at Eastside Food Co-op, we began a multi-year training and education using Action Learning, Intercultural competency utilizing the Intercultural Development Continuum, and Leadership Development grounded in Robert Terry’s Authentic Action framework.

HOW WOULD YOU WORK TOWARDS INCREASED INCLUSION AS A BOARD MEMBER?
I would emphasize the importance of continual training and education, for the board, the staff, and even members. Each of us are at a point in our understanding of DEI, what it means, and its importance. It is important to meet people where they are, and equally important to understand that there is no “finish line”: the work and the education need to be a continuous part of our plans and strategy.

ANYTHING ELSE?
I’ve lived in Northeast Minneapolis for the past 20 years. I became a member at Fair State before the taproom opened. I love co-ops, and so I knew I would support and patronize them even before I found out that the beer was excellent. I would be excited for the opportunity to serve the organization as a director.


WILL FRANTA | MEMBER #1880

CURRENT OCCUPATION
Assistant Program Manager at Conservation Corps of Minnesota and Iowa

WHY WOULD YOU LIKE TO JOIN FAIR STATE’S BOARD OF DIRECTORS?
Cooperatives are very close to my heart. I believe that collaboration, cooperation, and collectivism elevates the community and gives everyone equal voices. Being able to be involved a cooperative space like the one at Fair State would be a privilege, and being on the board would be a fantastic opportunity to put my beliefs into practice and create a community space where everyone feels welcome.

THE BOARD LEADS AROUND FOUR STRATEGIC PILLARS: FINANCIAL HEALTH, SUSTAINABLE GROWTH, MEMBERSHIP AND ENGAGEMENT, AND IMPACT ON THE COMMUNITY. PLEASE PICK ONE OF THE FOUR PILLARS AND PRESENT AN OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH OR IMPROVEMENT YOU SEE WITHIN THE COOPERATIVE.
I feel that not enough people know what a cooperative is or why it is important, and I believe that this starts with community engagement and outreach. Take time to explain to folks that when they join a cooperative, not only do they have a voice on how the business is run, but they’re uplifting their community. Sometimes, I feel this messaging can be lost, but I feel that it’s a great distinction that should be capitalized on. What sets Fair State apart from the plethora of other breweries in Northeast? To some folks, it may just be the beer, but to others, it may be the community, and I think it’s important to emphasize that.

EXPERIENCE WITH COOPERATIVES AND/OR BOARD SERVICE
I was an employee at Eastside Food Co-op in 2019 and am currently a member there. I have no prior board experience.

INVOLVEMENT WITH BEER, ALCOHOL, SERVICE, AND/OR CANNABIS INDUSTRIES
I have worked service jobs in the past, but have not worked in alchohol or at breweries.

EXPERIENCE WITH ORGANIZATIONAL LONG-TERM PLANNING
We are currently in a phase of long-term planning at my workplace. Our national funding (we are primarily an AmeriCorps program) may be at risk, so we are dedicated to working as a group to find new sources of funding. On top of this, I am always looking for ways to improve our programming for our members, with the goal the create a sustainable job readiness program that can continue to succeed.

HOW DO YOU APPLY DEI (DIVERSITY, EQUITY, INCLUSION) IN YOUR WORK AND/OR PERSONAL LIFE?
I am currently running for a spot on our JEDI Committee at my work, and I have spent years in my career working with historically disenfranchised groups. I believe that taking action is the most important thing to do, and that is accomplished by working with the community. This cannot be achieved by talking, but is achieved by action.

HOW WOULD YOU WORK TOWARDS INCREASED INCLUSION AS A BOARD MEMBER?
Listening and asking questions. Seeing how we can make a white, male-dominated space more inclusive by taking input from the community.

ANYTHING ELSE?
I’ve worked in non-profits for almost my entire career, and have worked in the community for longer. I see this as an amazing opportunity and I’m excited to learn more about Fair State and the folks that take pride in being owners.


ANDREA JOHNSON | MEMBER #2016B

CURRENT OCCUPATION
Compliance Manager

WHY WOULD YOU LIKE TO JOIN FAIR STATE’S BOARD OF DIRECTORS?
It is a great opportunity to be move involved in my community as I live in Northeast. I also want to support Fair State’s mission with my skills and knowledge.

THE BOARD LEADS AROUND FOUR STRATEGIC PILLARS: FINANCIAL HEALTH, SUSTAINABLE GROWTH, MEMBERSHIP AND ENGAGEMENT, AND IMPACT ON THE COMMUNITY. PLEASE PICK ONE OF THE FOUR PILLARS AND PRESENT AN OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH OR IMPROVEMENT YOU SEE WITHIN THE COOPERATIVE.
Sustainable Growth: more diversity in events – I see Forgotten Star and how incredibly diverse all their events are and how packed they get during those events. It could be an opportunity to learn from their successes.

EXPERIENCE WITH COOPERATIVES AND/OR BOARD SERVICE
I served on a survey board for the National Healthcare AntiFraud Association and reviewed and proposed process changes.

INVOLVEMENT WITH BEER, ALCOHOL, SERVICE, AND/OR CANNABIS INDUSTRIES
I am a former bartender and server at numerous locations including in NE at Elsie’s.

EXPERIENCE WITH ORGANIZATIONAL LONG-TERM PLANNING
I develop risk assessments and use them for long-term planning in my job for a healthcare company.

HOW DO YOU APPLY DEI (DIVERSITY, EQUITY, INCLUSION) IN YOUR WORK AND/OR PERSONAL LIFE?
I serve on two committees at my job. One is to support DEI and I have rewritten all our employee polices to be more equitable and worked to make measurable goals for DEI. The second committee I serve on is around volunteering and corporate donations and we have focused on DEI when choosing who to support with our company’s time and money.

HOW WOULD YOU WORK TOWARDS INCREASED INCLUSION AS A BOARD MEMBER?
I would support the amazing work I already seeing Fair State doing in the physical area but also in the LGBTQ community.

ANYTHING ELSE?
I am a dedicated and hard worker who wants to see Fair State succeed. I am a logical and rational person and I think I bring a lot to the table in terms of keeping things on track and on focus—particularly in meetings.


JARED RODDY | MEMBER #189

CURRENT OCCUPATION
Handyman/contractor

WHY WOULD YOU LIKE TO JOIN FAIR STATE’S BOARD OF DIRECTORS?
Fair State has been a big part of my family’s life since my wife bought me my founding membership for my birthday. I’m one of the first 200 members which was supposed to have been “a thing.” We had our first child’s first birthday party here, at the communal table that used to stand in the middle of the taproom. The idea that it may not be around indefinitely concerns me, and all my friends who like to play trivia or enjoy the place regularly. I would like to help in any way I can to guide the co-op back to sustainability.

THE BOARD LEADS AROUND FOUR STRATEGIC PILLARS: FINANCIAL HEALTH, SUSTAINABLE GROWTH, MEMBERSHIP AND ENGAGEMENT, AND IMPACT ON THE COMMUNITY. PLEASE PICK ONE OF THE FOUR PILLARS AND PRESENT AN OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH OR IMPROVEMENT YOU SEE WITHIN THE COOPERATIVE.
Well, Financial Health seems like low hanging fruit and an easy target given the current climate. But in truth, the whole story surrounding the bankruptcy filing and the financial situation is not totally clear to most members. Rumors are rampant, but I hope to believe the communications that describe the situation as strategic. I believe that’s where we have the most opportunity. It will be through membership and engagement and communication that we might achieve it better financial health. One adjacent we might look at is the Broken Clock Brewing Co-op, where I have many friends who are members. They include financial statements and total transparency to their members in their monthly updates. I think this is a good example to follow, and just one very simple way to achieve improved credibility and trust for our members. I believe it’s through improved member engagement that fair state can improve its financial health, reach sustainable growth and improve its impact on the community. Lean into membership and engagement, and the rest can follow.

EXPERIENCE WITH COOPERATES AND/OR BOARD SERVICE
My experience is limited, however I have the experience of community building and engagement, as well as managing relationships, through my experience as a coach for the Minneapolis United soccer program since 2020, the Minneapolis Titans hockey program since 2023, and as the technical director with the Chanhassen High School Drama Department, where by teaching students how to build sets for plays, they learn all the basic skills of using tools and figuring out how build things. During my corporate career I sat in many strategic committees focusing on marketing, engagement, and membership growth for the financial co-op with which I was employed. My current employment has me establishing consensus and working toward superior result in all of the jobs I accept.

INVOLVEMENT WITH BEER, ALCOHOL, SERVICE, AND/OR CANNABIS INDUSTRIES
It has been many years since I was directly involved in the service industry and I have never before worked in the alcohol or cannabis industry, except as a consumer and/or connoisseur. 😉 I was employed in the service industry as a waiter and food runner at Olive Garden for a year prior to my college and corporate career a millenia ago. Many of my current closest friends are bartenders or servers. I have a very pro-labor mindset and my current employment might be considered “service” as I am a self-employed handyman with an LLC. I serve the needs of people who have home improvement, fencing, or random “how do I do this thing I want to do” projects. I’m currently working for a theme park that will serve alcohol when it opens. I do not purport to have any influence on what they serve.

EXPERIENCE WITH ORGANIZATIONAL LONG-TERM PLANNING
During my corporate career, I was involved in a lot of the long-term strategic committees focused on growth, or at the least maintenance of membership in a contracting industry. Facing a dwindling member base and increasingly slim annuity spread, we developed priorities that helped us maintain and improve our membership and financial situation. We accomplished this as a bit player in an industry dominated by a much bigger, monolithic competitor. Much like the situation a small brewery co-op faces in the alcohol industry in Minnesota.

HOW DO YOU APPLY DEI (DIVERSITY, EQUITY, INCLUSION) IN YOUR WORK AND/OR PERSONAL LIFE?
Recognizing the institutional power dynamics, biases and advantages inherent in any human-run structure, all I can really say in a short space is that I just try to be as cool to everyone as possible, in the hope that they will be cool to me. If I see someone in danger or discomfort, I want to help. I’ve been in the big brothers big sisters program for more than a decade. I coach a bunch of sports here in Minneapolis.

HOW WOULD YOU WORK TOWARDS INCREASED INCLUSION AS A BOARD MEMBER?
I would have to have a better understanding of the structure of the co-op in terms of employment and opportunities within the company and board to really have any opinion on the matter.

ANYTHING ELSE?
I just think whatever my skills might nebulously be defined as, they can be of some service in helping Fair State—the first co-op Microbrewery in the country as I was made to understand it back in 2000-whatever when I first became a member—to be what it was always supposed to be. Our spot. The place we default to if we need a quick brew, or want to impress friends from out of the city. It’s my impression things aren’t really going the best, I’m not even quite clear on why. I hear rumors, I get vague emails, I’m told everything is going to be fine. But I think a lot of people are worried that’s not the case. So what can we do to get back on track? The way I see this place, it’s the little neighborhood microbrewery that could, and I think I can help.


CHARLES (TOM) TATE | MEMBER #2015

CURRENT OCCUPATION
Freelance copywriter

WHY WOULD YOU LIKE TO JOIN FAIR STATE’S BOARD OF DIRECTORS?
As a Board member, I would like to contribute to the success and long-term prosperity of Fair State. I worked for electric cooperatives for more than 13 years, and during that time, I developed a respect and passion for the business model. Cooperatives engage customers as member owners and communities as partners.

THE BOARD LEADS AROUND FOUR STRATEGIC PILLARS: FINANCIAL HEALTH, SUSTAINABLE GROWTH, MEMBERSHIP AND ENGAGEMENT, AND IMPACT ON THE COMMUNITY. PLEASE PICK ONE OF THE FOUR PILLARS AND PRESENT AN OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH OR IMPROVEMENT YOU SEE WITHIN THE COOPERATIVE.
Sustainable growth is an area of great interest. I’d like to see the Cooperative take advantage of renewable energy and sustainable production processes in a sensible manner. By this I mean to weigh conservation and sustainability initiatives on their merits, feasibility, and impact on the Cooperative’s financial health. With over 25 years in the electric utility industry, I am very conversant in energy efficiency and renewables.

EXPERIENCE WITH COOPERATES AND/OR BOARD SERVICE
I have fairly extensive Board experience. I served as the Secretary for the Women’s Resource Center in Sarasota, FL, I served on the Sarasota/Bradenton Chamber of Commerce, I served on the Board of the Sussex County Chamber of Commerce, serving as Chairman one year. I also have served on two HOAs in NC and PA, serving as secretary for both. I also served on the Vestry of my Church in Milford, PA. A recurring them in my roles is acting as secretary. I take exceptionally good meeting notes and turn them aorund promptly. In addition, I am well-versed in Robert’s Rules of Order, and have served as the Sargeant at Arms in various groups.

INVOLVEMENT WITH BEER, ALCOHOL, SERVICE, AND/OR CANNABIS INDUSTRIES
I managed customer service operations for Sussex Rural Electric Cooperative for 8 years. I have no direct experience in the beer, alcohol, or cannabis market sectors, although I am an exceptionally quick learner.

EXPERIENCE WITH ORGANIZATIONAL LONG-TERM PLANNING
While working for Florida Power and Light in Sarasota, FL and New York State Electric and Gas in Binghamton, NY, I managed the business planning process, for my area of responsibility (FPL) and for the corporation (NYSEG). While at FPL, I initiated a restructuring of the Key Account Management organization, participated in a complete corporate restructuring, and developed skills in the Deming Quality Improvement Process. While at NYSEG, I initiated and helped manage a total corporate restructuring of how the company served its customers (this did not involve power generation, transmission, and distribution or gas distribution operations.)

HOW DO YOU APPLY DEI (DIVERSITY, EQUITY, INCLUSION) IN YOUR WORK AND/OR PERSONAL LIFE?
Personally, I do not believe DEI can be legislated or mandated. My parents taught me to treat everyone as an equal and with respect—regardless of any characteristics other than how they acted, what they did, and so forth. This “education” started when I was growing up in a small Virginia town. When I became a manager, I hired the best person for the job, regardless of race or orientation. My fellow managers kidded me about having the UN of sales managers because of the diversity of my staff. This was during a time when there were no regulations dictating percentages and preferences. I continued the practice the rest of my professional career in the cooperative and investor-owned utility world. I follow the same practice in my personal life as well.

HOW WOULD YOU WORK TOWARDS INCREASED INCLUSION AS A BOARD MEMBER?
By applying the same standards I have used all my life that have served me well—treat everyone the same and when you need to hire someone or award contracts, choose the best person available. Allow everyone an equal opportunity to serve the Cooperative according to their interests and abilities is also vital. I will be upfront and say this, I would resist all efforts to use any quota-based system for the simple reason that quotas by their very nature fly in the face of equity and inclusion.

ANYTHING ELSE?
I am a very collegial person, love the cooperative model, have a very high energy level, am creative, have excellent technical/digital (AKA web) skills, and love trying new things. I am also experienced with process improvement (Deming training), new product development, marketing, sales, and customer service. I welcome the opportunity to share my talents and abilities serving on the Board of Fair State Cooperative. and thank you for your consideration.

VOTE NOW


Cast your votes!! Voting closes on Thursday, May 23.