October Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

Submitted by Charles Hueter

DATE: October 25, 2015

LOCATION: Arts + Labor

CALL TO ORDER: 12:05pm

ATTENDING DIRECTORS: Michael Handy, Charles Hueter, Scott Kelley, Kenley

Maddux, John Vinson, and Joe Silva




Call to order at 12:05pm


Public Comments

Marcus says “Hello!”


Consent Agenda

Kenley asked to add the B.8 Board Perpetuation policy monitoring report to the

consent agenda. Michael asked to add January retreat and Leadership

Development Committee (LDC) update to the agenda for discussion. Kenley

moved to accept it and the September draft minutes, Joe seconded, vote passed



LDC Update

Michael reported all is moving along. New board members will get set up after

the elections and mentors will be assigned. The board agreed continuous

recruitment is important to keep a pool of candidates active and interested.

Cole arrived at 12:12pm


Finance Committee Update

The committee had nothing to report.


2016 Board Roles and Committees

Annelies was not present but expressed interest in the community project to

Kenley. Scott offered to help as facilitator and graciously suggested taking a shift

beer for compensation. Kenley said he would like to remain President. Charles

said he was not interested in being Secretary again, and the board agreed to keep

the minutes with the role. No one volunteered for the role at the meeting.

John said he would remain the chair of the finance committee. Marcus expressed

interest in doing policy monitoring surveys. Charles offered to be the board

packet assembler. The board discussed rolling action items into the minutestaker

and rotating that role among several directors. Marcus said he would chair

the Annual Report Review Committee. Scott offered to be the timekeeper and will

combine it with facilitation. Steve was penciled in to remain board outreach

chair. Joe and Michael offered to be director mentors. Joe volunteered to help

with minutes if needed.


WA Budgeting Update

Nicole reported that the budget was nearly complete. The Workers' Assembly is

pursuing staff remuneration reductions to tackle the biggest budget expense

item. She said 2015 is a big improvement compared to 2014 regarding sales

growth, mostly due to lunch and keg distribution. Price increases, particularly for

food, are one option under consideration after reasonable cost-cutting that does

not reduce quality. The board discussed the long-term challenges of the current

ends policies for worker treatment.


2016 Board Budget

Kenley reported an overview of CDS on their involvement with the board and

recommended staying with them. The board reached consensus on staying with

them and on getting competing bids for future financial audits. The board also

discussed the pros and cons of a normal full board retreat versus a smaller group

attending a CBL101 event for January. Michael asked for training ideas for the

LDC and more financial training was the common suggestion.


Memorandum to WA

Kenley wrote and presented a draft memo to the WA regarding the money

challenges facing the co-op, the importance of maintaining compliance with

financial policies, and expressing support for their efforts. Board discussion

involved adding language about the board saying this to represent the members,

understanding the potential sacrifices they are considering, having faith in the

WA, and removing the definition of net income since the staff has financial

training. The board agreed for Kenley to deliver the memo at the next WA

leadership meeting.




D.8 BSL Continuity Policy Monitoring Report and D.10 Electronic Communication

Policy Monitoring Report

Marcus mentioned the lack of a calendaring/event subscription system on the

website was a members communications issue. Kenley moved to adopt both

reports, Cole seconded, vote passed 7-0-0.


Ops Update

Nicole reported that there was no MISO update. The anniversary party was a big

success. The co-op earned almost as much that day as during a peak SXSW day,

lots of members participated, and several new ones joined.


Systems Audit Committee

Kenley reported on the committee's proposed changes. The board agreed the

language was much improved. Kenley moved to adopt the edits, John seconded,

vote passed 7-0-0.


Adjourn at 1:53.

September 2015 Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

Black Star Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

DATE: September 20, 2015

LOCATION: Arts + Labor



ATTENDING DIRECTORS: Michael Handy, Charles Hueter, Annelies Lottman, Kenley Maddux, Joe Silva, and John Vinson



Public Comments



Consent Agenda and Action Item Review

Kenley and Annelies moved to add D.7 Planning and Budgeting to the agenda, Michael moved to add stock repurchase discussion, Ann B.6 Board Committees. Kenley moved to adopt as amended, SOMEONE seconds, vote passed 6-0-0.


A.4 Worker Treatment Policy Monitoring Report

Submitted and declared in compliance by Nicole.  The board discussed some details about staff turnover, most of which were in kitchen and pub team.  Kenley moved to adopt, Michael seconded, vote passed 6-0-0.


Operations Update

Nicole reported that live music is still in the early stages but shows promise.  Distribution sales are healthy, a loyalty rewards program might launch as early as October, the staff are waiting on permits for the patio shade project, and the co-op was well-represented at the Great American Beer Festival.


Leadership Development Committee Update

Michael reported the there are four candidates running and all are eligible.  John might be able to fill in temporarily if needed from January he said he is not likely to run again., maybe give M-O board discount for helping with board stuff and volunteering.


Adding 0.0 Policies to Calendar

Ann was concerned about the utility of the idea, whether we'd always say in compliance if the sub policies are all in compliance, maybe monitor them at the end of the board year, Ken suggests delegating to Nicole a calendar for future discussion.


System Audit Committee Update

Cole was not present but the current project should be complete and needs verification.  Nicole will take feedback from Ken and base further action on CDS suggestions.


2016 Board Roles and Committees

No volunteers for president at this time, so everyone will get trained as a backup and also get Survey Monkey training.  At the new board seating meeting, the board will discuss and assign the additional roles identified by the board to be filled: creating the board packet, tracking action items, direct volunteering, annual report creation, and timekeeper.





Internal Session

Kenley moved to enter internal session at 1:28, SOMEONE seconds, vote passed 6-0-0. The board discussed the D.7 Planning and Budgeting and D.4 Financial Condition monitoring reports, the 2016 budget, and heard an update from Nicole on MISO operations.  SOMEONE moved to accept the , Annelies seconds, vote passed 6-0-0.  D7.3 major noncompliance, using best assumptions and historical data but the budgeting was wrong and need to be more conservative.  D4.4 change interpretation to 3-5%.  Q4 possible time for M-O card info harvesting.  Kenley moved to adopt D.7, Michael seconded, vote passed 6-0-0.

D4.3 and D4.4 noncompliance and things being triedD4.1 debt to equity is low.  D4 quick ratio of 1is ideal, WA recommended to up the average cash balance in savings account. 

Talked about loan progress.  Kenley moved to adopt, Joe seconded, vote passed 6-0-0.  Internal session ended at 2:55pm.


Annelies moved to adjourn 3:03pm, Charles seconded, vote passed 6-0-0.

July 2015 Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

DATE: July 19, 2015

LOCATION: Arts + Labor


ATTENDING DIRECTORS: Michael Handy, Charles Hueter, Scott Kelley, Annelies Lottman, Kenley Maddux, Cole Noppenberg, Joe Silva,and John Vinson



Public Comments



Consent Agenda and Action Item Review

Dana said the Board needed to ratify the recent Board Staff Liaison election results where Nicole Reneaux (BSL) and Chris Byram (backup) were re-elected.  Annelies asked to remove the B.6 Board Committees report from the consent agenda because the report was not received.  Joe found a typo with the June minutes where WA was used instead of MA.  Kenley moved to accept the consent agenda with these three changes, Scott seconded, vote passed 8-0-0.


Proposed Policy Changes

The board had no comment on the changes proposed for B.4.3 Board Officers or B.5 Directors' Responsibilities and Code of Conduct.  Ann and Scott suggested keeping the language from B.6.4 Board Committees.  The board discussed the language in the B and C policies in relation to committee authorityAnnelies thinks deleting C.4 is fine but wanted to go on the record that an uninteresting report is still worth having if it is useful or provides context later.  Scott moved to accept the proposals with the modification to keep B.6.4, Cole seconded, vote passed 8-0-0.


March Minutes Quick Vote

Kenley moved to adopt the March minutes, Michael seconded, Annelies and Scott abstained, vote passes 6-0-2.


B.4 Policy Monitoring Report

Kenley will follow up with his president's responsibilities document in an e-mail the next week.  Scott offers to facilitate once he's off the board.  Cole will work harder on the policy manual updates and Charles with stay connected with him on it's progress. 


MISO Discussion

Kenley will adjust the factual corrections brought up by the WA in e-mail discussions.  The board discussed how to set expectations in the letter for member-investors; some directors were uncertain about sending a letter.  Michael moved to table the discussion until after the internal session on MISO financial details, Kenley seconded, vote passed 8-0-0.  The board agreed to leave current language as-is for new language for future MISO programs.


Internal Session

Scott moved to enter internal session at 12:43, Kenley seconded, vote passed 8-0-0.  The board discussed the D.6 Customer Treatment and Service policy monitoring report, the WA Operations Update, details on financing patio improvements, and specific MISO put-right requests.  Kenley moved to accept the D.6 report, Scott seconded, vote passed 8-0-0.  Kenley moved to authorize the WA to take out a loan not to exceed $30k, Annelies seconded, vote passed 8-0-0.  Kenley moved to approve a resolution from the board to the WA to process the three current requests in the order they were received, Ann seconded, vote passed 8-0-0.  Internal session ended at 1:49pm.


BREAK at 1:50


Member Extravaganza Wrap-up

The attending directors reported a good turnout.  Discussion at the extravaganza focused on running for the board.


Board Retreat Planning

Annelies suggests Schlitterbahn, Taos Co-op, Wheatsville, or Cooperation Texas and she will scout further.  The board's topics will include patronage, board confidentiality, expansion, state of the Austin beer scene, and member engagement and the date was scheduled for August 8.  Joe and Charles offered to grab the morning's sustenance.


Leadership Development Committee

Michael will take over the chair and Joe will remain involved.  The committee reported that the election schedule was firming up, a newsletter article will be drafted, and discussed opportunities for candidates to come to an orientation session.  Four members are interested in running for the three board slots open.


Kenley moved to adjourn at 2:33pm, Annelies seconded, vote passed 8-0-0.

Resolution 22 - 2014 Member-Investor Share Dividend

Whereas, the expenses of the Co-op grew faster than income in 2014;

and Whereas, the Workers' Assembly and its accountant concur that there are no net savings for 2014;

Therefore, it is resolved that there shall be no dividend paid on Member Investor Shares for 2014;

Furthermore, there shall be no money set aside for an education or general welfare fund;

and Furthermore, there shall be no rebate paid on member patronage for 2014. 

Adopted June 28, 2015.

Motion approved 2-0-6. 

June 2015 Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

Black Star Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

DATE: June 28, 2015

LOCATION: Arts + Labor


ATTENDING DIRECTORS: Steve Basile, Michael Handy, Charles Hueter, Scott Kelley, Annelies Lottman, Kenley Maddux, Cole Noppenberg, John Vinson

ATTENDING CO-OP STAFF: Nicole Renaux, Travis, Amy, Vinny, Mike, Justin, Rye, Rachel,

Public Comments

Amy is happy to be here! 

Consent Agenda and Action Item Review

Kenley moved to put policy monitoring reports A.3 Environmental Sustainability, C.4 Monitoring the Workers’ Assembly Performance, and D.5 Asset Protection on the consent agenda, Scott seconded, vote passed 8-0-0.  Kenley moved to strike internal session details from the May minutes and then accept then, Annelies seconded, vote passed 8-0-0.  Charles and Cole will finalize and turn in the minutes from March and April for board approval and public posting.  The board agreed to put the report required by Board Policy Bylaw B.5.9 in the annual Members' Assembly report and will follow up on the process and details for this in the next board meeting.

MISO and Investment Share Changes Discussion

According to the Co-op Bylaws Conflicts of Interest, Steve, Charles, Scott, Kenley, Cole, and John are conflicted directors who own member-investor shares.  The board agreed to not declare a MISO dividend for 2014.  Michael moved to announce this to the investors, Annelies seconded, they voted for it and the six conflicted directors abstained, vote passed 2-0-6.

Michael and Scott expressed concerns about new investor agreement language regarding how the board might set the interest rate.  The board talked about two possibilities within the 8% legal maximum: pegging it to a published benchmark or declaring it within a standard range at board discretion.  Steve thought the existing language was still very usable with just a few tweaks and Annelies stressed to consider how patronage rebates would impact dividends going forward.  Kenley moved to table the discussion to let the Finance Committee research it, (second not recorded), vote passed 8-0-0. 

Consent was reached that an investor bonus program would be an appropriate addition to the MISO program and an investor communication plan should be prioritized.  Discussion included crafting the board's position on a letter, maintaining clear record keeping, and the overall feasibility of a bonus.  The board agreed to vote on the final language over e-mail.  John may own conflicted shares and will abstain per the bylaws if so.

B.5 Director Responsibilities and Code of Conduct Policy Monitoring Report

Joe submitted the report and it indicated two areas the board indicated non-compliance: B.5.6: “Individual Directors shall maintain confidentiality as needed to protect the Coop’s interests and financial viability” and B.5.9: “Directors will annually report to the member-owners on their adherence to this policy”.  The board talked about these issues, the need to define what they mean, and agreed to bring them up in a future meeting. 

BREAK for 12:45

Justin and Rie departed during the break. 

Internal Session

Kenley moved to enter internal session at 12:54 and to allow the Co-op staff to attend if they desired, Cole seconded, vote passed 8-0-0.  The remaining staff attended the internal session.  The board discussed the D.5 Asset Protection policy monitoring report, the Workers' Assembly Operations Update, pending MISO put-right requests, and financing patio improvements.  Scott moved to let the Workers' Assembly respond to the outstanding put-right requests, Kenley seconded, vote passed 8-0-0.  Kenley moved to accept a bid to improve the patio improvements, Michael seconded, vote passed 8-0-0.  Kenley moved to adopt the D.5 report, Cole seconded, vote passed 8-0-0.  Internal session ended at 1:41.

Annelies and all remaining staff except Nicole departed after the internal session.

WA Meeting Wrap-up

The directors liked the format and how well the event worked.  Steve will summarize the post-its generated from the membership. In the future, the board agreed to have more interactive elements for the member-owners who attend.

Member Involvement

Kenley talked about a member's concern about giving too much power to the WA compared to the board.  The directors talked about an increase in charitable opportunities to offer more member involvement.  A Member-Owner Extravaganza was scheduled June 29.

Officer Training and Backups

The board discussed compliance problems with the previous B.4 Board Officers policy monitoring report.  Scott reminded the board that the previous President, Erin O'Bryant, created a packet and list for these needs.  Kenley will find it and circulate it for continued board comment.

Kenley moved to adjourn at 2:17, Charles seconded, vote passed 8-0-0.

March Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

DATE: March 22, 2015

LOCATION: Arts + Labor 


ATTENDING DIRECTORS: Michael Handy, Charles Hueter, Kenley Maddux, Cole Noppenberg, Joe Silva, John Vinson

ATTENDING CO-OP STAFF: Andy Martinec, Nicole Renaux, and Eric Swensen


 Consent Agenda and Action Item Review

Kenley asked for agenda item changes on pushing worker remuneration discussion to April, added discussion of Lori Kline’s share repurchase, added discussion of Cole's KOOP donation idea, added discussion of Austin Cooperative Business Association, and added discussion of the annual report. Joe moved to accept the amended agenda, Michael seconded, vote passed 6-0-0.

 Systems Audit Committee Updates

Cole moved to accept updates without changes, no seconds. Nicole and Kenley explained some of the changes to visitors. Kenley moves to accept with syntax and typo corrections, Michael seconded, vote passed 6-0-0.  Cole will help with cleanup.

Board Training

Nicole handed out income statements, balance sheets, and explained the items on them and how they are used to analyze the coop's operations.  Annelies (via Kenley) and Joe suggested brewing and pub team training.

Kenley moved to go into internal session at 12:46, Charles seconded, vote passed 6-0-0.  Internal Session ends at 1:12

BREAK at 1:12pm.  Eric left during break

Vision Discussion

The board discussed the grid of ideas from the board retreat in January.  Significant discussion followed on how to prioritize the vision items and who would steward the items to completion. 

 Member-Owner Extravaganza

Steve will be asked to supply a topic by e-mail.  Michael, John, Joe were planning to go.  Michael will contact Steve for details and assistance.

Spring Members’ Assembly Meeting

Nicole said the consultant suggested the Annual Report be utilized as a marketing tool in addition to informative and she listed out a variety of ideas for articles.  Directors and staff then volunteered and suggested who could write them.

Austin Co-op Summit

Black Star will be well-represented with directors and staff.  Kenley moved to have the board vote for all candidates on the ballot, Cole seconded, vote passed 5-0-1, John abstained.

 Board Process Discussion

Kenley related the consultant's opinion on the board’s minutes and the board discussed aiming for concise records of board action.  Nicole discussed how writing articles has worked so far and the board talked about ways to improve the process.  No action was reported on extravaganza and facilitator search.  More board action to-dos will be included in future agendas and the board liked the revised scheduling process.

 Kenley moved to adjourn at 2:36pm, Michael seconded, vote passed 6-0-0.


May 2015 Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

Black Star Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

DATE: May 17, 2015

LOCATION: Arts + Labor


ATTENDING DIRECTORS: Michael Handy, Charles Hueter, Scott Kelley, Annelies Lottman, Kenley Maddux, Cole Noppenberg, Joe Silva, John Vinson

ATTENDING CO-OP STAFF: Nicole Renaux, Larry Watson, 

OTHERS ATTENDING: Beth Beutel and Amy (last name not recorded)

Consent Agenda and Action Item Review

Michael moved to pull the B.4 Board Officers policy monitoring report off the consent agenda due to compliance issues.  Kenley moved to pull the April minutes off the consent agenda due to additional changes needed.  Scott moved to accept the consent agenda with the changes, (second not recorded), vote passed 8-0-0.

B.4 Board Officers Policy Monitoring Report

Scott submitted the report and considered the board out of compliance despite positive ratings.  Kenley commented that a procedure does not exist for presidential succession and the topic ought to be revisited after MA.  The board reached consensus that a statement should be posted to the website when there are no minutes to post, such as when the board does not meet.  The board agreed to remonitor in August after further discussion and responsibilities assignment.  Kenley moved to adopt the report, seconded by Annelies, vote passed 8-0-0.

Board Minutes Discussion

Cole said he would amend the minutes to correct some attendance inaccuracies.  The board discussed the balance between too much information in the minutes that can bog down readability and going beyond bare-bones essentials.  Consent was reached to aim for a slimmer read.  

Systems Audit Committee Proposed Policy Updates

Kenley and Annelies submitted the report, and she had concerns about the overall length of the policy language.  Charles suggested the committee use one formatting method to note which language should be removed and which language should be added.  Regarding D.11 Allocation of Net Savings, Joe said the Workers' Assembly duty to "report" net savings wasn't specific enough.  Regarding B.4 Board Officers, Scott was concerned about how the board could make it enforceable. Consent was reached that board minutes should reflect policy changes.  Scott moved to accept the updates, Kenley seconded, vote passed 8-0-0.

Charles moved to enter Internal Session at 12:34, Kenley seconded, vote passed 8-0-0.

Internal Session

The board discussed the D.4 Financial Condition monitoring report and Workers' Assembly Operations Update.  Internal session ended at 1:01.  Kenley moved to accept the D.4 report, Cole seconded, vote passes 8-0-0.


Follow up report for cash on hand, Nicole reported improvement but not enough for compliance.  Net income also not in compliance.  Michael asked about March and whether revised operations will result in a permanent bump.  Reunumeration discussion.  Cole asked about marketing opportunities in specific areas and art commissions.  Asked about live music, Nicole thinks the WA is ready to step up for someone to take the lead on it.  Asked about Geeks Who Drink, replied its hard to test changes in revenue because cancelling once kills the experiement. K moves to adopt, Cole seconds, unaimous

Ops Update

Nicole was courted by lender who might help with expansion.  Non-beer sales are up.  June price increase $0.25 across the board.  Issues continuing with Flood, going to keg fleet to help compensate.  Joe asked for clarification for cost of labor hour change.

1:01 left internal session, D4 report/Ops Update

A.1 Patron Experience Policy Monitoring Report

Co-op staff member Macy Gehring submitted the report.  The board discussed some concerns about the WA's plan and whether they think it is working.  Nicole said the WA feels things are turning around and many of the plans such as staff training and awning improvements will need time to take effect.  The board asked the meeting's guests for input and none had additional comments.  Kenley moved to accept the report, Michael seconded, vote passed 8-0-0.

BREAK for 1:12

Member Survey Results

Nicole presented the survey results, which were strongly positive and offered constructive feedback.  Overall, the survey indicated member-owners are seeking more benefits and are not widely aware of a few ends policies.  Tthe board discussed how to connect member-owners to events and improve communication with the board.

Net Profit and MISO Dividend Discussion

The board agreed to draft a resolution announcing no net savings and therefore no MISO dividend this year.  Consensus was reach that the vote will be over e-mail once drafts are circulated.


Spring Members' Assembly Planning

The board liked that the meeting packet went out early.  Discussion focused to how to work with a hypothetical wave of members wanting to put right their MISO after hearing about recent financial difficulties.  The agenda, time slots, and speakers were all finalized.  Directors were encouraged to attend early to help with set-up. 

Patronage Update

Nicole reported on the status of the patronage system.  The vendor, NCR, was not at all helpful.  The new cards, however, were working and will have much greater capability.  The board liked the progress and hoped the cards would get into member-owner hands soon.

Kenley moved to adjourn, (second not recorded), vote passed 8-0-0.

April 2015 Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

Black Star Board of Directors Meeting Minutes
DATE: April 28, 2015
LOCATION: Arts + Labor

ATTENDING DIRECTORS: Michael Handy, Kenley Maddux, Cole Noppenberg, Joe Silva, John Vinson
ATTENDING CO-OP STAFF: Stephanie, Nicole, and Brenna.

Consent Agenda
Item B3 Compliance Report pulled off from Agenda.
Vote initiated to accept the Agenda:  7 in favor, 0 against, 0 abstaining.
Discussion of B3 Compliance Report; Board Members requested verbatim comments from Compliance Poll in future Compliance Reports.  Vote initiated to accept B3 Compliance Report: 6 in favor, 0 against, 1 abstaining.

History of Cooperatives
John presented the history of the Co-op Movement, Rochedale Pioneers, troughs of reduced activity in co-ops during economic prosperity, peaks of cooperative action during hard times.
The impact of membership growth, the founding charter and how it changes over decades, and our commitment to paying a living wage are discussed.

Policy Revisions to B3
Kenley presented revisions to B3.8.6.  Scott moved to accept the revisions, Steve B seconded.  Vote: 8 in favor, 0 against, 0 abstaining.

Patronage Refund and Loyalty Tracking
The Board addressed patronage, taxation of funds, minimum percentages allocated, and loyalty tracking.

Internal Session starting at 1:02pm
Cole moved to enter Internal Session for the purpose of D3 Monitoring Report, Q1 Finances, and the Treasury Shares Program.  Kenley second.  Vote is 8 in favor, 0 against, 0 abstaining.  Internal session ended at 2:03pm.
The D3 Report was adopted during Internal Session with a vote of 8 in favor, 0 against, 0 abstaining.

Net Savings D11
Kenley unveiled new policy language D11.  The definition of net savings was discussed, along with some of the ramifications and uses of net savings.  The Board agreed to cast the policy into negating, limiting language and add D11.4.1.3 to outline patronage.
The Board voted to adopt D11 with 8 in favor, 0 dissenting, and 0 abstaining.

Topics for Newsletter and Members' Assembly
Newsletter and Members' Assembly topics were outlined, including History of the Co-op, Member Frequency, Ends Fulfillment, Financial Report, and Expansion Survey Results.  The Board also called for updates to the Committee calendars.

Marcus (guest) announced that he will run for Board of Directors this year.
Nicole pointed out the need for candidate recruitment starting in May.

The Board agreed to meet May 17th and June 28th.

February 2015 Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

Black Star Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

DATE: February 15, 2015

LOCATION: Arts + Labor

 CALL TO ORDER: 12:10pm

ATTENDING DIRECTORS: Steve Basile, Michael Handy, Charles Hueter, Scott Kelley, Annelies Lottmann, Kenley Maddux, Cole Noppenberg, Joe Silva, John Vinson




 Scott moved to accept the agenda, Steve seconded, 9-0-0 in favor.

Scott wished directors would put comments down into policy monitoring reports when directors mark anything other than “completely in compliance” to increase the usefulness of the reports.

 No committee updates.  Steve said March 30 is set for Member-Owner Extravaganza. Kenley asked committees to submit a planning calendar for the larger board to have for review.  Annelies said she will not schedule committee updates in the agenda unless committees come to her with items for discussion.


Policy Monitoring A.1.

Annelies moved to accept, Scott seconded.  Before the board vote, Nicole discussed the out of compliance ratings for Patron Experience and the plans the business team have to achieve compliance in a month.  Kenley moved to amend the motion to remonitor in April, Joe seconded, 9-0-0 in favor.  Nicole then discussed sound improvements and the potential addition of TVs to the pub space and additional staff training.  The board discussed the metrics of the Patron Experience report and how tough it can be to shift an overall customer experience rating once hundreds of ratings are in the system.  Annelies called the vote on the original motion, vote passes 8-0-1.  Charles abstained because he did read the report.


MISO discussion.

Kenley provided an overview of what the Member Investment Share Offering (MISO) was designed to do and the discussion included how dividends are decided by the board, how the board deals with conflicted directors, how put right requests are handled, and the possibility of using a new MISO for expansion.  Significant discussion covered how interest rates ought to be set and the benchmarks used to determine them as well as a hypothetical walk-through of the co-op’s ability to honor put-right requests and make future offerings. 

BREAK at 1:06pm

9-0-0 vote for internal session (mover and seconder not recorded).  Internal session ends at 1:45pm.  Annelies moved to accept the D.4. monitoring report, Michael seconded, vote passes 9-0-0.

BREAK at 1:46pm

Board Process Discussion

Kenley proposed limited but regular updates from the systems audit committee for board policy revisions.  The board talked about best ways to work through policy updates and how to collaborate on them.  Cole will take ownership of publishing updates to the board’s internal systems.  Kenley discussed his effort to be a facilitator this meeting and asked for feedback on his attempt to offer a structured space for everyone to contribute.

 Scott said his experience shows parliamentary procedure works best in large groups and that Kenley had spoken quite a bit more this meeting.  Steve said the process up to now has worked pretty well. Joe, as devil’s advocate, warned the board not to rely too much on its friendliness always being the basis for effective communication and that some structure helps.  Annelies commented that a rotating facilitator might be a good option if an outside facilitator is not possible.  Steve strongly supported a dedicated timekeeper.  The directors indicated they wish for an outside facilitator.  John expressed concern about adding lots of extra voting to situations where consensus is not reached by the board and putting the topic on the next meeting is proposed.  Cole said he saw the board proposing three ways to work (formal procedure, facilitation, and straightforward board votes) and that a balance could be had.  Charles brought up the consequences of breaking internal procedures and how to deal with the “mistakes” such breaks would create.  Annelies asked if the schedule could be allotted in number of minutes rather than specific clock times.  Nicole noted how a specific desired outcome helps in Workers’ Assembly meetings.  Scott said bringing up time issues should be brought up at the consent agenda.

 The board reached consensus on Annelies’s suggestion on timekeeping.  Steve and Nicole took responsibility for a facilitator search.


Members’ Assembly Scheduling

Members had suggested shifting the MA to different seasons in Austin, such as June-November.  Nicole was concerned about getting useful financial statements to the meeting in time.  John said he would research possible issues with taxes, certificate of formation, and other hurdles.  The board reached consensus on keeping the current schedule.


Calendar Review

March meeting will be on the 22nd at noon.

April meeting will be on the 26th.

May meeting will be on the 17th.

Members’ Assembly will be on May 31st.

 Nicole will do the D.2 report, Steve will do the C.2 report, and Kenley will do the B.2 report. 

 Charles will do a board retreat newsletter article, Steve will do a recap of the House That Beer Built, and John will do an April article

Annelies moves to adjourn, Kenley seconded, vote passes 9-0-0.

November 2014 Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

November 16, 2014 Meeting 11:00 a.m.

Directors Present: Erin O., Kenley M., John V. Annelies L., Steve B., Charles H., Scott K., Joe S.

Also present: Nicole Renaux, Michael Handy, Cole Noppenberg

Consent Agenda: October 2014 Minutes, B.9 Report, B.11 Report. KM moves to adopt without B.9; SB seconds. Motion carries 7-0-1.

Seating of new members: KM moves to ratify election results; AL seconds. Motion carries 8-0-0. 

JS and Michael Handy to serve 3-year terms. Cole Noppenberg to serve 1-year term.

EO leaves meeting.

Election of Board Officers: KM nominated President. Elected 8-0-1. CH nominated Secretary. Elected 8-0-1.

Election of Committee Chairs: JV nominated to chair Finance Committee. Elected 8-0-1. SB nominated to chair Outreach Committee. Elected 8-0-1. Joe nominated to chair Leadership Development. Elected 8-0-1.

Discussion of Board Process. AL will prepare packets. SK will record and review action items. MH will do board monitoring surveys. We will find a job for Cole.

B.9 Report: KM moves to adopt. SK seconds. Motion carries 9-0-0.


CH leaves meeting.

A.5 Report: KM moves to adopt. AL seconds. Motion carries 8-0-0.

SB moves to enter internal session to discuss D.4, D.9, Operations Update. AL seconds. Motion carries 8-0-0.

October 2014 Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

Present: Erin, Kenley, John V, Joe, Annelies, Nicole, Cole, Charles

Consent Agenda: Move to adopt w/ two changes to September minutes: no decision on keeping current consultant, and "HUETER"

JV moves to adopt, Charles seconds, 6-0-0

Membership Linkage Committee: Elections are live. Everything is set for meeting other than arrangements for vote counting. 

Board Outreach Committee: House that Beer Built going well. 

Finance Committee: No meeting. 

Systems Audit Committee: Plans to continue to meet and finish the policy revision proposals. 

Discussion of Board Officers: Discussion of official duties versus traditional duties. Kenley would prefer someone else to take over Secretary role. It is not a "natural" role for him. Erin is not going to be on the Board next year. Kenley is willing to take over President, with caveat that he may be lacking sleep for one or more meetings. Erin thinks the President should be someone with at least one year of past experience. Nicole suggests that the WA rotates roles of minute taking, facilitation, so maybe the Board could rotate some roles as well. Annelies volunteers to assemble the Board packet for November. Minutes take roughly 30 minutes per month. Do we need a treasurer? Is it the Finance Committee chair? Or does the WA do most of it? Charles is willing to be an officer. Nobody knows if Scott or Steve is interested in either role. 

Discussion of MA meeting planning: Member comments at the beginning, but no time allotted. Discussion of vision exercise. 

Break. Cole leaves. Annelies checks on her chicken. 

Erin moves to enter internal session to discuss budget, business plan, operations update, D8 and D10. Annelies Seconds. Motion carries, 6-0-0. 

Exit internal session. Annelies moves to approve D8 and D10. Second by Erin. Motion carries 6-0-0. 

Next meeting agenda. 

B.9 - Steve

B.11 - Charles

Vision Discussion Wrap-Up

This is going to be a long post, but I hope everyone reads it to the end and offers comments either below or through info@blackstar.coop or board@blackstar.coop.  The workers and the Board want to be responsive to your preferences as member-owners, and that can only happen if we have a clear idea of what those preferences are.

On Sunday, October 26th, we held our Fall Members’ Assembly Meeting and spent a significant amount of time talking about the basic values, innovations, and means of expanding into a second location.  This portion of the meeting was organized around the Co-op's Ends Policies, or end goals of the Co-op, known as the Five Points of the Black Star: Patron Experience, Community Involvement, Environmental Sustainability, Worker Treatment, and Financial Development.

The board asked members to write down new ideas, improvements, and even things to stop doing in regards to each policy.  After everyone had a chance to circulate among the Ends and talk amongst themselves, we collected the poster boards and recorded the submissions.  After mild editing for space and clarity, here they are under each Point and grouped into similar topics:

Patron Experience

  • Example: Sell Beer at Grocery Stores*
  • Change to a different Members Assembly cycle, such as during the summer or closer to dinner
  • More diet and diabetic options
  • Additional tap service – not just 2**
  • Better promotion of daily specials*
  • Dedicated styles like 2 IPA taps or 2 ESBs
  • Bring Beer and Bar Nuts back*
  • Chili!
  • Worker Nametags; 1st name only, get to know them better!*
  • Member-Owner Nametags*
  • Add space for a music venue / Live music
  • Add something like Square to the Point of Sale system so more people can pour and charge for drinks
  • Brewery Tours**
  • Noise control is still a big problem / Continue the sound-proof efforts, cushions on seats maybe? / Acoustic treatments to reduce ambient background noise*****
  • Include equipment members could use to brew their own beer
  • Member-Owner Line for faster service we know what we want vs new people who want to sample and try stuff first

Community Involvement

  • Example: Large meeting/private space*
  • Brewery Tours****
  • Black Star Bowling and Dart teams
  • Competition between first and second locations to help fundraising, possibly for different charities
  • Bar Nuts for Charity
  • Happy hours for local businesses
  • Be more involved in the neighborhood; “Crestview Park Now” or do charitable work with Friends of Brentwood Park
  • Hold periodic promotional events in Austin neighborhoods**
  • School partnerships/sponsorships for teacher events and neighborhoods

Environmental Sustainability

  • Example: Solar Panels*********
  • Wind Power
  • Drone fleet to transfer product between facilities
  • Use a facility that's already built, no new developments***
  • Nifty efficiencies in the brewing system like recaptured steam or condensation that could be used to water plants or mashing techniques that use the grain better
  • Visit/research what New Belgium Brewery is doing
  • Spent grain could be reusable or recycled into backed goods, animal food, electric smoker pellets, etc.*
  • Sustainable or local hops?*
  • Water conservation when brewing
  • Design low water landscaping***
  • How about rain water collection?*****
  • Imagine a “public” garden open to member-owners donate a portion of their produce in exchange for using the garden*
  • Public Recycling Day, including batteries and foam*
  • Paper or compostable ketchup cups instead of plastic (already are!)
  • Go for LEED again, please**

Worker Treatment

  • Example: Profit Sharing
  • Publicize what we are doing for workers**
  • Employee Stock Purchase Plan****
  • Investor shares via pay deductions**
  • Create a sabbatical program for employees w/ X years of service; 90-180 days off w/pay to invest personal time in co-op development
  • Paid parental leave for both parents****
  • How much flexibility do employees have to do their schedules?
  • Professional Development***
  • Up the hourly wage to $15 with a time frame for periodic evaluation
  • On-site or Subsidized Day Care**
  • Tuition Reimbursement*
  • Supplemental Insurance*

Financial Development

  • Example: Pay a Patronage Refund*****
  • Do not pay a patronage refund.  Remove it from the Ends policy and instead dedicate that % of revenue to an employee fund for education/travel/etc,**
  • Kiosk for sign-up or membership sales (like an ATM)
  • Gift Cards (already are!)
  • Push merchandise more
  • Spent grain dog biscuits or smoke pellets
  • More merchandise?  Backpacks?  Put them on Zazzle to they can be ordered online
  • 2nd location in south/southwest Austin will increase membership/patronage/profit for other “points of the star”
  • Instead of a full kitchen at a 2nd location, start a BSC Food Truck that can serve the new tap room & go to other places to increase visibility of BSC brand.******
  • Central Market or Whole Foods cooking classes
  • Paid consulting services to co-op brewpub hopefuls around the world*
  • Additional opportunities to invest**

One or more asterisks (*) means that number of additional people noted their support for the idea and italicized text means the idea was mentioned in another Point.  Two items mentioned are things we already do: sell gift cards and use sustainable ketchup cups.

One way to look at these ideas is to seek consistent themes among them and decide if there are a few high-value ideas that translate into Ends policies.  Another way to look at the results is those suggestions with most intense member-owner support should be considered, if they make good business sense.  If we combine similar ideas and rank them, we get this top 10 list of ideas with at least four backers each:

  1. Solar panels
  2. Noise control is still a big problem / Continue the sound-proof efforts, cushions on seats maybe? / Acoustic treatments to reduce ambient background noise
  3. Instead of a full kitchen at a 2nd location, start a BSC Food Truck that can serve the new tap room & go to other places to increase visibility of BSC brand
  4. Brewery tours
  5. Pay a patronage refund
  6. How about rain water collection?
  7. Paid parental leave for both parents
  8. Employee stock purchase plan
  9. Professional development
  10. Use a facility that's already built, no new developments

Let’s  continue the discussion here. Given our five Ends policy points and with a focus on things we could do at a second location, what do you think? What would you like to see the Co-op doing?

2014 Fall Members' Assembly Meeting Wrap-Up

On Sunday, October 26th, we held our Fall Members’ Assembly Meeting, which concluded the voting period for the new Board of Directors and the four non-profit organizations to support in the upcoming year. We had 5 great candidates running for 4 available seats on the Board of Directors, and a slate of 20 local non-profits.

Here are your newly-elected Directors:

  • Joe Silva
  • Charles Hueter
  • Michael Handy
  • Cole Noppenberg

We look forward to working with the following organizations in 2015:

Congratulations, everyone!

The Board would like to thank everyone for running, and it would especially like to express its deep gratitude to the out-going directors: Erin O'Bryant and Johnny Livesay. These Directors have greatly contributed to the Co-op during their service on the Board, and their contributions will have long-term positive effects on Black Star for years to come.

During our meeting we heard from the Annual Report Review Committee, were updated by the Workers’ Assembly on the Co-op’s operations, and discussed our expansion plans. The membership approved three changes to the bylaws. Lastly, member-owners participated in a vision discussion about how our Ends might grow in conjunction with our expansion to a second location. Check out the wrap-up on the vision discussion here. If you have any questions about the meeting, please contact us at board@blackstar.coop.

September 2014 Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

Call to order at 11:03. 


Johnny Livesay (D)

John Vinson (D)

Charles Hueter (D)

Erin O'Bryant (D)

Kenley Maddux (D)

Joe Silva (D)

Nicole Renaux (BSL)

Chris Byram (Alternate BSL)

Christa Kimmel Zufelt

Chris Worker

Cole Hammel


Scott Kelley enters at 11:06


Consent Agenda

Kenley moves to adopt

Johnny seconds

Motion carries 7-0-0.


Board Outreach Committee

Report by Charles: Extravaganza went well. Lots of interest in House that Beer Built. Good attendance. 


Finance Committee

Did not meet. Has addressed Board budget. Will review proposed co-op budget. 


Membership Linkage Committee

There are five candidates for four seats. Election is live. Committee needs to meet regarding tallying process and rules. 


A.4 Report. Although one survey suggested marginal compliance, there were no comments. 

Kenley moves to adopt report. 

Scott seconds. 

Motion carries 7-0-0. 


Discussion of Worker Remuneration policies. 

Systems Audit Committee has proposed new language fro D.3. 

Annelies enters at 11:25. 

Discussion of flexibility to retain advanced workers, grow workforce. 

Discussion of "cause or allow" language. Kenley would like to keep it. 

With changes, Board will retain ability to monitor and govern total worker remuneration. This is inherent in Board role, and included in B and C policies. 

Erin moves to adopt proposed revision, with "Cause or Allow" language retained. 

Kenley seconds. 

Motion carries 8-0-0. 


Internal session.

Kenley moves to enter internal session to discuss D.7 report, Board budget, and operations update, with guests invited to stay. 

Johnny seconds. 

Motion carries 8-0-0. 

Board leaves internal session at 12:35 p.m.


D.7 Report. 

Annelies moves to adopt. 

John seconds. 

Motion carries 8-0-0. 


Planning for next meeting:

Kenley to monitor B.8. 

Annelies to monitor C.4. 




10/19 - Board meeting. 

10/26 - MA meeting.

11/16 - Board meeting.

12/15 - Extravaganza. 


Scott moves to adjourn. 

Kenley seconds. 

Motion carries 8-0-0.  

August 2014 Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

Board of Directors meeting August 17, 2014

Meeting called to order at 11:03 a.m.


In attendance:

-Directors Erin O'Bryant, Kenley Maddux,

John Vinson, Scott Kelley, Annelies Lottmann, Steve Basile, Joe Silva,

and Charles Heuter

-Assistant Board-Staff Liaison Chris Biram

-Facilitator Christa Zufelt

-Consultant Mark Goehring

-Co-op Member-Owners Greg Conti(?) and Cheryl Govay(?)


Consent Agenda:

Kenley moves to adopt. Second By Steve. Motion carries 8-0-0.


Board Outreach Update:

Extravaganzas calendared. House That Beer Built is proceeding.


Membership Linkage Update:

Timeline for elections established. All directors please recruit candidates.


Bylaws changes for expansion: put on hold pending recommendations from Mark.


Bylaws Changes for Fall Member-Owner Assembly:

1. Change name of "Membership Linkage Committee" to something else.

2. Give the Board flexibility in determining how often to meet.


Internal Session:

Kenley moves to enter internal session to discuss D.4 monitoring and

operations, and to permit guests present to remain throughout the

session. Erin seconds. Motion carries 8-0-0. Internal Session from

11:18 to 11:30.


D.4 Monitoring Report:

Kenley moves to adopt report. Scott seconds. Motion carries 8-0-0.


KSM moves to adjourn. Charles seconds. Motion carries 8-0-0.

It's Time for the 2014 Co-op Elections!

Our 2014 election for the Board of Directors is underway! Meet the candidates and then cast your ballot online or in person at the Co-op. The election continues through the Members' Assembly Meeting on Sunday, October 26th, at 12pm. Our Board elections are conducted by single transferable vote, so the ballot is extremely simple: just rank the candidates in order of preference. 

The following non-profits are currently on the slate for our support in 2014. If there's an organization that you think deserves our co-op's support, there is a write-in option on the ballot. 

Accessible Housing Austin!
Amala Foundation
Animal Trustees of Austin
Austin Children's Shelter
Austin Immigrants Rights Coalition
Austin Pets Alive
Bike Texas
Casa Marinanella
Communities in Schools of Central Texas
Cooperation Texas
Equality Texas
Farmshare Austin
Foundation Communities
Inside Books
Little Helping Hands
Meals on Wheals and More
Safe Place
Sustainable Food Center
Urban Roots

Your 2014 Board of Directors Candidates

Hey Member-Owners, it's Election Time! Every year you have the golden opportunity to vote on the directors who will represent your voice in the management of your co-op. This year there are 4 open seats and 5 candidates running for the Board of Directors. Voting is one of the important ways you can participate in the democratic process. Plus plus, voting is just plain fun!

Below you’ll find the responses for the slate of candidates:

Michael Handy

1. Why are you interested in serving on the Board of Directors of the Co-op?

Black Star is a community and as with any community, the more that each of us put into it, the more that everyone will get out of it whether as an employee, a voting owner, or a board member. Serving on the board of directors is an opportunity for me to give back to the community that I’ve enjoyed being a part of since it opened.

2. What goals would you like to see Black Star Co-op achieve in the next year?  Five years?

In the next year, I want to see Black Star make progress towards duplicating the success of this coop in a second location. The success of Black Star is too great to not copy so that more can experience the magic that we’ve created.

In the next five years, I want to fulfill the goal of patronage refunds. This is a primary duty of a co-op, and we can and should fulfill this expectation to the member-owners that have supported the co-op - hopefully enticing even more to join.

3. What qualities and past experience do you have for serving on the Black Star Co-op Board of Directors?

With almost 15 years of experience as an engineering manager (and many more drinking beer), I have been responsible for budget and financial reports, project and risk management, competitive analysis, and decision making. I helped review the 2013 annual report for Black Star, giving me a bit of insight into the co-op, and I am excited to continue leveraging my management experience to further the principles and success of the co-op.

4. Name one way in which you'd like the Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery to stand out from other local brewpubs.

Brewpubs are a place where you go to drink and eat, but Black Star is much more than that. It already stands out because of the culture created by the involvement of the employees, owners and patrons. Coordinating opportunities to involve ourselves in the community, celebrating with owner and employee events, and being part of creating something special in such a unique cooperative brewpub are just a few of the things that help contribute to Black Star’s unique culture. Continuing and building on this culture is what will continue to distinguish Black Star from other brewpubs.

5. What is your favorite Co-operative Principle and why?

My favorite co-operative principle happens to be the first one. Voluntary and open to everyone gives us a diversity and freedom that many organizations don’t get to experience. People join because they have a love of the food, the beer, the coop or all of the above, and there is nothing better than choosing to be a part of something that you love.

Charles Hueter 

1. Why are you interested in serving on the Board of Directors of the Co-op? 

My day job prevents me from trying my hand at cooking, serving, or brewing in the Workers Assembly, so this is the next best participatory thing I can do!  The Board offered Jeff Young’s seat to me after he resigned so it would be filled for the remainder of his term, and I enjoy the work we do.  The Board is not involved in day-to-day operations, freeing us to look down the longer road.  That perspective and responsibility is where most of my interest lies.

2. What goals would you like to see Black Star Co-op achieve in the next year?  Five years? 

Next year, I would like to see the membership, Workers Assembly, and Board come together on a plan for a second location.  With a viable plan, we open the doors to the membership’s volunteering zeal like we did before we broke ground at Midtown Commons.

In five years, I would like to see membership numbers exceed 6,000, doubling our democratic base and bringing in fresh ideas.  I’d like to see the second location thrive where we can set new goals for a patronage rebate.  I’d also like to see our distribution agreement expand out to more parts of Texas.

3. What qualities and past experience do you have for serving on the Black Star Co-op Board of Directors? 

I have been a Black Star Director since April and a member since the beginning.  My job requires me to problem-solve with a diverse audience and to maintain a longer-term outlook to help my clients stay out of the rough.  I have a strong communications background and a persistent eye cast towards continuous improvement for everything I see.  I work with the Board and staff very well and I want to see the Black Star model succeed and spread.

4. Name one way in which you'd like the Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery to stand out from other local brewpubs. 

Austin’s brewpub scene is increasingly competitive, but the competition is normally focused on the retail side of things.  I think the goodwill and good deeds we built with the cooperative model on top of our fantastic food and beer already sets us head and shoulders apart from other local brewpubs.

5. What is your favorite Co-operative Principle and why? 

The first Principle is my favorite.  Voluntary and open membership is the foundation for everything we do.  There is so much in this world that forces and coerces us into situations we would never choose freely.  Voluntarism recognizes our individual strengths, provides help for our individual weaknesses, and automatically brings people together with similar purposes.  If only more social relations were such!

Cole Noppenberg

1. Why are you interested in serving on the Board of Directors of the Co-op?

I've been passionate about Black Star's goals since before we opened, and I'm delighted with the success we've achieved.  I believe in the democratic nature of cooperatives and the unity they create in communities.  As someone who has been involved with co-ops in a few different industries, I believe my experience in cooperatives and in the private sector have given me insight to successful operation.  And becoming more involved with Black Star is an opportunity I welcome and value.

2. What goals would you like to see Black Star Co-op achieve in the next year?  Five years?

I want beer brewed by Black Star to be distributed more widely.  I want our unique, ecologically responsible brews on tap next to other world class beers, and if a second facility makes that possible, ensuring our venture's success is my short term goal.  In five years, I would not be surprised if Black Star has multiple locations and becomes the preferred brewpub of the Austin community.  A successful co-op competing side by side with pubs that aren't owned and operated by the community they serve will make history and spark change in Texas and beyond.

3. What qualities and past experience do you have for serving on the Black Star Co-op Board of Directors?

I've been involved with co-ops throughout my life.  I served as Vice President of the Buckman cooperative residence at University of Florida, and I've acted as a member of the tech team at KOOP FM 91.7, Austin's community radio station.  My dad founded a food cooperative in New Mexico in the early Eighties.  I'm an entrepreneur who has founded and fostered startups, and I've worked in large corporations too.  I believe these roles have brought me an understanding of the dynamics of successful organizations.

4. Name one way in which you'd like the Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery to stand out from other local brewpubs. 

Black Star is a place where people come to share ideas and build stronger community relationships, and it stands out by hosting events that benefit everyone in Austin.  I'd like to see more charitable and socially-minded events hosted and sponsored by Black Star to the extent that we become known for contributing to Austin -- the public continues to invest in Black Star, and Black Star returns the favor.

5. What is your favorite Co-operative Principle and why?

Principles 7 and 2.  Concern for Community is my favorite principle -- Black Star has earned its commercial success, and it shares this success with the community it represents.  I also strongly believe in the Democratic Member Control demonstrated by Black Star Co-op.  One member, one vote: it's a policy that sets an example for leadership in all endeavors.

Joe Silva

1. Why are you interested in serving on the Board of Directors of the Co-op?

I have had the pleasure of serving on the Board for the past year and have been a member of Black Star Coop since 2009. When I lived in San Jose, California, I was one of 16 founding members of the San Jose Cooperative Brewery & Pub (SJ Brewpub http://sjcoopbrewpub.com/). It was during this time that I really fell in love with the idea of cooperatives and the benefits they have over existing business models. For me, serving on the Board is one way of supporting the Cooperative ideals.

2. What goals would you like to see Black Star Co-op achieve in the next year?  Five years?

  • A second, complementary site is opened
  • The Coop supports other cooperatives and the number of cooperatives in Austin doubles within five years 
  • The Coop continues to fight for the ability of local, independent breweries to compete on a even basis with the national brands.
  • The Coop has a financial plan to reduce its debt and start paying patronage rebates to our member-owners within five years.
  • The Board reviews the processes that it uses to gather input from Coop member-owners and ensure that it is inclusive and provides sufficient guidance as it makes important decisions. 

3. What qualities and past experience do you have for serving on the Black Star Co-op Board of Directors?

As a current Board member, I understand how the Board operates under its policy governance system to represent its member-owners and the Workers Assembly. I’m a founding member and ex-Board Member of the SJ Brewpub which incorporated in February 2013 and now has over 300 members. I have a Masters Degree from UT and have worked in local and state governments. For five years, I was the AISD Assistant Director for Planning Services and was responsible for site selection and acquisition of real estate for AISD facilities - useful experience as Black Star considers a second location.

4. Name one way in which you'd like the Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery to stand out from other local brewpubs.

I would like to see the co-op support and grow the number of home brewers in Austin by continuing to provide the educational sessions. This could be further supported by incorporating some equipment in the second site that our member-owners could use (maybe rent to non-members).Or how about holding a Home Brew Competition as a fundraiser for a local non-profit or cooperative?

5. What is your favorite Co-operative Principle and why?

As you can probably guess from some of my previous answers, I have always liked the “Co-operation through Co-operatives” principal because this really points out the difference of cooperatives as a business model versus the traditional competitive model. Black Star demonstrates that businesses do not need to compete and drive each other out of business in order to succeed. 

Chris Whittaker

1. Why are you interested in serving on the Board of Directors of the Co-op?

I am interested in being a part of a community business that provides unique character to the community of Austin. I love that Austin is about the small business and Black Star Co-op is a cornerstone being employee owned and run. 

2. What goals would you like to see Black Star Co-op achieve in the next year?  Five years?

Black Star Co-op will be a flagship for other co-ops in Austin. Black Star would be partnered with other co-ops mutually supporting other co-ops as a network. Blackstar would expand into other opportunities.

3. What qualities and past experience do you have for serving on the Black Star Co-op Board of Directors?

I have served as Vice President and President of various Alumni and Veteran organizations in roles that included marketing, networking, business development and organizational development. I have 24 years of experience as a veteran of the US Army executing leadership roles and project management jobs. As a new founder of my Austin logistics company, I am well networked in Austin. I have served as Vice President and President of various Alumni and Veteran organizations in roles that included marketing, networking, business development and organizational development. I have 24 years of experience as a veteran of the US Army executing leadership roles and project management jobs. As a new founder of my Austin logistics company, I am well networked in Austin.

4. Name one way in which you'd like the Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery to stand out from other local brewpubs. 

Black Star should be a sponsor at major Austin events and highlighted to major Austin companies as a venue for events. Black Star should partner with other Austin co-ops and businesses and be recognized at such events as South by Southwest and Austin City Limits Music Festival.

5. What is your favorite Co-operative Principle and why?

Principle 7- As a community organization, Black Star should be an integral part of the community and find ways to give back. Such giving back should be creative Austin ways of being part of the community helping those less fortunate. Black Star should sponsor events across the wide spectrum of city events to keep the Austin feeling and help develop the culture.