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2014 Board of Directors Candidates

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December 2, 2013


Randy Bigler

Randy Bigler1. Please describe the skills you possess which would make you an asset as a board member, in dealing with the challenges facing KCBS, and give an example of how those skills would serve the KCBS board of Directors and its membership.

For the past 39 plus years, I have worked for the Federal government and have served on many committees involving problem solving situations. I have been the liaison between varieties of groups. It is this experience I will bring to the board if elected. We need to work together to better serve the membership of KCBS.

As a candidate, I pledge to the membership to calmly listen to all parties on the board and then to rationally work to achieve a solution acceptable to all.

2. If you are a Cook, Judge, Rep or Backyard Cook, please identify the major KCBS issues concerning one of areas in which you are involved. Describe the major issue, your strategies to correct or improve the issue and what you see as the biggest challenge to the success of your plan.

I am a certified KCBS master judge, table captain, contest rep, certified barbecue judge instructor and competitive barbeque cook. Communication between the board and the membership they were voted to represent has been an ongoing issue. As board members we must listen to our members and bring their concerns to the board for clarification or resolution. Cooks, just want the contest to be run by capable, responsible reps that are fair and impartial and take their jobs seriously, yet are not tyrants. I will work with board members to ensure we get the best candidates for rep openings across the country and internationally.

3. Identify your major short term goal and the major long term goal, if elected to the Board of KCBS and your plan to implement change or improvement in order to carry out each of these goals.

My short term goal is to build better communications between organizers, judges, cooks, and contest representatives. Communications is the key to improving the relationship of all parties involved in having a successful contest. My long term goal would be to organize and establish a committee that would act as a kind of "town hall" meeting group throughout the country. This would consist of setting up meetings in a number of areas across the country with several board members, preferably all board members would participate and would rotate, always in attendance to field questions and have quality time to speak to members about their major concerns. Let's set aside our egos and work together for the betterment of this organization.

4. If elected please explain "your level of commitment, time and energy" for committee projects and monthly reports, board meetings and attendance, as well as representing KCBS to the public and being responsive to our members.

I am very proud of my record. Over the last three years, I have only missed 1 board meeting (I was on a cruise!) Before accepting my nomination, When I decided to run again I agreed to set aside the next 3 years to allow me to do all that is necessary. I will use due diligence in attending all KCBS board meetings. I pledge to all those who vote for me, and those who don't, to always represent them at every board meeting. I will do whatever is asked of me to help keep KCBS growing and going in a positive direction.

I rep ten to fifteen sanctioned events a year, and teach 8-10 CBJ classes a year, judge as often as I can. At every opportunity possible, I promote KCBS. I talk to potential organizers though community events, town meetings and social gatherings speaking about sponsoring barbeque events or having a barbeque competition in conjunction with established events in their area. Because I am at barbeque events twenty-five to thirty weekends a year, I get a chance to talk to judges and cooks. I get a pretty good feel as to the general consensus of any given topic.

5. Please describe your previous participation in KCBS activities and years of experience.

I became a KCBS judge in 2000 and a KCBS rep in 2005. I have been cooking on a competitive cooking team since 2001. Although I have no formal culinary education, I have a lengthily and extensive background in the food industry. I started at a local restaurant, where my mother was the manager, when I was fifteen years old. I was instrumental in getting the Master Judges test online, making it much easier for all involved. I will continue to push for improvements to our systems for all our members.

6. Please explain why you want to be a member of the KCBS Board.

If given the chance, I would like to try to be the voice of the general membership. I will be the board member that will keep reminding every one who we are representing. I still have many things I would like to accomplish for our membership. I will work hard for all the members.


Eric Burkhart

bod-eric-burkhart.jpg1. Please describe the skills you possess which would make you an asset as a board member, in dealing with the challenges facing KCBS, and give an example of how those skills would serve the KCBS board of Directors and its membership.

I am Eric "Bubba" Burkhart of Eugene, Missouri. Head cook for Uncle Bub's BBQ LLC - a competitive BBQ team and a member of the Kansas City Barbecue Society. Also, I am a Board of Director and member of Beta Beta Que, which is a local Mid-Missouri BBQ organization. As a competitive cook since 2006, I feel the KCBS Board of Directors needs a representative for the cooks on the Board.

2. If you are a Cook, Judge, Rep or Backyard Cook, please identify the major KCBS issues concerning one of areas in which you are involved. Describe the major issue, your strategies to correct or improve the issue and what you see as the biggest challenge to the success of your plan.

As a competitive cook, the biggest issue that I see and deal with is the whole judging process. I want this to be known that this is not an attack on judges. I think that the majority do an outstanding job--plain and simple. The new score program that KCBS instituted in July 2013 gives the cooks a lot of new information that was not there in the past - some good and some bad. Do I want to scrap what we have now? NO, but some things can be improved upon and must be improved upon for the growth of the KCBS. I hope that if elected, I can improve the whole judging process for the good of the cooks and judges. And, also continue to grow and further advance the KCBS in the future.

3. Identify your major short term goal and the major long term goal, if elected to the Board of KCBS and your plan to implement change or improvement in order to carry out each of these goals.

Short-term Goal - To be the best person I can be as a representative of the Kansas City Barbecue Society in the role of a Board of Director.

Long-Term Goal

Would be to see KCBS have different regions so that teams that only compete in 5 to 10 contests a year can maybe be the team of the year for that region. That is not to take anything away from the teams that compete in contests across different regions for the National team of the year. I would also like to see if we had different regions across the nation, that we would have end of the year awards and banquets in each region. Then, rotate the National banquet each year across the different regions. I feel this would grow the KCBS membership from the inside out.

This also brings up the discussion of having regional representation on the KCBS Board of Directors. To be honest with you at this time I do not have a clear opinion on this but I will make an informed decision based on the best direction for the Kansas City Barbecue Society and its members.

4. If elected please explain "your level of commitment, time and energy" for committee projects and monthly reports, board meetings and attendance, as well as representing KCBS to the public and being responsive to our members.

By accepting the nomination and asking for your vote this means that if I am elected I work for the membership of the Kansas City Barbecue Society. I have been gainfully employed for the last 30 years in the private sector, so I know what it means to work and provide for my family.

If elected to the Board of Directors, I plan to utilize my many friends, cooks, contest reps, judges, and contest organizers to guide me in serving on the board. I also plan on having town hall type meetings the Friday night of the contests I participate in. This will give KCBS members a means to voice their concerns to me and also put a face to a name. I will also be available by e-mail, phone, Facebook, and yes, I will learn to use Twitter. To me too many people use the phrase "open door policy", but the problem is no one is ever there. I will be there for the membership.

5. Please describe your previous participation in KCBS activities and years of experience.

I have been a competitive cook since 2006 averaging around 10 or 15 contests a year. Presently, I am head cook for Uncle Bub's BBQ, LLC; Eugene Missouri.

6. Please explain why you want to be a member of the KCBS Board.

To be a voice for the cook's first and foremost.

To see KCBS continue to grow and be the #1 sanctioning body for BBQ in the US and the world.

To make sure my four-year-old grandson and every kid has the opportunity to be a part of a fantastic organization.


Bill Capstack

Bill Capstack1. Please describe the skills you possess which would make you an asset as a board member, in dealing with the challenges facing KCBS, and give an example of how those skills would serve the KCBS board of Directors and its membership.

I think my strongest skill is that I'm constantly looking for ways to improve operations and that I combine dedication and tireless energy to make things happen and get things done. I do my homework.

I've read the KCBS board minutes of the past three years to gain a better understanding of past issues, listened to the recordings of the board meetings to understand the dynamics of the decisions that were made, and read the nomination packages of the nominees for the board for the past three years, and talked with numerous cooks. The research showed me that there has been, and still is, a lot of discussion about the consistency of judging. I intend to work tirelessly on that issue and take on a leadership role of working with my fellow board members and committees to improve the judging process. Our membership is comprised of:

  • 17,680 members, of which...
  • 12,494 are CBJ's (71% of our membership)
  • Of the 12,494 CBJ's we have 871 MCBJ's (7%) and 1,243 CTC's (10%)

(As of: November 5, 2013)

Looking at those statistics you can see that it's a very large task to keep everyone up-to-date on the latest trends. You will see some of my ideas to enhance the contest process including CBJ/CTC training and improved communications in my answers to the remaining questions. I will take on a leadership role of working with my fellow board members and committees to improve the consistency of the judging process. I am a proactive, get-it-done style of person who always strives to make a positive difference.

My qualifications to take on these and other tasks include:

  • 30-year Air Force veteran (Chief Master Sergeant)
  • Served as Command Chief Master Sergeant to represent enlisted individuals to senior leadership. I was the liaison between senior officers and the enlisted force to keep the lines of communication open and recommend courses of action as they relate to enlisted matters
  • Master Instructor teaching several hundred classes at the intelligence and recruiting schools
  • Guest speaker at numerous enlisted and officer professional military education classes addressing leadership issues
  • Worked with the federal budget and negotiated points of view in the Pentagon
  • After leaving the Air Force I travelled the world for over 17+ years teaching over 1700 seminars in the public and corporate environments on the topics of project management, organizational issues, time management, leadership skills, total quality management, and public speaking to name a few. My extensive experience in manpower, organizational management, and negotiation skills enabled me to make a host of improvements everywhere I went.
  • And then I fell in love with judging barbecue!
  • Over 45 years in the adult education business
  • Volunteer at my local police department and the municipal court

I couple my vast experience and organizational skills with commitment, dedication, accountability, and devotion to the cause. I will bring that same level of enthusiasm to the board and will work to make an already good operation even better. I know that I must earn your respect and trust and I promise you that I will keep the lines of communications open between us and give you my total support for the advancement of KCBS.

2. If you are a Cook, Judge, Rep or Backyard Cook, please identify the major KCBS issues concerning one of areas in which you are involved. Describe the major issue, your strategies to correct or improve the issue and what you see as the biggest challenge to the success of your plan.

I'm a Master Certified Barbecue Judge and Certified Table Captain but I don't limit myself to thinking only about judging. I will do everything I can to bring us all closer together and erase any barriers that currently exist. I know that we can improve the quality and consistency of KCBS judging by examining and improving the judging process from the moment a cook turns in his/her box to the turn-in table until the completion of judging. We also need for judges to receive timely feedback on their judging performance. Judges are dedicated to doing a good and fair job but there currently is no feedback to tell the judge how well he or she is doing. Enhanced CBJ/CTC training has been a common theme among past candidates but I have both the desire and drive needed, along with the assistance and advice of other board and committee members to put improved training initiatives into action. The first thing I will do is to research what other board /committee members have done along the lines of improving our training and judging processes. I will then work with these individuals to achieve positive results. We need to develop an open forum for judges and table captains to share best practices with each other. Perhaps this initiative could be extended to organizers sharing their best practices with each other and cooks doing the same. I'll give you an example from a contest that I attended in October 2013: While talking with teams on Friday night, one of the cooks raised an issue of how judges would view a box with no garnish. This is exactly the type of question that could be raised and discussed among CBJ's in an online forum. There are other forums such as BBQCritic.com that do a fantastic job of allowing judges to view and score boxes for appearance and occasionally answer cooks questions. We need to take our best practices and share those ideas with each other. I recently had the opportunity to assist at the CBJ class at the American Royal. The presentation was one of the best I've seen. The instructor had captured the attention of the participants from the start and his knowledge and dedication to the task at hand kept the participants engaged throughout the class. This is the type of presentation should be recorded for training purposes. I will talk more about the timing of these ideas, along with others in my answer to question #3.

Any organization can get set in its ways and KCBS is no exception. The biggest challenges will be introducing and implementing the changes mentioned and being assigned to the committee (currently the CBJ Committee) that is responsible for CBJ/CTC training, while preserving the unique culture of KCBS. I have made a career of getting the ball rolling in organizations in a way that gets everyone on board. I will apply these same talents that I used so successfully in the past to working with my fellow board members and committee members to move beyond talking and get the job done for all members. In other words...Produce Results!

3. Identify your major short term goal and the major long term goal, if elected to the Board of KCBS and your plan to implement change or improvement in order to carry out each of these goals.

I have two major short term goals:

  • I want to help develop, with the assistance of the current committee chairpersons and their committees the specific duties and responsibilities of their committees, if not already published and document the results, so that all KCBS members have a clear understanding of who does what when it comes to the committees. It also allows KCBS members the opportunity to know whom they may contact if they have a particular issue they need to discuss. It also allows you to know what to expect from the committees and hold them accountable to deliver results.
  • Provide judges timely feedback on their performance as a judge. Our new scoring system provides a host of additional judging data to the teams, but the judges haven't seen their individual feedback data yet. I also want to see the recently revised comment cards implemented at contests ASAP. I will work with the experts on the technology committee and others to get the job done.

Major long term goal:

My major goal is to improve the training for CBJ's and table captains by working with committee members to:

  • Systematically examine our entire CBJ and table captain training programs to discover opportunities for improvement.
  • E-blast all CBJ's with a questionnaire to ask about their experience and constructive ideas about how we can improve the training for CBJ's and table captains.
  • E-blast teams and ask for their constructive ideas about improving the training process for CBJ's and table captains
  • Systematically examine the processes used on contest day in the judging venue to look for possible enhanced training opportunities
  • Develop additional training materials as required and implement positive procedures to place them into effect.
  • Develop an online forum for CBJ/CTC's to share best practices with each other
  • Develop an online student critique of the CBJ and CTC classes, i.e. soon after the class and after the participant has judged a contest or two. The dual purpose of the critique would be to give the instructor feedback and provide information on how the class could be improved for future students
  • Develop a tracking method to track table captains (who aren't performing double-duty) and CBJ assistants at contests
  • I fully intend to work with the board members to solicit their ideas to make our training as viable as possible and to make sure our judges and table captains have the latest tools available to them.

4. If elected please explain "your level of commitment, time and energy" for committee projects and monthly reports, board meetings and attendance, as well as representing KCBS to the public and being responsive to our members.

My response to question 5 below clearly demonstrates that I have a strong level of commitment and am willing to devote as much time and energy as is required to get things done and done right. I've been committed to KCBS from the start. I don't simply sit back and wait to see what's happening and then wonder what happened. I'm committed to make a proactive difference! That's the same commitment I take for any cause that I'm passionate about. I am retired and available whenever needed for any and all projects, meetings, etc. My considerable experience in teaching, public speaking and outgoing manner make me an excellent public spokesman for KCBS. I will respond promptly to emails and phone calls to make myself available to all members. I plan to continue being out and about on the KCBS barbecue circuit judging 25-30 events per year. I hope to meet more of you along the way and listen to your ideas on how to improve KCBS.

5. Please describe your previous participation in KCBS activities and years of experience.

  • Joined KCBS in August 2010
  • CBJ class was in September 2010.
  • 1st contest – October 2010
  • 86th contest – October 2013 including the Sam's National and Jack Daniels
  • Assisted at 18 CBJ classes with 5 different instructors
  • Attended 3 table captain classes as a participant to keep abreast of the latest issues
  • Participated in 25 other KCBS sponsored events, including the Ottawa, KS Extreme House Makeover fund raiser where we fed over 4,000 people in two hours
  • Drove over 11,000 miles at my expense to participate in KCBS events
  • I've devoted countless hours promoting the mission and ideals of KCBS
  • Anyone who has set at my judging table knows that I do a lot of mentoring especially for new CBJ's and non-CBJ's
  • I frequently visit with the cook teams the night before judging to listen to their ideas and wish them well.

6. Please explain why you want to be a member of the KCBS Board.

KCBS is a slice of Americana. We are expanding our sport to various regions around the world. We need to do more to recruit organizers from all regions of the United States. I want to make a difference and give back to this organization.

I'm retired and ready to devote my time and efforts to advance KCBS as the authority of outdoor barbecue. I will never forget that the KCBS board works for you and the KCBS enterprise. I promise that my decisions will be based on the big picture and not just on temporary enthusiasms. People who know me are aware that I'm a straight talker who does what he promises. I'm a fast learner and I make mistakes. I'm human. I also learn from my mistakes and successes and keep pressing forward to accomplish the goals set out to accomplish. I'll keep the lines of communication open so that I can do the best job I can for you and KCBS as a whole.

My goal is not to change KCBS. I am dedicated to this organization. My goal is to change the status quo that seems to have existed for years and enhance our training and improve communications between all members of this ever-growing organization. You should hold your board accountable for watching out for all membership, not just special interest groups. I will oppose any initiatives that will fractionalize our great organization. We need to produce results to keep KCBS moving in a positive growth pattern.

The following is recited at the opening of every KCBS board meeting:

  • KCBS MISSION: Recognizing barbecue as America's Cuisine, the Mission of the Kansas City Barbecue Society is to celebrate, teach, preserve and promote barbecue as a culinary technique, sport and art form
  • BOARD PLEDGE: I accept my duties as a KCBS director to further the KCBS Mission so that truth, justice, excellence in barbecue and the American way of life may be strengthened and preserved forever.
  • Bill Capstack acknowledges and accepts the KCBS Mission and Board Pledge!

Vote for BILL CAPSTACK!


Mary O'Conner

Mary O'Conner1. Please describe the skills you possess which would make you an asset as a board member, in dealing with the challenges facing KCBS, and give an example of how those skills would serve the KCBS board of Directors and its membership.

I am an accounting and financial consultant over a successful 35 year career helping scores of companies and volunteer organizations install and maintain sound financial reporting systems and financial plans that support their strategic objectives over the long haul. These skills were tested when I served my hometown as twice elected City Treasurer. The town is a small bedroom community that believed its financial future so dim that it considered merger with a neighboring community. With planning and diligence, I was part of the team that created a compelling financial plan – one that is now a model for other communities. Our town is not only independent, but enjoys a solid and bright future that is a source of pride. From this base of experience, I will bring these skills to KCBS and join the team already in place to continue the ceaseless work to maintain a bright and financially solid future for the organization. The challenges are many – the biggest is remaining traditional yet fresh and open to new ways of member participation and communication.

2. If you are a Cook, Judge, Rep or Backyard Cook, please identify the major KCBS issues concerning one of areas in which you are involved. Describe the major issue, your strategies to correct or improve the issue and what you see as the biggest challenge to the success of your plan.

I believe that expanding our footprint in the amateur BBQ community is the low hanging fruit that will help KCBS grow. Event organizers should look to us for all aspects of the project – especially the training of judges to assure consistency, a level playing field and excellent quality that draws more teams to future competitions. Existing amateur organizations are often too small to do the work that we can support. We need to be the GO TO organization for this segment of our world and the first place to start is our ability to field and train judges for these events. Our biggest challenge is identification and communication to this group of organizers and enthusiasts which can be overcome through use of social media and a program customized for this level of the market.

3. Identify your major short term goal and the major long term goal, if elected to the Board of KCBS and your plan to implement change or improvement in order to carry out each of these goals.

It has always been my hope in my volunteer activities to assist in providing a realistic and sound long-term financial plan that supports the strategic vision. We never want a future Board to make a bad decision that changes everything simply because it is out of money and in panic mode. KCBS is financially strong thanks to the efforts of so many before us. My goal is to continue this work and assist in the ongoing process that maintains the financial sustainability for KCBS.

4. If elected please explain "your level of commitment, time and energy" for committee projects and monthly reports, board meetings and attendance, as well as representing KCBS to the public and being responsive to our members.

Small town politics taught me that it is all about responding to the needs of the constituents. The best ideas come from the people we serve. And that is the fun part of the job. I promise to be available to listen and bring concerns and advice to the Board. I am able to fully commit to my Board duties and responsibilities with ample time, imagination and energy both at and between meetings.

5. Please describe your previous participation in KCBS activities and years of experience.

I spent ten years in the Chili communities of CASI and ICS and organized an annual event which has become very popular. We hoped to expand the event to include BBQ. To prepare, I joined the fun and traditions of KCBS and just got hooked. I serve as a judge and table captain at numerous events around the country, cook on an amateur team and organize a well attended annual amateur BBQ event in my hometown. And it's got KCBS all over it!

6. Please explain why you want to be a member of the KCBS Board.

America needs BBQ and the values we bring. My professional skills are best used at the Board level and my enthusiasm for what this organization can do is contagious. I want to part of the amazing team that makes it happen.


Dennis Polson

Dennis Polson1. Please describe the skills you possess which would make you an asset as a board member, in dealing with the challenges facing KCBS, and give an example of how those skills would serve the KCBS board of Directors and its membership.

I would bring to the BOD my experience of working on other boards both in business and service organizations. As a retired Agriculture Teacher, FFA Coach, and a former 2 term local school board member, I have been a negotiator and fact finder. As a BOD member, it is essential to listen to all sides and make decisions for the betterment of the KCBS organization. To me, this means: how will the decision affect Organizers, Cooks, Judges, and Reps, not only now but in years to come? I feel we must set short and long term goals to keep KCBS strong and growing. I am a hard worker in any job I take on. I take my responsibilities very seriously whether it is Organizer, Judge, Rep, or volunteer at the "Jack". I believe those who know me would say I am consistent, fair, and friendly.

2. If you are a Cook, Judge, Rep or Backyard Cook, please identify the major KCBS issues concerning one of areas in which you are involved. Describe the major issue, your strategies to correct or improve the issue and what you see as the biggest challenge to the success of your plan.

In an ideal world, every judge should cook and every cook should judge or organize or Rep. In this way, all sides of the coin can be seen. But we know this is not a perfect world. As a Rep, it is very frustrating to have uneven scores, either high or low, especially from a CBJ. The scoring system has been improved with more information for the Cooks. We need to investigate a way to provide this information to the Judges and still keep the double blind system. I would like to see our judging classes emphasize the positive and focus less on the negative. The BOD needs to have continuing education programs for Reps, Judges, and Instructors of classes. We all need to be on the same page to be consistent in the jobs we do. I believe this is a way to help correct the scoring discrepancies. I would also like to see more members be offered active roles on KCBS committees.

3. Identify your major short term goal and the major long term goal, if elected to the Board of KCBS and your plan to implement change or improvement in order to carry out each of these goals.

I think the BOD is moving in the right direction. My short term goals are to have open communications with membership and for the BOD to function as one unit. Let committees do their assigned jobs. Let the office employees do their jobs. Get all the facts before making a decision or another rule.

My long term goals are to keep working on the strategic 5 and 10 year plans. This will give us the direction that KCBS should be headed. These plans need to be reviewed each year and changed as needed to meet changing times. The committee for strategic planning needs to have members from Organizers, Cooks, Judges, and Reps from all the geographic areas. Each entity has different needs and should be represented to voice their concerns and provide input about where they want their Organization to be in the future.

4. If elected please explain "your level of commitment, time and energy" for committee projects and monthly reports, board meetings and attendance, as well as representing KCBS to the public and being responsive to our members.

As a retired person, I am committed to devote whatever time and energy is necessary to fulfill my responsibilities to the BOD and to the membership. I will attend each board meeting in person or by phone, work on any committee assigned and submit timely monthly reports.

I have 43 years of experience in public speaking and teaching. I can help resolve issues by seeing problems from every point of view (in this case Organizers, Cooks, Judges, and Reps). I will not have all the answers, but a BOD that works together with input from the membership should be able to attain solutions.

5. Please describe your previous participation in KCBS activities and years of experience.

Linda and I started as Organizers in 2005. That same year we took our CBJ training and judged 13 contests. In 2006, we judged, cooked, and Rep in training (RAT) 31 contests. We received our Masters Judge certification in 2006 and Table Captain Certification in 2009. I became a Table Captain Instructor in 2011. In 2012, I was on the CBJ committee. We Rep 15-20 contests per year and also try to judge several contests every year. We have Repped or Judged in 13 states. We are Lifetime Members of KCBS. We have helped Organizers start 14 new contests.

6. Please explain why you want to be a member of the KCBS Board.

If elected to the KCBS BOD, I will do my best to be a voice for all entities, Organizers, Cooks, Judges, and Reps. I have no axes to grind or an agenda to tear down a solid organization. The wheel has been invented; we just need to keep refining it. Being a Rep gives me the opportunity to work with all entities and see firsthand their problems, frustrations, and weaknesses at the contest level. As BOD members, we must have open communication with our membership. This is the members' organization to which we are held accountable. I will be only one voice and one vote, but I want it to be for the best of all and for the growth of KCBS.


Richard Preston

Richard Preston1. Please describe the skills you possess which would make you an asset as a board member, in dealing with the challenges facing KCBS, and give an example of how those skills would serve the KCBS board of Directors and its membership.

As an educator of over 35 years I have acquired many skills that I believe would be beneficial to KCBS as a board member. I have worked with the public in a management position with several different organizations, such as AYSO Soccer and Lions Club. Other skills that I posses are being a good listener, a creative thinker and I am open to different solutions to problems. An example of how these skills would serve the board is that I am able to relate to all members, judges, cooks, organizers, and reps, of KCBS.

2. If you are a Cook, Judge, Rep or Backyard Cook, please identify the major KCBS issues concerning one of areas in which you are involved. Describe the major issue, your strategies to correct or improve the issue and what you see as the biggest challenge to the success of your plan.

As a Rep, a recent issue I have seen would be that the turn-in boxes at different contests are not the standard size that KCBS has set forth. A solution to this issue would be to have KCBS provide the turn-in boxes with the other repping supplies, or have the contest organizers purchase them from a specified retailer. The biggest challenge I see would be the cost and the space that the boxes would take up. A way to offset the cost would be to have a sponsor supply the boxes for us. Purchasing so many from one supplier could reduce the cost of the turn-in boxes. The way to save on storage space is to have the supplier drop ship them to the contest organizer.

3. Identify your major short term goal and the major long term goal, if elected to the Board of KCBS and your plan to implement change or improvement in order to carry out each of these goals.

My short term goal would be to make a website where judges could sign up for a contest. This way it would be easier on the organizers, they could clearly see who has signed up to judge and not have to juggle lots of paper (plus it's environmentally friendly!). I would also suggest a way to indicated if the judge did not show up.

My long term goal would to find a way to integrate the judges in the KCBS society. I feel like judges are often times left out, especially at the annual banquet. My plan would be to include awards for judges and reps at the annual banquet. Right now judges don't really have any motivation to attend the annual banquet. They would have to pay their way there and for a hotel room, all to watch teams get awards. I think if we hand out some awards to the judges more members of KCBS will be inclined to attend. Plus, it would also make them feel like they are appreciated as a part of KCBS.

4. If elected please explain "your level of commitment, time and energy" for committee projects and monthly reports, board meetings and attendance, as well as representing KCBS to the public and being responsive to our members.

To quote an old coach of mine, "Whatever Richard does he commits himself 110%". Last year was my final year of teaching and this year I have enjoyed being retired and having the freedom to attend as many KCBS events as my wife and girls will let me. I love talking to those interested in BBQing and telling them about KCBS. My daughter often says don't ask dad about BBQ unless you REALLY want to know about it. That is how serous I am about KCBS. If elected to the KCBS Board I will do as much as I can to help the members.

5. Please describe your previous participation in KCBS activities and years of experience.

I have been a part of the Kansas City Barbeque Society for the past 10 years, starting as a judge. Now over 150 BBQ events later, I still want to help KCBS by serving on the Board of Directors. It has been my privilege to be a volunteer for both the Jack Daniels World Invitational and the KCBS banquet committee. I have also worked for the American Grillmaster Expericnce and for the Great American BBQ Tour at Jack Daniels World Invitational . When the opportunity arises I help out at judges' and table captains' classes because I want to know what is being taught. I also continue to Judge and Table Captain four to five times a year besides my repping assignments.

6. Please explain why you want to be a member of the KCBS Board.

I want to be a member of the KCBS Board because I want to help the organization continue to grow like it has in the last few years. It has been an honor to be asked by several members to run for the board. When asked why they wanted me to run their answer was that I would be a good leader for the organization.


Mark SimmonsMark Simmons

1. Please describe the skills you possess which would make you an asset as a board member, in dealing with the challenges facing KCBS, and give an example of how those skills would serve the KCBS board of Directors and its membership.

I am very excited about serving a second term on the Board of Directors for the Kansas City BBQ Society. I think my skills that are most useful can be summed up with the word experience. I own a small company in Kansas City and I believe that gives me an excellent perspective on helping KCBS develop and integrate good business practices. My first term on the Board gives me three years of experience in seeing various challenges and issues from the perspective of a board member. Finally, I have had many years of experience serving on other non-profit boards. I see a great future at KCBS and look forward to doing my part to help KCBS continue its growth trajectory into the future

2. If you are a Cook, Judge, Rep or Backyard Cook, please identify the major KCBS issues concerning one of areas in which you are involved. Describe the major issue, your strategies to correct or improve the issue and what you see as the biggest challenge to the success of your plan.

I believe one of the important issues facing KCBS is a strategic plan, a road map, that channels our vision and energy into the future as a growing enterprise. During this term, we have experienced significant growth in the number of contests, teams, certified judges and budget. A well developed strategic plan serves as a guideline so that all the board of directors are working off the same page. The strategic plan needs to take into consideration the needs of cooks, judges, organizers and contest reps. Our whole membership is who we serve.

3. Identify your major short term goal and the major long term goal, if elected to the Board of KCBS and your plan to implement change or improvement in order to carry out each of these goals.

We have discussed some marketing and promotion initiatives in the board meetings. I am especially intrigued by the Million Meals endeavor. Of course the details may change, but I think some effort like this promotes what's good and wholesome about KCBS ... We have thousands of cooks and judges who are excited to see BBQ used as a means to help people, particularly the disadvantaged or those in crises (like the aftermath of natural disasters). These efforts showcase the heart and soul of cooks and judges and our membership to help those in need. I would be very pleased if an initiative like that could be achieved as a "Big" goal of our 18,000 members. I believe people with big hearts in KCBS are looking for non-profit efforts that they can identify with. This is such a one. I look forward to seeing efforts toward cook recruitment in KCBS. I believe we have a lot of organizers and judges who are looking for contests to be a part, but perhaps our growth in those areas has outstripped the growth of our cooking teams. We have a great competition culture and we hope that we can grow that in the years ahead. This also includes our international initiatives.

4. If elected please explain "your level of commitment, time and energy" for committee projects and monthly reports, board meetings and attendance, as well as representing KCBS to the public and being responsive to our members.

I do know what the time commitments are having served for the last three years. I believe I have an excellent attendance record and have demonstrated consistently submitting my reports on time. Having served on the finance committee, strategic planning committee and contest rep committee I have enjoyed developing those relationships and moderated quite a few meetings. As a small business owner, I have time flexibility to do what it takes within my power to get the job done. It is a pleasure to represent KCBS everywhere I go as a member of the board of directors and one of its ambassadors to the public. I have a background in public speaking and am always delighted to represent our great organization.

5. Please describe your previous participation in KCBS activities and years of experience.

My experience in KCBS now spans almost nine years. I started as a certified judge, cooked with a great team, became a master judge, was recruited to be a KCBS rep and have now been a contest rep at around 175 contests. I was privileged to become a CBJ instructor, having taught over 500 students, and have appreciated the opportunity to serve on the Board of directors for three years. Throughout all of this experience, the greatest thing I've enjoyed is meeting great people...awesome organizers, cooks, judges, reps and board members. We truly have a great society and microcosm of America. It's a privilege to be a part.

6. Please explain why you want to be a member of the KCBS Board.

I would like to be elected to a second term of the board of directors because I do believe I can make a difference. I think we have a great group of people and good processes. But I do believe that we can become stronger and improve some of those processes for our long term future. If elected, you have my promise, I will do my best job possible given whatever opportunities I have to represent all of our members.


Ralph Williams

1. Please describe the skills you possess which would make you an asset as a board member, in dealing with the challenges facing KCBS, and give an example of how those skills would serve the KCBS board of Directors and its membership.

As a retired school administrator, I dealt daily with budgets, meetings, parents and student problems. One must be versatile in handling the dealings of a large school district. I have those management skills. I bring that versatility to the BOD. Being retired, I have the time to spend to complete those tasks presented to me. I have been privileged to serve as a CBJ, Master CBJ, contest REP, and instructor. I have served on national committees where policy was written and implemented on the national level. Additionally, I served on our state Elementary Principals BOD for 17 years. I currently serve as Treasurer for our local BBQ organization. Our group sponsors a successful BBQ event each year. All of these experiences show the responsibility and commitment I would bring to the BOD.

2. If you are a Cook, Judge, Rep or Backyard Cook, please identify the major KCBS issues concerning one of areas in which you are involved. Describe the major issue, your strategies to correct or improve the issue and what you see as the biggest challenge to the success of your plan.

Membership retention is an area that needs attention. What are the reasons we are losing members? There are several factors that need to be looked at along with this issue. I feel an effort to contact the non-returning judges' needs to be looked at. Their information may hold the key to help KCBS redirect the loss of members. As I work various contests, I am frequently asked "Why are they adding more contests? We can hardly get our required numbers". A look at our current sanctioning policy may be needed.

3. Identify your major short term goal and the major long term goal, if elected to the Board of KCBS and your plan to implement change or improvement in order to carry out each of these goals.

My short term goal is to become orientated with the Board and various procedures as soon as possible, a hands on active approach. Be responsive to everyone I represent, be it cooks, judges or Board members.

My long term goal is to be a good, supporting, listening BOD member. I often hear judges and cooks asking for certain changes. Change is always needed, change is usually good. Oftentimes the changes needed are slow to evolve; however, change does not always need to occur just for changes sake.

I would like to take a look at refreshing the education of judges. To stay in tune with current practices, techniques, trends and any upcoming situations requires education. Continuing education is a must for everyone. Judges, Reps, and others working within the KCBS organization, need to be a part of continuing education. Knowledge is a powerful tool and we need to use it to further the success of KCBS.

4. If elected please explain "your level of commitment, time and energy" for committee projects and monthly reports, board meetings and attendance, as well as representing KCBS to the public and being responsive to our members.

Being retired affords me extra time to devote to the continued betterment of KCBS. I will commit whatever time it takes to be a productive Board member. Committees, Board meetings, listening to members concerns, are all part of the time I am willing to devote to this position.

5. Please describe your previous participation in KCBS activities and years of experience.

I am not a competitive cook. I have had the privilege to cook with several teams through my time with KCBS.

I have been the Treasurer for our local BBQ club for several years and have had the opportunity to help make the decisions that make our contest successful.

I am a Master KCBS judge.

I am a KCBS representative.

I am a KCBS instructor.

6. Please explain why you want to be a member of the KCBS Board.

I consider all KCBS participants part of my growing "family". Everyone brings something different to the table and that makes for an interesting family. It's neat. It's rewarding but can be tough. When we joined, Ed Roith told us to "HAVE FUN" and we do. If it is not fun, time to find another adventure.

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