Chiles Cridlin - Henrico, VA
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 a business owner of an IT company with a bachelor’s degree in business. I serve as a technology architect for both state and federal customers. In addition to technical skills, I have experience in day to day business operations along with the analytical skills to review and make educated decisions regarding financial and other challenges that concern KCBS. This includes reviewing contracts, working with vendors and developing strategies that will serve to preserve KCBS and even prepare for future growth. As an experienced cook and certified judge, I have the background to understand how decisions can effect KCBS competitions and members.
2. If you are a Cook, Judge, Organizer, Rep or Backyard Cook, please identify the major KCBS issues concerning one of the 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.
One of the challenges that faces KCBS is lack of public participation. The public that attends our events are potential future members. My participation in public-engaged contests has shown me that interested cook teams have a great opportunity to showcase KCBS by demonstrating their skills, providing samples and hands-on interaction with the public. I would like to work to bring more demonstrations and public interaction to our contests like the Ambassador program currently does. Challenges include cook team participation, complying with local health codes and “People’s Choice” standardization. With each challenge, education, creating awareness and implementing successful formats that a few contests already employ could be a great start. Organizers need sponsors, sponsors want public attendance, teams need organizers and the public wants to see and taste what we do.
Another concern is improving the relationship between cook teams and judges. We have had the pleasure of having 22 judges cook with us for their Master CBJ. I hope they have learned as much from us as we have from them. KCBS needs a formal program that will reward cook teams for hosting judges. Some cook teams may be hesitant but with the right incentive, we can build better relationships between teams and judges.
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 major short term goal is to investigate, learn and understand some of the decisions that were made in the past. I cannot be effective in making long term goals until I feel I completely understand how previous decisions were made and if those decisions were effective or in the best interest of KCBS, its philosophy and its members. My initial areas of interest involve membership and financial stability, the judge seating program, social media content, contest participation and contest retention.
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. Board members typically volunteer 4-6 hours a month to Board meeting; Committee Chairs typically volunteer 2-4 hours a month and general Board work a minimum of 6-8 hours a month.
My current responsibilities allow me to devote as many as 4 hours or more per week to KCBS business, attend all board meetings and travel to Kansas City once per year. I also plan to attend at least 25 KCBS events in 2020 which will allow me to interact directly with judges, representatives, organizers, cook teams and attendees.
5. Please describe your previous participation in KCBS activities and years of experience.
I am the founding member of “Wolf’s Revenge BBQ” and as such, have attended more than 165 KCBS events since 2009. That’s over 10 years of competing, working on contest committees, representing KCBS at Bass Pro Shops and even had the opportunity to judge. In December of 2018, I started the “The Wolf’s Den” which is a Facebook collaborative program where I adopted 10 backyard teams with the goal of helping them accelerate their goal of becoming master series cook teams. We have grown and now include other experienced cook teams that assist and have even added a judge or two. One team has already gone pro and many have a promising start as they are taking awards and winning their backyard events. I am also looking forward to hosting even more judges for their master CBJ requirement to cook with a cook team.
6. Please explain why you want to be a member of the KCBS Board of Directors.
I have invested a large amount of time and personal resources into becoming a successful BBQ competitor. KCBS is my organization of choice. It has given me the opportunity to cook coast to coast, introduced me to new friends and even gained a mentor or two. In short, it has become a way of life. I feel competition BBQ is one of the most wholesome, family oriented hobbies a person could have. Yes, there are challenges that must be overcome if this organization is to continue and grow. Rather than be a spectator and hope these issues get worked out, I am willing to donate my time and expertise to help KCBS return to growth and to provide future members the opportunities and experiences that I have received.