Richard Vandermeulen - Rochester, NY


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 these skills would serve the KCBS Board of Directors and its membership

My skills for the board come from a lifetime of experience.
As a NCO in the Army from 1976 - 1985 I lead and taught soldiers in an Artillery battalion and as the maintenance supervisor in a 10,000 line telephone exchange in what was West Germany. I have done final systems testing for digital telephone equipment. I have provided top level telephone technical support for business and residential alarm sys. This used both tech skills and the soft skills to empathize with a customer in the middle of the night while getting the solution they may not have entirely wanted but needed.  I have ended up with an ability to see an issue from both sides and try to help achieve a solution that works.

These skills in listening to all sides and being willing to adapt based on the facts are essential in closing what looks like a division between the cooks and judges. 

2. If you are a Cook, Judge, 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.

I am a Master Judge and Certified Table Captain with over 50 contests since 2013. As a judge we has seen several issues large and small. The one that I see over and over is judges saying they can’t find a contest or they do not hear from the contest in a timely manner.
KCBS is working towards a solution with website registration. That system has had roll out issues some of which may been incomplete training of organizers. There are contests that will never use this system for the judge’s registration. Fine as long as there are links out to the contest. I would like to see KCBS.US/events as the one stop for finding and applying for contests. My goal is to be able to drill deep into this issue, find where the hurdles are and work to getting them resolved. This is going to the help of all parties involved and that may be the biggest issue.

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

Short term goal is to look at every bit of the interactions between the board, the cooks, and the judges trying to learn the nuances and areas where the board can help smooth the way so cook can cook, judges can judge and we can all grow and enjoy this thing we call our BBQ family. What may stand in the way is the blessing and curse of social media. People will take posts as being the final answer without taking time to find out the facts.
Long term is to retain members and grow the base. Maybe to answer the question “Why should I join?” Do I have the answer right now? No, but I would look forwards to working with our CEO as I know she sees this as a must do. All judges are members cooks do not have to be. Why should or shouldn’t the cook be a member. Just tossing that out as something to be looked at if I am placed on our board.

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 will have the highest level of commitment to the board. The time to serve is not an issue. If I can leave home at 2am to drive straight to the judges meeting and be there by 9am I can find the time for board meetings. Same with committee meetings.
First time I cooked charity and ancillary for a contest I was placed right where the public was entering the comp area. I spent much of the vending and off time engaging and educating the public as to what they were about to see. Helping to be a contact point for both the public and members is something I look forwards to. As a member of the board I am not there for the board but to work for each and every member. If you have a question I will dig to get an answer. Maybe not the one you were hoping for but one that is as complete as possible.

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

I and my wife have been members since 2013 and are CTC and MBJ certified. We have cook a couple of charity, people’s choice, and ancillary events. We have spent post judging time with teams from the very first time. If we are judging an event you are cooking expect a hello. Look around at awards. See those judges there and being happy for you? Yup, that’s us.

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

“Why do you want to be on the board?” The idealistic answer is the make a difference. I think I can do that. It’s time to step up to next level and give back to all of you. I want to bring a view to the board that is not “judge-centric” or “cook-centric”. We have had enough of that. Thank you for time in reading this.