2021 BOARD ELECTION

 

Be part of the democratic process. Shape YOUR store!


 

HOW TO VOTE

1. Read the candidates’ statements. Below or in the online voting platform (button below.)

2. VOTE! Your voter ID is your owner number, preceded by “0” to reach five digits. (i.e. “85” becomes “00085”)
Your voter key is is your last name, (apostrophes in last names are not included)
The button will take you straight to the ballot. Voting ends May 26 at 8:00 pm.

Questions: call 716-655-2667 or email [email protected]

JOIN THE

ANNUAL MEETING!

May 26, 7:00pm

The board of directors and general manager will provide a rundown of 2020, give an update on running a grocery store during a pandemic, and answer your questions about the past, present and future.

Stay informed! 

REGISTER HERE

2021 CANDIDATES

Andrew Layer
Incumbent

Why are you interested in serving on the co-op’s Board of Directors?
Having grown up in East Aurora, I’m proud to have been part of building something lasting for our community. I’ve seen our coop grow from an idea to a plan and now a store, but I want to make sure we set the solid foundation which will ensure our long term success.

Describe your experience with cooperatives and community organizations.
I am currently serving as Vice President and have previously held a number of other leadership positions with the board since my tenure began 2015. I’ve been working behind the scenes for our co-op since it was more an idea than a place and am proud to see how its grown.

Summarize your professional experience and relevant skills. What unique skills, personal qualities, or perspective will you bring to the board?
I currently lead business development for Moog’s technology and advanced pursuits group, having been with the company now 10 years. My background in market and financial analysis has proved useful through the co-ops early start-up phase. As an EACM director, I have worn many hats, but have been focused primarily on strategic planning.

Describe your experience working collaboratively in a group setting.
Over the last 6 years, I have worked with some truly passionate and energetic directors on our board. During that time, we’ve encountered all manner of challenges, and have had to make some difficult decisions, but as a team we’ve been able to maintain the store’s energy, growth, and character.

What is your vision for the future of our cooperative?
I want to see the EACM thrive as a cornerstone of our community where everyone can stop-in and feel like part of a family. I’m particularly passionate about in our role providing nutritional education. Long term, I would like to ensure the co-op is well established on a firm footing which provides a path to debt-free independence and the flexibility to grow.

What makes you passionate about the co-op and/or mission?
Having seen how our membership has rallied in supprt of the coop – so many people have contributed their time, money and talent to making this place a success – I want to ensure that energy continues and our store grows into a fixture of the community.

What is your favorite food?
I am a big fan of Natalie’s fresh squeezed orange juice, it’s worth the splurge.

Add anything else you feel is relevant to your candidacy?
There is still a lot of work to be done to secure our coops continued success. I would like to be part of securing that legacy for our community.

Michael McClaren
Incumbent

Why are you interested in serving on the co-op’s Board of Directors?
Frankly, the job is not done. The learning curve on grocery governance is steep. The co-op is still very young. It has experienced growing pains, and will certainly experience more in the future. I would like to see the co-op establish itself further as the go-to shopping experience in the south-towns. I would like to see the co-op realize financial stability.

Describe your experience with cooperatives and community organizations.
I have served on the co-op Board for three years, and have been fortunate to serve with very smart and dedicated people. The Board members’ dedication to the cause, and the general manager’s work ethic are inspiring. I also sit on the Board of Directors of the Buffalo Boys and Girls Clubs.

Summarize your professional experience and relevant skills. What unique skills, personal qualities, or perspective will you bring to the board?
I graduated from law school in 1991 and am a trial attorney and litigator. I am a founding partner of Webster Szanyi, LLP, and managing partner. I actively participate in the day-to-day management of the firm. We have 14 attorneys and a staff of approximately 25. I have represented Blue Cross of Western New York for over 25 years. I have also represented the American National Red Cross for over 20 years and the New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal for 20 years.

I understand the value of personal relationship building and have consistently “done what it takes” to provide my clients with the best representation possible. I presently manage an active case load of over 200 cases and work closely with my partners and associates and employees of the firm to make certain that the firm clients are vigorously provided the best representation possible.

I have worked on and handled some of the most complex commercial litigation matters presented to any attorney in the area. The skills I have honed throughout my career that will benefit the East Aurora co-op Board include analytic skills, attention to detail, organization, and a strong work ethic. I also have an understanding of the importance of conflict resolution and consensus building.

Describe your experiences working collaboratively in a group setting.
See above. Even though most of my work is litigation, and therefore often adversarial, on a daily basis I work with a team of professionals to further the interest of my clients. The team includes the clients themselves, along with other attorneys, paralegals, assistants and support staff. Without such a great team, and a collaborative working environment, the results we secure would not be possible.

What is your vision for the future of our cooperative?
The co-op is gaining traction in the community every day. It is rapidly developing a loyal customer base who enjoy the community feel to the store, and local sourced, healthy food options. That should continue. I would like to see the co-op take a more active role in sustainability and examine the role of excess packaging and plastics in how the food is shipped and stored. The co-op needs more members. I would hope to see it double its membership in the next five years. Debt is an issue the co-op needs to confront head-on, and address its debt load in order to achieve financial stability.

What makes you passionate about the co-op and/or our mission?
I am an owner and investor in the EA co-op. We love the community and have raised our kids here. I love the convenience and knowing that what I consume from the co-op is as healthy as possible. I am a true believer in farm-to-table, from the perspective of both environmental concerns, and because I like to know (if possible) where the food I consume comes from.

What is your favorite food?
Peanut Butter. But I avoid it when my self-discipline is high.

 

Dale Morris
Incumbent

Why are you interested in serving on the co-op’s Board of Directors?
East Aurora is a wonderful community and a highly desirable place to live. The Co-op contributes greatly to the vitality of this community. I feel that it’s important to invest not only financially (aka: co-op membership) but also to give of our time and talents to support those things which make this such a great community.

Describe your experience with cooperatives and community organizations.
I have served on the Cooperative Board for 3 years. I am also currently serving on the Village of East Aurora Planning Commission and the Town of Aurora Open Space Committee.

Summarize your professional experience and relevant skills. What unique skills, personal qualities, or perspective will you bring to the board?
I have a Master’s degree and 40 years of experience in planning. As part of this I was the founder of the Erie County Office of Geographic Information Services (GIS) and served as Director of this office for over 25 years. Being an urban planner, and the director of a GIS office, requires strong people, organizational, and research skills. It requires the ability to effectively communicate verbally and in writing. Finally, effective community-based planning is about building consensus among stakeholders. These are all examples of skills which would be useful on the Co-op Board of Directors.

Describe your experiences working collaboratively in a group setting.
In addition to my professional work experience mentioned above, I have served on the EACM Board of Directors for 3 years, the Village Planning Commission, and the Town of Aurora Open Space Committee. All of these groups bring together individuals with diverse skill sets to work on challenging issues. Working collaboratively with other members of these groups is essential to accomplish the mission of each organization.

What is your vision for the future of our cooperative?
My vision is for a co-op that will
-Be a financially viable operation with minimal long term debt.
-Support the local farming community and offer high quality healthy food choices at reasonable prices.
-Be a fun and entertaining place to shop for healthy food
-Become better known as a social place where friends can visit for coffee, lunch, etc. and not be just a place to purchase groceries.
-Become highly visible through marketing and educational campaigns

Overall, my vision is that the co-op would become an essential thread in the fabric of village life. Life in this community should be better because of the co-op, and conversely, the community would suffer if the co-op did not exist. Think about how institutions such as Vidler’s, the Aurora Theater, the Roycroft Campus, etc. contribute to and are ingrained into our community life. That is what the co-op should be striving for.

What makes you passionate about the co-op and/or our mission?
The existence of the co-op makes this community an even more desirable place to live and raise a family. It strongly contributes to what makes East Aurora a full service walkable community. The fact that the co-op focuses on supporting local farmers and offering healthy food choices makes me even more passionate about the co-op’s mission. We all need to eat; how can you not be passionate about that?

What is your favorite food?
Ah…that’s like asking me which child is my favorite! However, if I absolutely had to choose, I’ll take an apple or pecan pie, please! It’s no coincidence that I was born on pi day: (3.14)!

Add anything else you feel is relevant to your candidacy.
Thank you for the opportunity to have served on the EACM Board for the past three years!