Myron Berry - Florence, AL
1. Please describe the skills you posses (which you believe are stronger than the other candidates)
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.
Before retirement, I owned a successful small business with 8-9 employees with a gross revenue
of 1.8 million dollars the final year I was in business. I have over 20 years’ experience operating and managing a business.
I am a Master Judge with 100+ contests, Lifetime KCBS member, a KCBS contest organizer for the past 4 years and have had the pleasure of judging BBQ in twelve states.
With my background as a business owner, I have the management skills that are needed to be an effective communicator. I believe I can effectively communicate with KCBS members, cook teams, KCBS Board members and be a viable contributing member of the KCBS Board. The best thing to my years with KCBS is the great friends I have met at contests and I have been fortunate to meet and develop friendships with fellow judges, KCBS representatives, and other organizers and cook teams.
If I am elected I will work diligently to help KCBS grow by embracing new technologies and still
keep the values and goals of Carolyn Wells, Gary Wells and Rick Welch, the founders of KCBS.
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.
Loss of membership and cancellation of too many contests are major issues The BOD minutes show that the U.S. KCBS membership has lost over 1100 members from January 2018 to October 2018, this is a 7.3 % loss. Over the same period of time, the International membership has grown by 85 members. The October 2018 minutes show a total membership of 19007. We had over 20000 members in January 2018. Our membership needs to be growing, not decreasing.
In the same time frame KCBS has had 56 contests to cancel. This is an approximate 12% cancellation rate. Both loss of membership and cancellations of too many contests greatly have an effect on revenue. KCBS needs revenue to increase, not decrease. If elected, I will work to correct both of these areas. If there is not a committee already in place to work on these, we need to look into ways to follow up on non-renewals of membership, implement plans such as inviting potential judges to judge the ancillary contests, work with organizers to invite potential judges to attend their contests, etc. There needs to be a plan to have our current judge’s additional training possibly by a KCBS continuing education program. We may be losing judges because of lack of additional training and there needs to be a plan to obtain feedback from the judges who do not renew. After doing this, you will be able to determine what plans we need to develop to retain these members.
As judges, are we all still “Having Fun “? I remember sitting in on a KCBS class this past summer and the instructor reminded everyone to have fun and enjoy this great hobby.
As an organizer, I know the work it takes to have a successful contest and I will do follow up with organizers who have canceled contests. Our organizers instructions sheet needs to be looked at to see if we can do more to help make a contest successful. While there are other smaller issues, I believe these are the most important to enhance our sustainability and growth.
A smaller issue is the low voter turnout in the KCBS Board of Directors election, in the January 2018 election of board members, there were only 2624 who voted out of the approximately 19,000 eligible voters. More effort needs to be made to increase the numbers of voters in these elections.
There should not be a major challenge to obtaining the success of this plan, everyone should be on board in correcting the losses in membership and cancellations of contests.
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 implement a judge retraining program in order to have judging standards for all judges. All CBJ classes should always teach the current KCBS rules and regulations. Current judges should be encouraged to attend a CBJ class for a refresher course as the classes are free to all current judges to attend. Our KCBS reps could offer a brief session at contests (10-15 minutes) to go over any rules and regulations questions.
My long term goal is to grow membership. We do this by working more closely with organizers to ensure that their contests are successful and by additional training for judges, by obtaining feedback from non-renewals and possibly offering more CBJ classes.
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. Please understand that “whatever time is required” is not an acceptable answer. Executive Committee members typically volunteer 8-10 hours a month and Committee Chairs typically volunteer 3-5 hours a month. “No Report” often means no activity. Will you be an active board member or inactive board member?
As a retiree I have the time to devote to all KCBS activities. I will be available for any committee meetings, regular and special called BOD meetings.
I plan to attend at least 25 contests annually to stay in touch with my fellow judges. We learn from listening and I will solicit input from all judges, reps and cook teams. I not only have the time but I have the energy to represent KCBS as a BOD member.
As an organizer for a KCBS contest, we introduce new people to the KCBS world of BBQ as attendees of our annual festival. Promoting KCBS to the public is a great way to attract new judges and enhance our growth.
5. What new ideas would you have in regards to marketing or new ideas that would benefit membership?
The recruitment of younger members is needed to have a growth in membership, we need to offer more opportunities for the beginning cooks in our backyard division, we need to look at sanctioning an additional category, we need to have more Kids Que competition at contests, we need to offer a new organizer training program to ensure that their contests get off to a good start and use social media more in getting KCBS out to the public. We need to develop ways to encourage cook team members, pro and backyard, to become KCBS members. A TOY point system needs to be added for backyard cook teams. We should look at the concentration of judges in all states to determine if more judge classes may be needed. KCBS has done a good job in marketing in the past and we can help make it even better.
6. Please describe your previous participation in KCBS activities and years of experience.
Many years ago my grandfather would butcher hogs in the late fall and hang the meat in a smokehouse to cure over the winter. He would save one of the hogs to smoke in a pit and on a cool weekend evening a large dirt pit was dug and a fire was started with hickory logs and the hog was put in the pit to cook. The family was invited to attend and the grandchildren who were old enough sat up most of the night to attend the fire as the hog cooked all night. The next day we had the best BBQ feast ever and I have loved BBQ since those days. Then, twenty two years ago, a friend of mine nominated me to be a Jack Daniels Tennessee Squire and of course this prompted a visit to Lynchburg, Tennessee and the visit just happened to be the last Saturday in October when the world famous Jack Daniels BBQ contest was being held. As I walked by the cook teams with the aroma of hickory smoke in the air and seeing the judging area with judges sitting at tables judging BBQ, I had found a future hobby. At the time, my business prevented me from having a lot of free Saturdays. Then after I sold my business, I
found a KCBS Judge class and began looking for my first contest to judge.
Five years ago our Rotary Club was looking for a project to raise money for a local charity and I suggested that we have a sanctioned KCBS contest and I have been the organizer of this contest for the past 4 years.
My participation with KCBS consists of judging 100+ contests, I am a Master Judge, Table Captain and KCBS lifetime member. I have been a KCBS contest organizer for the past four years and I have been a sponsor/organizer of KCBS Judge and Table Captain Classes.
7. Please explain why you want to be a member of the KCBS Board of Directors.
I want to make positive changes to develop the growth of KCBS and its membership. I believe my business experience in addition to my experience
as a judge and contest organizer is an asset to being on the KCBS Board of Directors.
If elected, I will listen to all concerns of KCBS members and work with fellow board members to meet all challenges and set high goals for KCBS
in order for it to continue to be a successful organization.