Richard Vandermeulen



I was born in Rochester, NY. My parents and older brother came here from Holland in 1950. Dad ended up as a machine designer for Kodak’s paper handling division. Mom got to stay home back as was the norm while I was growing up. I grew up in what you would call an outer-suburban type of neighborhood. We had lots of open fields and woods to let imaginations run wild.

High school was Hilton Central in Hilton. NY. Nothing amazing just good teachers and good friends. While we played a lot of football in the backyard I was never one for sports teams at school. I did spend time both on and backstage doing shows.

After school I went into the Army. Basic was at Ft Sill, OK studying artillery fire direction control. I went from there to the 101st at Ft Campbell. While there I went on summer support to train National Guard units during their two week summer training. I also went to White Sands, NM to help test what was then new digital fire control systems. In 1980 I went to Ft Gordon, GA to signal school. I was an honor graduate from the telephone exchange repair class and became a repair supervisor for the Army’s Stuttgart Telephone Exchange. I left the service in 1986.

Life since then has been jobs in various industries currently as the receiver and quotes manager for an importer of electronic test equipment. I deal with individuals and corporate/ governmental customers and contracts.

General Campaign Platform

If elected I want to see what many other want to see. Growth, openness, and a stop to “Cook vs Judge” that we see on the internet. I will listen and learn what is going on and try to get that information out where it is proper to do so. Right now not being on the board it is almost impossible to say I am going to fix X by demanding they do Y. I am not afraid to ask the hard questions and try to look at issues from every angle. I was talking about this run with a friend and he said “I see you as pro team and pro judge.” This is not a time to take sides. The members of the board are there to guide KCBS but should never forget that we serve 20,000 members.

Q: Please explain why you want to be a member of the KCBS Board of Directors and the skills you possess which would make you an asset as a board member.

I want to be on the board because I think I can help with some of the rifts I see. The bashing and us vs them needs to stop. We need to grow KCBS in ways that make sense. I think that my ability to see problems in ways that others may not can bring fresh ideas to the challenges we are faced with. I wish I had concrete answers to all the questions out there but unless I see the framework within we have to work it is easy to over promise.

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

I have been a CBJ since 2013 and with about 48 contests am a MCBJ and CTC. I have worked every job in the tent expect the leftover table. I have been at both ends of box numbering and have had to unblind and sort those yellow cards we all love so much. I have cooked several ancillary and charity turn-ins along with helping cooks at several events. My wife and I arrive early and always try to stay for awards. We get out and meet teams and celebrate when they do well and have empathy when things don’t go as well as they hoped.

Q: As a board member, what do you believe are the major challenges currently facing KCBS?

Let’s start with membership retention, loss of contests, working to grow both contests and membership. I wish I had the magic wand answers to these. The loss of contests is perhaps one of the tougher ones. KCBS is a sanctioning body not the organizer. I saw another contest get cancelled just today as they could not get enough teams to be a qualifier. I know several folks who have held contests and several who no longer do. It is a much larger job than many folks think. Dealing with local governments, sponsors and a wealth of other details. I do not know what if any support KCBS has for them or we can work on offering. Yes, the website before I get hammered for not mentioning it. I have a feeling that there are details that we do not know but I do believe that KCBS wants a solution that can be afforded and performs the way that is needed. To think otherwise would be wrong. From what I have seen the judge sign-up troubles are both an IT issue and The fact that not every contest does or has to use the KCBS system. There will always be people who would rather go online and rant rather than look at the facts and offer constructive ideas.

Q: In dealing with these challenges, give an example of how your skills would serve the KCBS membership as a Director on the board.

I feel that my ability to see the overall picture and look for what might be call “unintended consequences” before we get too far down a path will help to bring a perspective to what the board has to do. I am sure that at times it must be like herding cats but if we put aside or are willing to adapt our personal stake and make decisions based on a broader point of view we can move forward as the BBQ family we all call ourselves.