Coop Board Meeting, June 2011

Piedmont Biofuels Co-op Board Meeting Minutes June 6, 2011

In attendance: Carol Hewitt, Brian Gullette, Lyle Estill, Beth Turner, Joe Cole
Absent: Stephan Caldwell (wife is in labor), William Bettmann

1. Officers elected =

President: Brian Gullette
Vice-President: Beth Turner
Treasurer: Carol Hewitt
Secretary: Joe Cole

2. The Co-op will return the 10% share of Piedmont Biofarm to Doug Jones.

3. The Board asks Will Bettmann to step down for non-attendance.

Local Lunch Friday at Noon at Piedmont Industrial. Opportunity for Board members

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to meet with staff.

Monday, July 25, 6 PM, Carolina Brewery in Pittsboro

DISCUSSION: Wilmington Update
Lyle has been working to set up a pump in Wilmington. Lyle is working with momentum from former Cape Fear Coop members and encouragement from new Coop Board. Funding is coming from 50/50 cost share with Clean Cities, DOE grant, and loan to cover the $25k facility. The facility includes pump plus insulated shed with 1200-gallon tank. Location is on Oleander Road at Progressive Gardens. Lyle received zoning approval, the builder has prefab materials ready, and the owner of the lot has approved.

There are a few business issues pertaining to use of the property remaining to be worked out with Progressive Gardens, and Lyle may recommend a conference call to include Brian, our Coop President, if further conversation about the benefits of working together is warranted.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS: Membership and Grease Collection
1. Approximately 306 members, though probably a higher number of drivers using the memberships.
2. Are we collecting grease in Wilmington? No, too much cost of transportation. Right now PBI is focusing on expanding collection in Greensboro and Sanford.
3. Membership renewals are less than 100%, so we need recruitment to maintain membership levels, and hopefully increase as well.
4. Gift Certificates: used by PBI as Rewards and Apologies. Goal is for every member to get one this year.
5. How about a $5 referral reward for members who recruit new members? Lyle will talk with McCayne about managing the accounting for that kind of system.
6. Rewarding individual members for recruiting more restaurants is hard to manage. Contest is working on that, and has increased interest.
7. Can we organize membership to ask specific restaurants to participate in Piedmont’s grease collection? Increasing the number of voices could have a bigger impact on the restaurant’s decision.
8. Should Board set a goal for a membership drive this summer? Some liked the idea of numerical goals, while others preferred an open commitment to increasing membership numbers.
9. Grease Police mobilization on legislation was successful in activating membership. Looks like the pressure will be effective in the Legislature to avoid a bad bill.
10. Marketing? PBI doesn’t buy ads because of expense, though were in the Indy’s Green Guide last month. PBI does attend festivals like Shakori Hills, Ribfest (upcoming in Winston-Salem), and Festival for the Eno in Durham this summer.

Our discussion of the role of the board generated the following thoughts and ideas on our role:
· Serve coop membership
· Blaze trail for B100
· Increase convenience
· Increase profitability
· Recruit members
· Foster partnership with Industrial
· Balance communitarian interests with commercial interests
· Gain members
· Retain members (improve customer service)
· Upgrade technology to manage a dynamic community of advocates

We brainstormed throughout the meeting, and generated many ideas for improving service, communication, and information.
a. Web Suggestion box for membership
b. Put courtesy cards in PDF file for members to download and print
c. Add Myth Busting and Biodiesel Facts to back of courtesy cards
d. Show membership who is giving grease to PBI—online map, cell phone apps
e. Competition/Contests/Incentives for current members to recruit new members
f. Myth busting on conversion, warranty, mechanics
g. Spread info on BQ 9000 Certification to pitch our great Coop and its high quality supplier
h. NC Farm Bureau—do we have a relationship already? Yes, Lyle is networked with NCFB. Could be helpful to submit an article on the Coop and Biodiesel for the NCFB monthly magazine (Joe will investigate.)
i. Know Your Membership: Community Pages on website for members to tell us who they are
j. Connect to other online communities like TDI club (Brian is active)
k. Video online of Lyle, Where is the Grease in your neighborhood? Also could create a Myth Busting video and a How To Be a Coop Member video
l. Apps for Piedmont Biofuels: maps to show B100 trail, show restaurants who give grease; Brian knows folks at Appubator that work on this technology
m. More social meet ups for members
n. More advance notice of Grease Appreciation nights

(Note: We did not discuss plans for implementation or make commitments on these ideas, so perhaps we can do that at upcoming meetings. And Board members can volunteer to take any of these projects on in between meetings.)

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