Board of Directors

Board of Directors—Elections

PFC Board of Directors

2017 Elections

PFC’s board is made up of nine directors. This year we have three open seats and three candidates. Each membership may submit one ballot for candidates with either La Crosse or Rochester affiliation.

Director elections and bylaw approval begin 9 a.m. Friday December 1, and end at 10 p.m. Monday, December 11.

Vote online!
(but paper ballots are also available)

Members are strongly encouraged to vote electronically, but paper ballots will be available upon request.

  • Look for a postcard in November that will include instructions for voting.
  • Paper ballots may be requested after November 30 by calling the phone number on the postcard.
  • For any member needing internet access, a computer is available at Customer Service for voting, starting December 1.
  • Deadline for registering your email for electronic voting is 11:59 p.m., Saturday, December 9.
  • Voting begins 9 a.m. on Friday, December 1, and closes at 10 p.m. on Monday, December 11. Paper ballots must be postmarked by December 11.

Please read the board candidates’ full statements below.


bylaw change proposal

In 2016, member-owners voted in our annual election to make changes to PFC bylaws. A summary of proposed changes were made available for review by members in the PFC November 2016 newsletter. However, we did not provide PFC members the opportunity to respond to proposed changes ahead of the ballot, at a meeting with that explicit purpose.

PFC Board of Directors chose a course of action to remedy this oversight:

1 – to notify members of the issue, with publication of exact language (published in May/June 2017 Shopper)

2 – extend opportunity for feedback to members at November 2017 meeting (4:00 p.m., November 30, La Crosse Board room)

3 – officially ratify the changes on the 2017 ballot (balloting begins December 1)

Notice: A Special Member Meeting will be held at 4:00 p.m. on November 30, 2017, in the La Crosse Board room, to hear concerns regarding the official modifications of Bylaws II and VII.

Bylaw II: Fiscal Year. This change is intended to make the bylaw match our practice. The current bylaw ends the fiscal year by a different determination than we use. There will be no change to our current financial system.

Approved on 2016 ballot: The fiscal year for the Cooperative will end on the last Sunday of September per the 52-53 week year as set by the IRS Tax Code.

Bylaw VII 3c: Voting. This change is intended to create a short time period between the registration of the member’s email address and the ability to cast a vote during an election. This currently requires 10 days lead time; we are changing it to one business day.

Approved on 2016 ballot: Members may vote via electronic ballot. A member must provide a verifiable email address of such member to the Cooperative by prescribed process no fewer than 1 (one) business day prior to the last day of the election (or have a valid email address on file with the Cooperative) in order to vote electronically in any election or vote. Electronic ballots shall be deemed signed and cast upon electronic transmission to the Cooperative in accordance with voting instructions. The Board may establish such additional policies it deems necessary to conduct and assure accurate member voting via electronic ballot.

If you have any questions or concerns about the bylaw changes, please contact us at Members are welcome to attend any regular board meeting (see schedule published on inside cover and at Directors are pictured at the community bulletin board in each store, along with the notice of board meetings.

Candidate Statements

Verna Simon

1. Reason for running

I am completing my first term as a member of the PFC Board of Directors and I would like the opportunity to continue to apply what I have learned in these 3 years. I enjoy the energy and camaraderie of this board because I know we are united in building a better co-op experience in both stores. Personally, I have grown more passionate about working within the community to grow the membership and see this co-op thrive. In these troubled times, we need every opportunity to build healthy positive community relationships, and being an active member of the People’s Food Co-op is an excellent place to start.

2. Skills

  • I am methodical in troubleshooting.
  • I prioritize well and have good organizational skills.
  • I am empathetic and open-minded and I enjoy collaborating with others on projects.
  • I am diplomatic but certainly not afraid to speak up when necessary.
  • I have excellent communication skills and I am willing to meet with people in our community.

3. Relevant experience

I am presently on the PFC Board of Directors, serving as the board Secretary. I am also the President of the Crimson Ridge Townhome Community Board of Directors which requires me to regularly field homeowner concerns and convey that information to our property manager and our vendors. I am employed as a Lead Technologist/Senior Research Technologist 2 in the Genome Analysis Core Facility at Mayo Clinic where I function as both scientist and customer service representative. Finally, since 2009, I have helped organize an annual food drive for Channel One, collecting almost 1500 pounds of food and toiletries.

4. Challenges for PFC

It is still true that the PFC, especially in Rochester, needs to continue to attract and retain younger and more culturally diverse customers. It should continue to be welcoming to all and it should position itself as a premier healthy grocer and gathering space in downtown Rochester. With the Mayo Clinic funded Destination Medical Center on the horizon, we have a tremendous opportunity to flourish even as we are dealing with substantial competition in the grocery market.

5. Potential opportunities for PFC

The cooperative should stay focused on the original mission of being best venue for earth-, body- and soul-friendly items. We need to continue to attract students and young professionals by offering new options for shopping (examples such as on-line ordering and grocery delivery come to mind); and we absolutely must continue to engage domestic and international communities of Color. The PFC is doing a good job, but we can always do more and be better.


Andrea Niesen

1. Reason for running

I have been a member of the Rochester co-op since the store moved to its current location. Shopping at the co-op is important to my family. We are trying to raise our children to think about our food—educating ourselves on the nutritional aspects and where the food is grown/produced. I am motivated to run for the board, as I believe I would be able to provide insight on how to help the co-op connect with the next generation of members, our children. I would be honored to work with a group of individuals of diverse backgrounds and perspectives to promote the co-op mission. In applying for board membership, I offer my professional knowledge and skills, as I have been an attorney in Rochester for over 13 years.


2. Skills

  • I consider all perspectives and rationales before making a decision. If I feel that someone’s opinion has not been adequately heard and considered by the group, I will intervene to allow that person to be heard, even if that opinion seems contrary to my own. Everyone deserves a voice.
  • My communications are tailored to ensure accurate messaging to the listener.
  • I have the ability to resolve disputes in a way that fosters future collaborations.
  • I am able to review legal documents and handle personnel/employment matters to ensure full compliance with the law.

3. Relevant experience

I have been an attorney in Rochester for the past 13 years, after starting my legal career in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A majority of my practice is handling employment law matters.

I am currently the treasurer of the St. Francis of Assisi Home and School Association. I sat on the Make A Wish of Minnesota executive board for five years and continue to volunteer for this organization as a southeast Minnesota wish granter.

4. Challenges for PFC

The most obvious challenge the co-op faces is competition from other grocery organizations/companies in the community; however, the co-op has a unique mission, offering more to its members than the competitors can. The co-op must continually work for diversity in its members and reach all socioeconomic groups in the community. Finally, we cannot forget to involve the children in our community, as the children are our future members.

5. Potential opportunities for PFC

  • I would like to see the co-op continue to partner with more producers outside of Minnesota to allow our members to connect with diverse peoples, unique products, and stories from beyond our own community.
  • The co-op should support more community building and networking opportunities between members to ensure a sense of belonging and commitment to the co-op.
  • The mission of the co-op should be promoted through connection with children and schools in our community. Educating the next generation of members will ensure long-term viability and help to create a healthier community.

Laurie Logan

1. Reason for running

I like to be involved in my community and look for ways to be useful. My interest in health, for myself and community, along with my love of food, make the co-op the perfect organization to be involved with. Working with teams to accomplish goals that affect a community gives me satisfaction! Twenty-four years of People’s Food Co-op membership gives me confidence that PFC has a structure and culture where my efforts will not be wasted.


2. Skills

  • Ability to work efficiently in meetings, including focusing on current agenda items, listening to others, and synthesizing opinions
  • Analytical thinking, including understanding potential ramifications of decisions
  • Practice developing quality improvement plans
  • Ability and willingness to carefully study information

3. Relevant experience

  • Board member Three Rivers Waldorf School, 2006–09, board president 2007–09
  • Board member La Crosse GirlChoir, 2012–15, board president 2013–15
  • Family Physician, Mayo Clinic Health System, 1993–present
  • Extensive involvement in quality improvement activities including quality, access, and patient satisfaction while working in Sparta, 1993–2001
  • Currently serving as Ambulatory Quality Outcomes Director for Mayo Clinic Health System, Southwest Wisconsin Region

4. Challenges for PFC

  • Competition from local grocery stores with improved selection of organic, specialty, and gourmet products
  • Increased online shopping for groceries
  • Economic changes (lower unemployment), social and political movement creating increase in labor costs
  • Increasing diversity of beliefs about constituents of a healthy diet creating demand for ever-widening selection of products

5. Potential opportunities for PFC

  • Decline in cooking and interest in prepared foods provides opportunity for selling items with higher profit margins
  • Minimal other options for healthy prepared foods exist in the La Crosse area
  • Improving economy makes PFC products more affordable for more people
  • Excellent reputation as purveyor of healthy food provides opportunity of joining with community organizations for nutrition and food preparation education
  • Increased awareness of local food, increased number of local producers, and current PFC relationships provide opportunity for growth