Board of Directors

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As the next annual Frontier Co-op Board of Directors elections approach, we want to offer our members the opportunity to participate in this summer's election not only as voters, but as candidates as well.

If you are considering being a candidate for the Frontier Co-op Board of Directors, please read carefully the Board candidate information below. If you need additional information, we are happy to have you email us.

To apply to be a Board candidate, please submit your resume and a brief cover letter explaining your interest in the Board to our Nominating Committee at: Board Nominating Committee; Frontier Co-op; P.O. Box 299; Norway, IA 52318

You may also submit your resume and cover letter via email.

The deadline for submissions is February 1st. The Nominating Committee submits its recommended slate of candidates to the full Board for approval in April, and member voting begins in July.

Frontier Co-op Board Candidate Information

Both the Board and Management Team appreciate your interest in being a member of the Frontier Co-op Board of Directors. The goal of the Nominating Committee is to provide members with a slate of candidates that reflects a broad range of experience in areas such as finance, business management, organic agriculture, co-op organization and the natural products industry. Your participation helps us find the best possible candidates to ensure effective governance, financial oversight, and strategic support for Frontier.

Eligibility: Per Frontier's bylaws, candidates must be "formally associated with a member organization which may include being a member, shareholder, director, trustee, officer, employee, partner or proprietor." Additionally, "no Director shall be associated with interests adverse to Frontier."

Board Make-up: The Board is made up of nine people, six member-elected Directors, two at-large Directors selected by the Board and an automatic position of Management Director filled by Frontier's CEO.

Meetings: There are three in-person meetings per year, two held at company headquarters in Iowa and the other at a location to be determined. Phone conference calls are scheduled five times with additional calls as needed.

Committees: There are three standing committees: audit, governance and executive. Board members are required to participate in at least one standing committee.

Terms: Member-elected Directors have three-year terms and at-large Directors have two-year terms. Terms are staggered so approximately the same number of Directors are elected each year. Terms begin 20 days after voting ends.

Compensation: A yearly stipend is provided, and travel, meals and other Board-related expense are reimbursed.

Timeline: The Board Nominating Committee finalizes nominations in April and voting begins in July.

2021 Board Candidate Criteria

Candidates with a history of establishing strategic direction and guiding organizational development for companies or other entities

Candidates with e-commerce background/experience

Candidates that maintain or grow diversity, and skills on the board

Candidates with proven analytical judgment, problem solving and leadership capability

Successful candidates must have the following fundamental capabilities:

  • Solid grasp of fundamental financial principles
  • Ability and commitment to participate in meetings and lead projects, both at the board and committee levels
  • Candidates that are aligned with Frontier’s mission and values, and have experience with mission driven companies
  • Good communication and team work skills
  • Connection to Frontier Co-op in some way – stock holder, member of buying group, etc. (added June 13, 2016)

Frontier Co-op Board of Directors Updates 2019-2020:

  • September 2019: Leah Bailey fell off the board due to a conflict of interest.  In December, the board voted to move Dean LaVallee, who was previously an At-Large Director, into Leah’s Patron seat.
  • February 2020: The Board of Directors appointed Sarah Bird to fill the empty At-Large position.
  • September 2020: Jesse Singerman, our most tenured board member, retired from the board. Deb Eschmeyer was elected to replace her in her Patron seat. Pedro Garcia was also re-elected to his Patron seat, and Kevin Malchoff was re-appointed to his At-Large position.

The current members of the Frontier Board of Directors are:

Lindy Bannister Lindy is currently Regional Director for the Independent Natural Food Retailers Association. From 2005 to 2012, she was the General Manager of The Wedge Community Coop (a long-time Frontier member) in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She held a number of food-related jobs previous to that, including owning her own restaurant on Vancouver Island in Canada and working in conventional grocery for 21 years, eventually running stores for Albertsons and HEB across the western US and in Texas. Her commitment to cooperatives is an expression of her personal business ethic of treating everyone fairly and doing the right thing without calculation, "just because it is the right thing."

Tony Bedard (Management Director, Treasurer, Secretary) Tony came to Frontier Co-op in 1991 and subsequently held positions of increasing responsibility in Operations. He has been Frontier's CEO since 2003. Prior to joining the company, Tony was a Production Manager with Winnebago Industries. Tony holds a B.A. from the University of Northern Iowa and an M.S. in Manufacturing Management from the GMI Engineering & Management Institute.

Sarah Bird
Sarah is fueled by a passion for doing well and doing good.  Prior to Beyond Broth, Sarah was CEO of Bhakti, Inc., the #1 selling chai in the natural channel.  Before that, Sarah had a variety of sales and marketing leadership roles:  Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at Three Twins Organic Ice Cream; Chief Commercial Officer at Ecologic (sustainable packaging company); CMO at Annie’s, Inc. (from when Annie’s was a small mac and cheese company thru its IPO and up to the General Mills acquisition).  Sarah began her career with marketing roles at Frito Lay, followed by Nestle and then PowerBar.  Sarah loves all things outdoors – her passions are running, hiking, sailing and skiing.   She also loves to cook and lose herself in a great book while savoring a cup of Beyond Broth

Debra Eschmeyer Debra has dedicated her career to building a healthy, delicious, and sustainable food system. She advises organizations on how to build paths to transform our health and planet through food. Eschmeyer is also a Senior Fellow and Head of Innovation at the Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems at Arizona State University. She most recently served as the Vice President of Communications & Community Affairs for Danone North America. She also served in the Obama White House as Executive Director of Let’s Move!, a public health initiative created by First Lady Michelle Obama, which focused on supporting healthy kids and families.

Pedro Garcia Pedro is a financial and strategic advisor to leading companies in the natural and organic products industry. He attended Princeton University and has spent the last 19 years working in business finance, mostly in national and international firms. He has worked as a partner in his own firm during the last ten years, focusing on natural and organic food companies. Pedro and his wife Karen live in Brooklyn, New York with their two young girls — Sophie (13), and Claire (11).

Dean LaVallee Dean has more than 25 year’s experience in the food industry spans, including leadership roles in accounting, financial planning and analysis, and manufacturing. Since 2011 he has been Chief Financial Officer responsible for Finance and Information Systems for Blue Diamond Growers, the world's largest grower-owned almond cooperative. Blue Diamond, which is headquartered in Sacramento, California, has grown to $1.7 billion in sales, doubling in revenue since 2011. Dean holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, and the professional accounting designations CPA and CMA. He currently lives in El Dorado Hills, California, with his wife Cheryl.

Kevin Malchoff Kevin grew up in Sodus, New York — a small farming town on the shores of Lake Ontario — where his first job (at age 8) was picking cherries for 50 cents a pail. He went on to receive a BS in Agricultural Economics and then an MBA in Marketing from Cornell University. He worked in food marketing and food service for 43 years until his retirement. In 1981, he began work at Rich Products Corporation, a $250M family-owned frozen food company. During Kevin's 37 years in leadership roles at Rich’s, the company grew to become one of the largest family-owned frozen food companies in the world with sales of more than $3.5 billion. After retirement, Kevin remains on Rich's Board of Directors and is active in numerous agricultural and educational organizations.

Phil Meldrum Phil began his professional career in 1979 managing a specialty food store and has worked in the culinary field ever since. In 1996 Phil founded FOODMatch to distribute healthful, authentic, responsibly produced Mediterranean food. FOODMatch is still family owned and operated and has become the preeminent producer and importer of Mediterranean olives, antipasti and ingredients in the United States. Phil is closely involved in community organizations that fight hunger and promote healthy eating, such as urban pantries and community outreach centers.

Tom Stokes (President) Tom has worked in the food industry for 43 years, with most of that time spent at Tree Top, Inc., a farmer-owned cooperative fruit processor headquartered in the state of Washington. Tom was CEO of Tree Top for 15 years and had Board/Leadership involvement in many industry organizations, including Grocery Manufacturers Association, Juice Products Association, US Apple Association, Apple Processors Association and NW Food Processors Association. He lives in Central Washington with his wife Lynda. They have four children and six grandchildren.