Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes: October 1, 2016





Board of Trustees Meeting; Saturday, October 1, 2016


After due notice, a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Mad River Glen Cooperative was convened at 8:00 am on Saturday October 1st, 2016 on the third floor of the Base Box at the Mad River Glen Ski Area (MRG) in Fayston, Vermont.

In attendance: Board – Meg Hourihan, John Tobin, Jon Anderson, Annika Holtan, Matt Kenny, Deb Steines, Alan Bates and Eric Palola. Absent: Ron Shems 

Also present were Interim Leadership Team members Sharon Crawford, Eric Friedman, Nate Martin, and approximately 10 shareholders.


8:06 AM           Call to order
8:06 AM           Welcome & Shareholder Comments President Hourihan welcomed the assembled. Shareholder David Stein suggested the Board consider alternative energy sources and sustainability when planning for the future.

8:08 AM           Review & Approve Minutes of September 10, 2016 (Action) Motion to approve Minutes made by Trustee Holtan, 2nd by Trustee Steines, all in favor.

8:09 AM           Quad Team Report President Hourihan and Eric Freidman presented the report that is included at the end of the minutes.President Hourihan specifically thanked SMF for their quick and generous donations to help repair the slide  damage on Creamery and for new seat pads for the Single Chair.  She also stated that the Co-op has identified four candidates for the Interim Ski School Director position and would be holding interviews soon. Discussion ensued regarding Quad Team plans for the season, how to handle personnel issues and the value to the community of the Basebox being open this summer.  Trustee Holtan thanked Karen Derrick and the office staff for their hard work on Saturday September 30th. Many Shareholders realized they hadn’t spent their 2015-16 Mad Money and used it on MRG merchandise.  Special thanks were also given  to Betsy Jondro for her years of service to the Mountain.

8:15 AM           Finance Committee Report – NO REPORT (John Tobin) The fiscal year ended on September 30th and Treasurer Tobin plans to have final financial figures soon.

 8:21 AM           Fund Raising Committee Report (Annika)  Trustee Holtan shared the exciting news that the Campaign had exceeded the $2 million dollar mark. The committee continues to grow and now has over 40 volunteers. She reports SMF has been veryresponsive to grant requests and she is optimistic about the campaign’s success.


8:33 AM         Executive Search Committee Mission Statement Review & Approval (Action) ED/GM Job Description Review & Approval (Action) President Hourihan presented a draft Mission Statement for Review. She Chairs the Executive Search committee that currently consists of herself, Trustees Ron Shems, Deb Steines and past Board member John  Stetson. The Executive Search committee had engaged various members of the Co-op in crafting this document and intends to continue to work with the community as the process unfolds.  The complete Mission Statement is included at the end of the minutes.

Discussion ensued which included the composition of the committee and how to engage shareholders, employees, and others during the search process. The importance of broadcasting activity was also mentioned. This led to a motion. Motion to approve Recognition of Need and Mission Statement by Trustee Steines, 2nd Trustee Bates.  All in favor.

The Board continued with the Executive Director/GM Job Description Review. The committee presented a comprehensive job description that led to a lengthy discussion. Duration of the search, options on  advertising the position and determining a proper title for the position were reviewed.  This document is included at the end of the minutes.  Motion to approve the Draft ED/GM Job Description by President Hourihan, 2nd Trustee Steines. All in favor. 


9:10 AM         Snowmaking System Maintenance (Action) Mountain Manager and Interim Leadership Team member Nate Martin presented the Board with quotes from Royal Electric to do necessary repairs to the snowmaking electrical system. After reviewing the  options and the financial implications the board agreed to approve the work. Motion to approve $145,000 for electrical repairs to the snowmaking system by Trustee Steines, 2nd Trustee Palola. All in favor.


9:28 AM         Action Item Review Trustee Kenny agreed to Chair the Facilities Committee  Create MRG Organizational Review and Search Committee.  Completed No new action items.


9:35 AM         Executive Session


10:30 AM       Adjourn Motion to Adjourn by Trustee Steines, 2nd President Hourihan.

Respectfully submitted, Jon Anderson




Management Report Submitted for October 1, 2016 Board Meeting

Presented by: Sharon Crawford, Eric Friedman & Nate Martin


Mountain Ops

Lift #2 and #3 are all set for inspections scheduled for next Wednesday, October 5th.

The Callie’s Corner Handle Tow’s motor burned out recently. The guys were able to find a new one and it has turned out to be significantly less expensive than previously thought (about $500)

The slide damage on the Creamery from the rain event on Tuesday August 16 is pretty much completed.  Fabric has been laid above the slide, the damage to Broadway was fixed and seeded and grass is already growing. The Mountain Ops Team would like to thank the Stark Mountain Foundation for their generous support in helping to mitigate the impacts of this event. The funds were utilized for man-power, netting and other materials. The Mountain Ops team spent much of the month doing line work on the lifts in preparation for inspections.

New seat pads have been ordered and will be arriving well before the start of ski season. Again, thanks to the Stark Mountain Foundation for making this possible. Our skier’s butts will be thankful especially on the snowy and wet days.

Nate has been meeting with the electrical contractor, getting pricing and scheduling in an effort to make sure the system is safe to operate as we head into the snowmaking season.

Nate has been reviewing the Cap Ex plan to ensure that the plans are clear, complete and ranked by priority.

Work will begin on the Basebox roof the week of October 8th.



Sharon has been busy dealing with the administrative issues regarding the current transition. Preparing for the audit Preparing for Green & Gold Presentation & Board Meeting Monthly reconciliations for shares and mountain ops Ongoing AP & AR Processing daily deposits


Share Sales August was a good share sales month with 6 new shares sold giving us a total of 27 for FY16 YTD. As of 9/30 we have also sold another 3 shares in September. That gives us a total of 30 for the FY not bad compared to the 29 we sold in FY 2015 which folks may recall was a bit better snow-wise.  Our budget for share sales in FY16 is 30 so we achieved that goal on the very last day of the fiscal year.  Eric has begun a new effort to reach out to new shareholders and welcome them and gauge what it was that encouraged them to buy their shares. Hopefully we can use this information to improve share sales going forward.  Here is the detail;


Ticket Office Preseason sales and APR payments are coming in and are all entered into the point of sale. Most of the orders are coming via USPS and being paid for by check. A few online orders are coming in, but that will (won’t?) pick up until the last week of September. YTD income (through 9/29) we are at $302,297 as opposed to $305,633 for same period last year. This represents a 1.1% variance – not too shabby as we projected 10-15% off of last year – let’s hope we keep tracking like this.


Marketing A last minute reminder to season pass and Mad Card customers from last year is going out on October 3 to encourage pre-season purchases prior to the October 15 deadline. The regular Season Pass mailing went out as scheduled on September 1. Pass sales are 3.4% behind last season YTD while Mad Cards are up by 1%. Eric attended a Ski Vermont Media Reception in New York City and made some solid media contacts. Some of the most important contacts were on the digital and blogging front, clearly a trend.

College Pass sales are being handled by the Sugarbush team with part time help from Ry Young. He is paid by MRG and that money is factored into the overall marketing costs of the college pass program.

Eric and Ry will be attending various ski shop sales (Alpine Shop, Ski Rack, Middlebury Mountaineer, , club events, ski movie nights and other off-premise sales opportunities throughout the fall selling season.

Continuing to make the rounds to various local businesses doing the normal pre-season outreach and check-ins. Meeting business owners, distributing brochures, snow report posters, etc…

Ongoing communications & Social Media Efforts

Eric did a presentation at the NSAA Conference at Sunday River, Maine on Sept 13-15. He was invited to speak and participate on a panel discussion about “Tribal Loyalty”. The presentation was very well received. While at the conference Eric attended an all-day seminar on Risk management and came away with some great ideas that he is sharing with John Ayers our Ski Patrol Director and Risk Manager. Also made some important contacts within the Risk Management community.


Ski Patrol In the rush to close down in March for budget reasons the patrol was let go early and did not get a chance to strip the mountain and put away their equipment properly. Patrol Director, John Ayers, is hoping to brought back in for some time this fall to get prepped for the season. We will be in discussions with him to figure out the costs and the timing for this. This was an expense that was merely shifted from spring to fall and does not represent additional budgeted expenses and simply needs to be done.


Basebox General Stark’s Pub has been running its regular off-season dinner schedule and it will continue serving dinners Thursday to Sunday through Columbus Day weekend. They will also be serving lunch on the Monday of Columbus Day. We are closing out our 5th year of the Pub being open during the off-season. The expanded days and hours are beginning to gain in popularity and consistency. Friday’s Fish Fry is always the most popular of the dinner specials. Saturdays and Thursday have improved but can be inconsistent. Sunday Brunch and Sunday nights have also been inconsistent. It seems like if one does well the other suffers. Proper staffing levels are always a challenge and that is a big consideration going forward. Management plans to have a debriefing/post mortem on the operation in late October where final end-of-season financials are reviewed with an eye towards creating an operational plan for next Summer/Fall.  Final results and future plans will be detailed in subsequent management reports.

After a very successful inaugural event last year we will once again be hosting a Ski Season Launch Party on Saturday December 10th. Rumor has it that Santa Claus himself will be coming to MRG and kids (of all ages) will have the opportunity to sit with St. Nick’s on the  Single Chair from 3-5 PM. Then folks can enjoy dinner and libations in General Stark’s Pub. The evening will climax with a performance by The Grift, MRG’s favorite apres ski band! A new AV/Audio system has been set up on the 3rd floor of the Basebox by a Co-op shareholder who works for us on trade. This weekend’s meetings are the test run for the new system. Going forward it will be beneficial for meetings, movies and other activities on the 3rd floor.


Ski School The search for an Interim Ski School Director is underway. A job description was created and a panel of interviewers has been established. It includes Eric Friedman, John Ayers and Eric Palola. We have four candidates that will be interviewed in the coming week and the hope is to have the position hired by the middle to end of October

Leigh Clark, the Assistant Director has been coming in once or twice a week to begin prepping for the upcoming season. She is reaching out to staff, ensuring forms and information are correct and setting things up for another successful season.


Retail Shop  Gross sales for the month of September were $19,125 compared to $13, 163 in September of 2015. Interestingly the on-line sales represented $7,944 as opposed to $4,667 for the same period last year.  Online sales accounted for nearly 40% of sales this past month up from about 35% in 2015.

September 30th was the last day on the job for Betsy Jondro and as of today Karen Derrick will take the reins as Manager. We’d like to thank her for her years of service to the mountain. She has done a remarkable job starting and growing the retail operation, for selecting and training Karen and leaving the General Store in good hands.



Executive Search Committee

DRAFT Recognition of Need and Mission Statement The MRG Board of Trustees recognizes that:


The Board of Trustees is responsible for oversight, engagement and hiring of Cooperative management, per Article § 4.1;

The position of General Manager is vacant and needs to be filled;

The Board wishes to conduct a comprehensive search to find candidates to best meet the Cooperatives present and future needs; and

The General Manager job description may have to be amended to best meet the Cooperative’s present and future needs,

Therefore, the MRG Board of Trustees authorizes the formation of this Search Committee with the stated mission to:

Draft a job description and title for the Board’s approval;

Conduct a diligent, nation-wide search for potential candidates;

Recommend a salary range and structure to the Board;

Review resumes and CVs;

Establish committee(s) for and conduct initial candidate interviews;

Actively engage with shareholders, employees and other stakeholders during the process

Recommend candidates for interview(s) and selection by the Board;

Keep the Board informed and make regular reports at Board meetings; and

Work in a timely and diligent manner. 

The Committee shall be chaired by President Meg Hourihan and consist of Trustees Deb Steines, and Ron Shems, and past-President John Stetson.  The Search Committee shall include staff and other Owners in its work.

The Executive Search Committee shall cease when the Board hires for the vacant General Manager position, or when the Board disbands the Committee.


Mad River Glen Executive Director/General Manager Job Description Board Approved – Draft


GENERAL PURPOSE: the Executive Director/General Manager is committed to executing the mission statement of Mad River Glen: to protect forever the classic Mad River Glen skiing experience by preserving low skier density, natural terrain and forests, varied trail character, and a friendly community atmosphere for the benefit of its shareholders, personnel, and patrons. This position must recognize Mad River’s differences from most of the ski industry, with its minimal snowmaking, and land-development plans.  ED/GM must be able to relate to our vision, purpose, culture, and cooperative ownership, and have the ability to manage and direct this medium-size area with a national reputation. The ED/GM reports to and works with a nine-member Board of Trustees.


LEADERSHIP, MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATIONAL – the ED/GM is the leader of the Mad River Cooperative and must represent him or herself as such.  This position is responsible for supervising and integrating all areas of operations, including food service, ski school, nursery, marketing, retailing, development, and patrol into a coherent package.  Develop and implement management practices and teams. Must have the ability to recognize the need for specific policies and management initiatives, and make appropriate recommendations to the Board.  ED/GM must represent the area to a diverse internal and external constituency.

PERSONNEL/PEOPLE DEVELOPMENT – responsible for all hiring decisions of senior management team. Recruits, supports, develops, and retains highly qualified professionals committed to furthering the mission of the organization. Direct all other hiring and termination practices of all operations.   Develop and maintain a high level of trust and loyalty within all levels of the organization. Develop and maintain a succession plan for all key positions.  Develop and implement employment policies and practices, and recommend policies to the Board.

CUSTOMER SERVICE – ED/GM must maintain relationships with all shareholders, donors and customers.  Patience and professionalism are key ingredients to maintaining good customer service with all that frequent MRG.  ED/GM must be visible and accessible to all customers all year long.

COMMUNICATIONS – must have strong interpersonal and communication skills, both written and oral. Interaction with staff is critical for continued operation viability. Able to maintain ongoing communication with the Board Executive Committee as well as all nine members as needed.  Must keep the Board informed of any sensitive as well as any ongoing issues that need to be monitored.

STRATEGIC PLANNING – collaborates with staff, Board of Trustees, and other key leaders to develop long-range plans for the organization, with concrete objectives and measurable outcomes.  Develops metrics to measure long-term progress, financial sustainability and stability for the organization. Acts as principal staff spokesperson regarding organization goals, policies and activities.

PHYSICAL MOUNTAIN OPERATIONS – must have the ability to supervise and understand all aspects of mountain operations. The physical conditions of lifts, equipment, grooming, etc. are extremely important to the continued consistent and safe operation of the mountain, especially in season.  Must be creative in determining the best means of operating and keeping the mountain open while ensuring the safety of the employees and patrons.Must also have project management skills to oversee construction projects such as lifts and buildings. This would include but not limited to organizing bids, building budgets, and handling regulatory requirements associated with project.


FISCAL MANAGEMENT– Manage financial planning, reporting, budgeting, sustainability, and projections as required by the Board.  Maintain positive and open relationships with all financial institutions required for MRG operations.  Manage all department financial objectives and work with individual departments heads to achieve Co-op objectives as defined by the Board.  Ability to determine long-term business and capital plans and work with the Board on strategic planning.   Must be proactive regarding cost control and determining creative solutions.  This position impacts the bottom line and must be sensitive to this at all times.

FUNDRAISING/DEVELOPMENT-Works with the board, campaign committee, and others to set and reach fundraising and development goals.  Establishes relationships with major donors and other key stakeholders to further develop resources, and maintain and preserve Mad River Glen.

MARKETING – Mad River’s revenues are derived from both shareholders and non-shareholders.  Ability to understand and evaluate marketing plans as developed by the Marketing Manger in a very competitive environment.  Manage and participate in on-going efforts to increase cooperative membership.  Strong interpersonal skills are necessary to maintain a balance of communications with the shareholder population, a very delicate and important aspect of the position. While nurturing the ownership of Mad River Glen the ED/GM must be aware of current trends and issues in the ski business.

EXTERNAL RELATIONS – actively participate and manage MRG’s involvement in community-related activities including but not limited to the banks, Chamber, Sugarbush, local lodges and inns, and other community organizations.


Degree in business or ski related field

Ten or more years of experience in the ski industry, business, or a related field;

Must be an expert skier that enjoys skiing with staff daily;

Financial savvy, strong analytical financial and budgeting skills.

Passion for Mad River Glen and the its mission;

Comfort with public speaking and presentations;

Able to work collaboratively with a diverse group of people;

Strong marketing, public relations, and fundraising experience;

Excellent managerial, people and supervisory skills;

Strong management skills are required to manage and direct ongoing work and major projects simultaneously, be able to multi-task;

Strong interpersonal and communication skills, oral and written;

Excellent customer service skills;

Ability to make decisions and handle crisis situations calmly and visibly; and

Patience and professionalism.

This statement of duties is for identifying this position.  It does not detail all of the duties required of the position.

SCOPE: Reports to nine-member Mad River Co-operative Board of Trustees.

Positions reporting directly to this position:

Twelve full -time and seasonal Department heads,

Approximately 200 seasonal employees

Magnitude Revenue – $2.5–$3 million  Expenses – $2.5-$2.8 million     Capital Plan – $0 – $2.0 million Fundraising – current campaign $6.5 – $8.5 Million

The Executive Director/General Manger is an “at will” position.