Coop Board Members

Abigail Lee

Position: 
President
Abigail Lee

Co-op Member Since: 1988

Co-op Board Member Since: Initially in the 1990's and now again in 2013

What brought you to the Co-op?: What I appreciate most about the Co-op is its commitment to provide local, international and basic goods (at reasonable prices) to the community.

What can you contribute to the Co-op Board?: I have experience with not-for-profit organizations (from both the Board member and employee perspective.) I have organizational and system analysis skills and understand, from experience, the complexities of retail operations.

Laura Cordts

Position: 
Vice President

Co-op Member Since:   A long time!  I can remember packaging at the old Co-op on Market Street, by the bypass.  

Co-op Board Member Since: 2013What do you appreciate most about the Co-op?  The availability of healthy, local, and/or organic food, in a fun and friendly setting.

What brought you to the Co-op Board? I love the Co-op and want to make sure it remains viable in our community.  

What will you contribute to the Co-op and the Board? Well, I am certainly interested in food: growing it, cooking and baking it, and eating it!  I also have a keen interest in my own health and the health of our local economy and environment.  For more than 25 years I have worked in fund-raising, marketing, and public relations. I was a Board Member and past President of the Potsdam Chamber of Commerce, past-President of the Potsdam Rotary Club, and I am currently on the Potsdam Holiday Fund Board, so I know what it takes to be a volunteer-leader.   

Robin McClellan

Position: 
Treasurer
Robin McClellan

Co-op Member Since: 1973

Co-op Board Member Since: 2012

What brought you to the Co-op Board?: The Co-op has been an important part of my community since its inception. It has been through many changes and survived many challenges. As long as I have been in the North Country I have wanted to serve on the Board and this moment in time, when the Co-op is looking forward to the next 40 years, seems like the ideal moment to use the organizational and governance skills I’ve learned to make a difference. My hope for my tenure on the Board is to prepare the Co-op for the next generation of leadership so that it can serve coming generations as well as it has served mine.


Joseph Andriano

Position: 
Secretary

Co-op Member Since: 2013

Co-op Board Member Since: 2015

I am an Assistant Professor of Law at Clarkson University, where I teach law and ethics. For a year, I was a Core Worker in the Carriage House Bakery, doing everything from baking naan in the sandstone oven to making the sandwiches which are part of our wonderful deli department (my favorite is the Italian Press, by the way). I currently serve on the board of Traditional Arts in Upstate New York (TAUNY), and have extensive past non-profit experience including as a founding board member of Royalton Community Radio, a board member of Windsor County Partners (a youth mentoring organization in Windsor County, Vermont), and as Managing Director of Kingdom County Productions (a film and arts non-profit from Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom). I am an active member of the St. Lawrence County Freemasons, and am constantly working on a variety of civic projects around the region.

What will you contribute to the Co-op and the Board?: As mentioned above, I bring extensive non-profit experience to the Board of Directors. Additionally, I am a former attorney, and will bring an appreciation and understanding of the legal system to the board. Finally, I have a passion for food systems. I believe that food is one of the things that connect us as a community, and plan on bringing that outlook to my service.

Vanessa Bittner

Position: 
Board Member
Vanessa Bittner

 

Co-op Member Since: 2008

Board Member Since: 2010

Favorite Co-op Item: Local dairy products and deli items

What brought you to the Co-op Board?: As a source of healthy, responsibly produced and local food, the Potsdam Food Co-op is and has been a focal point for the community. I wanted to share my energy to help the Co-op meet new economic, cultural and demographic challenges.

What will you contribute to the Co-op and the Board?: I will contribute my unique perspective gained from volunteer experience in the U.S. and abroad, appreciation of the cooperative principles, and my belief in personal and group responsibility as a member of the Board. I support the expansion of local sourcing for both produce and value-added products, and reduction of food miles.

Mary Egan

Position: 
Board Member

 

Co-op Member Since: 2009

Co-op Board Member Since: 2011

What brought you to the Co-op Board?: I like the freshness of the food and that I am able to obtain products I cannot get in any other store. I had an instant interest in how the Co-op functions and to offer my services.

What can you contribute to the Co-op Board?: I worked in the retail business in a variety of department stores. I have experience in an office setting as Executive Secretary for the Sr. Vice President for Finance at Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center. I worked as an executive secretary for 17 years and then as a grant writer until retiring.

Erica LaFountain

Position: 
Board Member

Co-op Member Since: 1980s/2014

Co-op Board Member Since: 2015

What brought you to the Co-op Board?: I want to be more involved. I am proactive, and I care about the Co-op. As a mother of two young children I’ve decided not to hold a traditional job for the time being, so this is a welcome opportunity to apply myself in a different capacity.

What will you contribute to the Co-op and the Board?: I have experience with the co-op model, having participated in another food co-op as well as housing and childcare co-ops. I also have a background in organic farming, and I feel strongly about locally and directly sourcing everything we can. Perhaps I’m about the right age to connect with the younger Potsdam crowd, while being old enough to have nostalgia about the Co-op’s earlier iterations. I hope we can keep the Co-op solvent and relevant without sacrificing its character and mission.

Pamela Maurer

Position: 
Board Member
Pamela Maurer

 

Co-op Member Since: May 1985

Co-op Board Member Since: 2011 (previously Board chair 1988-1992)

What brought you to the Co-op Board?:   I have become more involved with the local food movement and want to be involved with its further growth through the Co-op's place in the community.

What can you contribute to the Co-op Board?:  I chaired the Potsdam Farmers Market board in 2010 and helped start the Be local, Buy local, Eat local campaign sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, which I served on the Board of for 5 years, including being the president. I organized the 1st Spring Fling and local hero's parade for the Summer Fest in 2009, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. I look forward to serving and helping to secure our local food future!

Rajiv Narula

Position: 
Board Member
Rajiv Narula

 

Co-op Member Since: June 2012; customer since Sep. 2005

Co-op Board Member Since:  June 2012

Favorite Co-op Item: Fresh, Equal Exchange, Organic and Healthy Food and other products; also international variety

What brought you to the Co-op Board?: Generally shopping there, attending events

What can you contribute to the Co-op Board?: I am an enthusiastic and dedicated member of the Potsdam-Canton community. Having recently graduated with a PhD from Clarkson University in Environmental Science and Engineering, I am currently an Assistant Professor at SUNY Canton's Science and Criminal Justice Department. My doctoral research on pathogen quantification and reduction in dairy operations took me out of the laboratory to interact and exchange knowledge with farmers, policy makers, government officials and engineers in the local area focused on adopting new sustainable technologies in farm management. Both my education and personal convictions compel me to promote a cleaner environment and wider availability of nutritional and organic foods in the local community. I share these goals with the Potsdam Co-op.

I am also actively involved with the Sustainable Living Project (SLP) and Local Living Festival, the Unitarian Universalist Church in Canton and Clarkson University organizations, and am a member of the board of Potsdam's CORC Thrift Store. Having grown up and studied in India and knowing 5 Indian languages has greatly expanded my understanding of different cultures. I believe that my strong organizational and communication skills, with diverse and intense academic, professional, and leadership experiences will make me a valuable asset to the Potsdam Co-op Board of Directors.

Eric Ochranek

Position: 
Board Member

Co-op Member Since: 2009

Co-op Board Member Since: 2015

What brought you to the Co-op Board?: I have a desire to work for the Co-op and give back to the community. I think this would be a great opportunity for me to accomplish that.

What will you contribute to the Co-op and the Board?: I have strong technical skills and was a critical part of the implementation of the membership card system, inventory tracking, and maintaining the Co-op’s online presence. I enjoyed doing all of that as part of the amazing team at the Co-op. I believe I offer a unique perspective as I’ve worked on the front-lines and as part of the back office. Since leaving the Co-op my technical skills have grown and I’ve earned a Master’s in Educational Technology. I support buying local, eating local, and the fair treatment of animals and humans along the way.

Martha Pickard Palmer

Position: 
Board Member

Co-op Member Since: 2012

Co-op Board Member Since: 2015

What brought you to the Co-op Board?: I was asked to run for the board and I think it is a very good fit for continuing my work in health and sustainable agriculture.

What will you contribute to the Co-op and the Board?: I am a Clinical Nutritionist recently hired at the hospital and my husband and I own and operate a small farm. Before I became a Clinical Nutritionist I worked for 10 years in the sustainable ag movement and worked closely with farmers and non -profit organizations like Heifer Project International.

Marie Richards

Position: 
Board Member

Co-op Member Since: 2011

Co-op Board Member Since: 2015

What brought you to the Co-op Board?: From the moment I was approached to various meetings/interviews with individuals prior to joining the committee I was taken in by their excitement, commitment and dedication to the co-op. Throughout my life I have been involved in various community groups and served on various boards. I would relish the opportunity to work with such a dedicated group that’s goal is to keep the co-op viable and affordable in the community.

What will you contribute to the Co-op and the Board?: I enjoy working with food and trying new recipes geared for a healthy life style. My background is 30 plus years in finance and I am employed as Assistant Controller at CPH. Over the years I have been involved in audits, budgets, employee benefits and expense reviews. I am a dedicated and committed person who will see a job through to the end.