Board Meeting Minutes, May 21, 2023

In Attendance:

Gail Milburn 
Dennis Mitchell
Mark Hibberd
Andrew Luberto
Brian Cooper
Omer Basha
Sandy Cockerham
James Foster
Sal Mortillaro
Fred Mullner


Meeting Agenda:


  • New IT System Update


      • Dennis recapped current status
      • Dennis has been spearheading the IT system update
        • Has been speaking with Andreas Torres in LatAm who has a team to do the work and is ready to start.  Dennis spoke about his qualifications  They signed a work contract this past week. 
        • They hope to build most of the new system in about 2 months.  This will not be a phased in update, all at once. The goal is to create a more automated system on modern IT architecture to simplify and speed up current processes
        • Hopefully some aspects are ready to unveil at HBC and a full system implementation in the Fall. 
        • Cost: 15-20K. 


  • Exam Grading Turnaround Update


      • Things have been getting better since the start of the year when some of the MED responsibilities have been shared with Greg Toothaker
      • The new system should also cut down turn around time.
      • Dennis recently got a list of all the open exams and any exams facing issues, He will share that info with the board.   Dennis wants to close all 2022 exams by HBC.  If that entails creative solutions then we should employ them, the priority is to get all older exams cleared away. 
      • James expressed how challenging it has been for his region – 15 MO+ turnaround in some cases.  He wants to have a list of native graders from the ED to reach out to them personally. James has been working to recruit more native graders as well. He also expressed concern about how the situation is going to improve without more concrete solutions to address current problems with int’l exams. 
        • Discussion ensued – Dennis said he would set up a meeting with James/Don and him to figure out solutions. 
        • A side discussion about pins to LA judges (see below)
    • Exam Admin Prerequisites (Andrew)
      • Discussed if we should consider changing protocol to allow Certified judges to be able to administer exams. 
      • Andrew discussed reasons why he’d like to see exam administration be allowed for certified judges. It seems that this rule might be a hold-over from the legacy exam process. Could alleviate issues with finding exam admins. 
      • Sandy said as long as ED is overseeing the exam and working with the Certified judges as admins then it should work. 
      • Mark noted concerns about new certified judges with little judging experience might not fully understand the judging process as far as selecting beers for an exam. 
      • Sandy said perhaps there should be a judging point requirement to be an admin. 
      • Dennis spoke about National being a requirement for many things in the organization to make sure they are knowledgeable about the organization.   He spoke about maybe rethinking it but to get the take on from the ED.
        • Dennis floated the idea of an application. 
        • Sandy floated the idea of maybe exam admin training like is done for graders. Dennis was open to exploring changing the policy with some caveats (a certain number of points/training/application etc). 
        • Sal expressed the importance of the role and Brian spoke about how there is the policy exception. 
        • Mark suggested that those allowed to be exam admins could include judges eligible to sit the written exam (80+ Tasting score and 10+ judging points).
        • James supports also extending it to the written exam too. He was wary and advised caution. He also said that perhaps we’d be making the process more complex.  He felt changing the policy wouldn’t be best for his region.  Although was in favor of a system of working with an experienced  judge
        • Most on the board seemed in favor of a discussion with the ED and in exploring changes to the prerequisite of a national rank to administer the tasting exam. 


  • Including BJCP Reps/Assistant Reps for Quarterly Exam Administration


      • Changing criteria to specifically mention regional representatives and Assistant reps. 
      • The original policy was just for graders, Dennis wants to add assistant reps given their position in the organization. 
      • No opposition was voiced by anyone, Dennis will move it forward. 


  • Membership Pins


      • Dennis has been looking for a vendor to send the pins.  He hasn’t found anyone yet.  He wants to wait until the new system is set up before proceeding
      • In the meantime, he wants to find a member(s) to send the pins from Sandy/Gail and to send out the back logged pins.
      • Dennis is going to post looking for someone for the position. He also wants to invest in a postage creator to cut down on labor.
      • Sandy spoke about the issues with int’l pins – costs, returns, forms
      • Gail said she would bring a bunch to HBC and asked Dennis to send an email out to the membership to let them know they can pick up their pin there – Dennis said we could do it at the members meeting.  Just create a record or list of those getting it.  
        • Brian suggested showing their record (print out or on their phone)
        • Mark volunteered to send out pins for his region if he gets a bunch.  He will message Sandy. 
        • James will also message Sandy to work out her bringing pins down to LA when she travels there. 
        • Omer will also look for someone in his region to send out pins too. 


  • Raising BJCP Fees


      • There is general consensus this needs to happen. Dennis will get back to making this a priority during the Summer and create a proposal by the Rep meeting at HBC to discuss. 
      • Brian (BJCP Treasurer) expressed support and that the current fee structure is very low. He went through some of the budget and how we’ve stayed mostly static with financial growth but that we’ll be incurring additional costs with the implementation of new programs (like IT update) so a fee raise is probably necessary. 


  • New Scoresheet Development


      • A committee was formed but they haven’t moved things forward, however, Gordon and Kristen had been working on a revised sheet.
      • Dennis described some of the changes.  He spoke with Kristen about it and wants to take some of their ideas and start floating them by the Exam and Competition Directorate. 
      • Dennis is in favor of a fine tuning approach rather than an overhaul. He also spoke about creating a version for people with sight/motor skill disabilities (ie size of line spacing).
      • This would have a cross organizational impact (Exams, education, etc)
      • Reps chimed in with ideas and opinions. 


  • Bylaw change to create the position of program administrator/director (paid or unpaid)


      • Raising fees will help offset this cost. 
      • Dennis will put together a  proposal to have a board appointed position to take care of some of the organization day to day that the President currently does.  
      • Dennis expressed concerns about the longevity of the organization with the current President’s role within the organization. 
      • Most expressed support.
      • Dennis made a distinction that it wouldn’t be a full time position like the AHA Director. 
    • Moving Meeting Times (Mark) 
      • Move Meeting times to 2 pm ET to include current Asia- Pacific Rep (Seems resolved already but, just in case)
      • Seems that the move is better and everyone was in favor. Mark expressed gratitude for the move. 


  • Style Committee (Andrew)


    • Just following up on creating some processes and transparency with the committee and would also like to revisit the conversation about it being a directorate
    • Dennis is going to speak with Gordon and move the discussion forward while addressing past concerns – stay tuned. 
    • Brian also reminded everyone that they would need a budget as well, which would need to be addressed.


Other Items:

  • Brian C brought up the 90 minute written exam and his wish to revise some of the requirements like being able to type it. Dennis acknowledged the need to revisit the exams but that there are other priorities in the ED to be addressed first.  But we are getting close to being able to address the concerns that many have raised.   Various members expressed their views. 
  • James brought up the work on translating BJCP documents for LatAm.  James asked to have the previous work posted to show progress in the process.