Summary of BJCP Members Meeting at Homebrew Con Pittsburgh
June 24, 2022
Hop Farm Brewing Company provided a selection of beers for members to enjoy during the meeting. The English Mild was excellent.
BJCP President and Mountain/Northwest Rep Dennis Mitchell opened the meeting and welcomed members. He gave an overview of updates that would be provided at the meeting, primarily relating to current efforts to update the IT Database and work through a backlog of exam grading. He asked for members continued patience as the organization works to stabilize operations during a period of considerable staffing turnover (as well as the ongoing pandemic).
Pat Baker Award
Dennis provided an overview of the BJCP Pat Baker Lifetime Achievement Award as the highest award possible for the organization, started in 2017 to honor the work Pat Baker contributed to establishing and sustaining the organization. Dennis presented the third-ever BJCP Pat Baker Award to President Emeritus Gordon Strong.
IT Director Bruce Buerger provided updates on current IT Directorate work to modernize the BJCP tech infrastructure with a new database. He noted that most of the work to date has been focused on “Keeping the lights on.” He discussed that this will be a phased approach, likely starting with member account management and competition registration, then moving to more complex exam grading. He also will be putting out a call for members who have experience with GUI designers and business/IT analysts.
A member asked about generally emailing membership for help. Bruce noted this has been done before with limited success and that additional volunteers also require more time to manage, and that time can be difficult to find given the already high level of workload for a volunteer position. Dennis supported this statement and provided some additional examples he has experienced with spending time on-boarding new staff who quickly leave for various reasons (life changes, work changes, having kids, not expecting to actually have to do more than menial work, etc.).
Bruce had prepared a presentation about the “New Day” database project, but the room the meeting was in did not have a projector.
Managing Exam Director Don Blake provided updates on efforts to work through the existing exam grading backlog. Several exam staffing changes have created challenges in workload as new associate exam directors and exam directors are identified and on-boarded. Health issues with several exam staff have also led to delays. The transitions take time for new staff to get up to speed and fully integrated.
Don noted he has been working with judges in the LatAm region to start grading exams in Spanish without the need for translation. This is expected to help expedite the speed of Spanish-lanague exams as translations add considerable time to the grading process.
Member Q & A
There was a brief member Q & A. One member asked about the current financial situation of the organization and if it had been negatively impacted by the pandemic. Treasurer Brian Cooper answered that the BJCP is in a strong financial position with significant reserves that were not substantively impacted by the pandemic. The BJCP still took in some revenue from online exams during the pandemic and also had minimal expenses with little travel or events occurring.