Elliot Nolter

Elliot Nolter1. Why are you running for the board?

I have been involved with the Co-Op on the negotiation team for the past several months. As I am getting to know the board and the Co-Op more intimately, I see the value I am able to bring to the team. I want to do my part to get the store built within the next 3 years! Not only am I eager to shop at the store, I feel serving on this board at this time will provide valuable experience in my personal career. Often times, I am on the other side of the table, working for clients such as the Co-Op. I am excited to bring the knowledge from that perspective to the owner's side of the table!

2. What skill sets do you bring to the table?

I can add value to the existing board with my skills in architectural design, sustainability, and construction management. I have been working in the field of architecture for over 10 years and as a licensed architect for 1.5 of those years. My schooling and work require me to think creatively. I intend to not only lead the charge regarding site selection, design and construction oversight, but bring my creative thought process to other challenges the board must face. My business is founded on environmentally conscious design and I am currently pursuing certification as a passive house consultant. In my personal life, I incorporate healthy, renewable, and responsible practices wherever possible.

3. What do you believe is the value of cooperative enterprise in today's economy?

With big industry controlling so much of what we see, read, hear, click on, or consume, it is reassuring to know that Co-Ops can exist to support the community in ways determined by the community itself. No two communities are exactly alike. I've learned in the architecture profession there is no one-size-fits-all approach. The same can be said for people's diets or local agriculture. Developers pitch a one-size-fits-all approach in the interest of making the largest profits, and buyers fall for the sexy imagery, smoke and mirrors, or convenience they offer. A local business with MY best interest in mind is a business I want to support.

4. How would you explain the Bethlehem Food Co-Op and its development to a neighbor?

A group of like-minded individuals got together to address a need they recognized in their community - A need for an easily accessible grocery store run by and in support of their local community. Knowing where their food comes from, who provides it, how it's made/grown, and who profits off of it, are important to these individuals. They took action and rallied their friends and neighbors to get behind them! As part-owner, each member has a say in what gets stocked on the shelves. Each member has the opportunity to support themselves, their neighbors, and their local economy every time they shop at the store.

5. How much time are you able to dedicate to your service on the Bethlehem Food Co-Op board of directors?

I can confidently say that in any given week I am able to dedicate 4 or more hours of my time to the Co-Op. That said, I am trained to run on deadlines through my work as an architect. Multi-year, phased projects are nothing new to me, and I understand there will be weeks or months where the workload is heavier than others. I am self-employed and have a fairly flexible schedule. I have had success in the past year juggling multiple commitments, including raising a 2-year old daughter with my wife. I am prepared to put in 12 hour days when needed, and know that I will have time to let off the gas or shift priorities when the schedule allows.

Watch a video interview with Elliot:

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