It’s election time for the 2017 Board of Directors of the California Artisan Cheese Guild! We have a 13 member Board, and 7 of those seats are up for election. We have 9 great candidates who are seeking these seats. Below is more information about the candidates. I have also included their contact information so that you contact them to ask questions or discuss their candidacy. The Guild By-Laws provide that a majority our Board be artisan cheesemakers. Of the 7 seats up for election, at least 4 of them must be filled by artisan cheesemakers. Please note that we are electing candidates to serve 2-year terms. The Guild would like to thank for their service the four retiring Board members who are not seeking re-election: Jon Bowne, Marnie Clarke, Sarah Dvorak, and Walter Nicolau III.
The voting period is from December 12 – December 23, 2016. At the commencement of the voting period we will distribute access to a Survey Monkey ballot that members can use to submit their votes. As a reminder, only our cheesemaker and trade member classes have voting status.
Jon Bowne & Emily Shartin
Here are your candidates:
I have been working with cheese for almost two decades. I began my career as the buyer for the acclaimed Pasta Shop in Berkeley in 1999. In 2003, I later moved to Manhattan to become the Maitre Fromager at Artisanal Fromagerie and Bistro and opened the Artisanal Cheese Center. There I worked as a buyer, educator as well as doing corporate sales. At the beginning of 2013, I moved to California, where I worked at The Cheese Shop of Healdsburg and Oliver’s Markets. As of August of 2016, I am the Cheese Buyer at Cheese Plus in San Francisco. As a passionate advocate for the American Cheese Movement I have been a Member for the California Artisan Cheese Guild for 2 years and am seeking re-election.
My career in the cheese world started at Pastoral Artisan in Chicago in 2009. When I moved back to California I worked in various Whole foods around Northern California including Coddington in Santa Rosa, Folsom and Roseville as a specialty cheese buyer and associate team leader for the Specialty Department. In 2013 I had the opportunity to work for Nugget Market as their Corporate Director of Specialty Cheese. In November 2016 I transitioned to working for Tony’s Fine Foods as the Category Manager for Cheese. I received my ACS CCP certification in 2014. I’ve been a two time cheese judge for the California state fair, a chef instructor at the California Artisan Cheese Festival, a member of the ACS Scholarship committee and have appeared on a variety of TV programs as a cheese expert. I’ve had many opportunities to bring together my twin passions for cheese and education. I would be honored to have the opportunity to serve on the board of the California Artisan Cheese Guild.
Felice Charlton (artisan cheeesmaker)
I have over 15 years of sales experience. Prior to joining the cheese industry, I was Director of Sales and Marketing for a California olive oil company and Director of New Business for a California organic grains supplier. I have strong roots in California agriculture. Raised in Bolinas on 50 acres and having lived in San Francisco, I like to think I have a fairly well-rounded experience in both the country and city life. I have a deep knowledge of the specialty food market and my back-round and knowledge of the California food industry has served me well in premium cheese, where quality ingredients, great taste and healthful attributes are all relevant. Although my work experience has gotten me far, I am a huge proponent of continuing education. I am proud of my completion of the training program with Academie Opus Caseus that was provided by Point Reyes Farmstead and I have parlayed that knowledge into my professional and personal love of cheese.
In the past couple years that I have been National Sales Director for Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese, I have led continuing national expansion, new product launch and new packaging launch. I hope to introduce and provide innovative sales tactics to the cheese industry that truly set us apart. The good news for small and medium sized businesses is that traditional expensive media like TV and radio will continue to lose effectiveness with consumers. Grassroots technology, grounded in consumer opinion and input will win the day over spendy sales and marketing campaigns. How we reach distributors, customers, consumers and retailers will continue to evolve and capturing their time and attention is an important part of my job. I am a fan of entrepreneurs, which is probably why I so enjoy working with Giacomini family and the specialty cheese industry. Anyone who has the vision, guts and stamina to take a dream and turn it into a thriving business is someone to be admired and an industry I want to support.
Sue Conley (artisan cheeesmaker)
I am the co-founder of Cowgirl Creamery and Tomales Bay Foods. The company is a producer, distributor and retailer of artisan and farmstead cheeses and was founded in 1994 to provide marketing and sales support for local cheesemakers in Marin and Sonoma County. Before cheese became the center of my life, I worked in restaurants and was a founding partner in Bette’s Oceanview Diner in Berkeley. I live in Petaluma with my long-time companion, Nan Haynes.
I am former nonprofit professional turned preserves maker. I have a passion for supporting local farms and the handmade process of food. I bring a strong background in fundraising and event planning and a knowledge of food processes. I am a new California Artisan Cheese Guild member and a long time supporter of local farms, local food and the businesses that support these makers.
Phillip Franco (artisan cheeesmaker)
I began my cheese career in 2005 when I joined Sierra Cheese Company. Right after I joined, my goal was to learn as much as I could and I so I started making cheese right away and attended classes at Washington State to learn the science of cheese making. I fell in love with cheese and continued my studies at Cal Poly SLO under Dr. Tong.
This past year I went to Vermont for 10 days to learn from Peter Dixon of Parish Hill Creamery. It was an eye opening experience and I developed a new found respect and love of raw milk cheeses. Having run my own cheese business and participated in all levels of the business from cheese making to marketing and sales, I bring a unique point of view to the California Artisan Cheese Guild board. I have been a board member of the California Artisan Cheese Guild since 2015 and I would love the chance to continue to serve. Having relocated to Northern California I will be able to work even more hands on with any California Artisan Cheese Guild projects. I am excited for my next chapter in my cheese career
Valerie Miller (artisan cheeesmaker)
I am the head cheese maker and co-owner of Orland Farmstead Creamery, located in Orland, CA about 90 miles north of Sacramento. I graduated with a degree in Business Administration/Accounting in 1985. After graduation I accepted a position with a CPA firm in Chico while I obtained my CPA license. Over the past 30 years I have held the positions of Controller for a manufacturing firm and CFO for a non profit and raised three daughters. I taught herself to make cheese, using the milk from my oldest daughter’s 4-H goat. Eventually I began teaching cheese making classes at the local recreation department which led to my meeting Paul Schmidt. Paul owned a dairy and cheese plant in Orland and had been making Fromage Blanc for about a year when we met. After working together for several months developing and marketing Feta and Queso Fresco, in addition to the Fromage Blanc, we decided to form a partnership. Paul and I have been together for a little over 5 years and have expanded their line from one cheese to 5 types of cheese plus 5 flavored cheeses. Their cheese is primarily sold in the Chico area to both food service and retail stores, and is also sold in the Bay Area, Sacramento Area and in Oregon.
Marco Perucci Moramarco (artisan cheeesmaker)
My background: I graduated from USD in 1984 with a BBA in Accounting and Computer Science. Then worked for a Public Accounting firm for 5 years. Moved to the Bay Area for a position as a software engineer. Worked in that field for 15+ years with EDS and Dey Pharma. I still dabble some in that field for extra income mainly doing website development and accounting. My partner and I moved to the north coast 12 years ago.
I have always been interested and passionate about artisan food making. My parents were restaurateurs during my childhood. I wanted to do something with food in our area that would afford the opportunity using local ingredients and combining science with art. Cheesemaking was the perfect match and we have an excellent source of local organic milk. 7 years ago I started taking a few cheesemaking courses and have read several books. I took a coarse at UVM in cheese chemistry and biology and a few courses from Peter Dixon and another two courses with Linda and Larry Faillace at Three Shepherds Farm in Vermont. I started making cheese about 5+ years ago. My parents were Italian. I am fluent in Italian and did a stint in Bologna learning gelato making which included recipe design and time working in a gelateria. I joined the California Artisan Cheese Guild board of directors via a special election in 2016, and am seeking re-election.
I am a 35-year veteran in the specialty food industry. My career began in 1982 by managing a small deli in Sausalito, CA. During my 35 years, I has managed various cheese shops in the San Francisco, Bay Area including the Judith ets-Hoken Cooking Company and the Neiman Marcus Epicure department. Eventually I began working in distribution and later in Specialty Food Brokerage. In 2004 I began working with the Marin French Cheese Co.; one of America’s longest operating cheese producers (founded in 1865) as the National Sales and Marketing Manager. During these years I participated in all facets of the Marin French Cheese Co. operation including the manufacturing side. In January of 2011 after the owner, Jim Boyce passed away; I took the position as President of Marin French Cheese Co. During this time I and the board of directors made the decision to sell Marin French to the French Rian’s group which also owns Laura Chenel’s Chevre. This decision was made in-order to finance the necessary multimillion dollar up grades, necessary to maintain the quality of 147 years of cheese making. I spent the next two years working as the Director of National Sales for the Marin French Cheese Co. and Laura Chenel’s Chevre. I did not stray far from the cheese making process as I was also responsible for the development of new products, quality control and choosing cheeses for all competitions. This kept my hands in the curd and working closely with the other cheese makers. I created MaxxSales & Marketing Manager in May of 2013. The company is a sales and marketing business contracting its services to food manufactures that need temporary consultation or a long-term contract. It takes on the role of an outsourced Sales and Marketing Manager as opposed to a full-time employee.