category Culture

Board Candidates

 

Graham Green

A Brentwood local, keen beer drinker and home-brewer graham is originally from the land of cask
beer (England) but has acclimatized well to Austin since moving here in 2013. His wife (an austin
original), claims he becomes a little more Texan every day, a claim he disputes. His main gig is in product
marketing for a local engineering firm, where he employs strategic, project management and
evangelism skill that he hopes to bring to the black star board. His side gigs include, playing trombone in
a local jazz band, spoiling his small white fluffy dog, and eating good cheese – all skills and activities with
less direct use during board meetings, but who knows what the future brings…. Graham is excited about
continuing to serve the black star coop members and contributing to support and build a quality
neighborhood pub!

Candidate’s Questions:
1. Why are you interested in serving on the Board of Directors of the Co-op?
I was talking to a worker at the coop the other day, and he explained how at BlackStar, for the first time,
he has a voice. He has a say in how the business runs, and in his own destiny with it. This is the
difference between our coop and the average bar you might walk into. We have a business model where
people come together, so that everybody is valued, and everybody wins.
However, this doesn’t all come for free. To make it work will take time, effort, and belief. I have served
on the board for three years now. It’s not been the three years I expected, but together with the
workers assembly we have built a stronger position coming out of the pandemic than going in.
I feel I’ve spent my first term on the board learning, about our Co-op, about our people and about our
needs. A second term would allow me to contribute more as I can hit the ground running.

2. What goals would you like to see Black Star Co-op achieve in the next year? Five years?
In the next five years I would like Black Star to grow our presence in the community. This means
reaching a wider audience and building a deeper relationship with each person we touch. Not only will
this be good for the business, but it will allow us to evangelize our values.

3. What qualities and past experience do you have for serving on the Black Star Co-op Board of
Directors?
I work for a large tech company here in Austin where I specialize in go-to-market strategy and marketing
evangelism. The primary short/medium term need for the coop is to get more people into the pub and
raise our topline. This will give us more flexibility to get beyond day-to-day operational stress and start
investing strategically for the long-term success of the coop. This is a marketing a sales function, which I
have experience in and can advise effectively.

4. Name one way in which you’d like the Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery to stand out from other
local brewpubs.

BlackStar is a community as well as a pub. It is a made by its people more than its building or even its
beer. I would like to see BlackStar continuing to invest in the great people in the workers assembly,
supporting member/owners, and bringing in the local community too.
BlackStar will stand out from other brewpubs when more people here in Austin describe it as “my pub”,
rather than just “a pub”.

5. What is your favorite Co-operative Principle and why?
I think the democratic processes within the coop are important (no 2) but my favorite is 7 – concern for
the community. As stated earlier in this brief – BlackStar has an opportunity to lead by example with a
set of values and business model that allows everyone to win. I do not believe that BlackStar should
become some kind of political action group but we can influence those around us towards a better and
more just society (full of happy, beer drinking people).

 

 

Autumn Kervella

Hi! My name is Autumn and I’m a rare Austin Native! I grew up in the Crestview neighborhood and
come from a family of Black Star Co-op Members! I graduated from Trinity University with a degree in
Communication, but currently work in Education Tech and am also a small business owner (Brew Pub +
Coffee Roasters in the Philippines)! I enjoy all things craft (beer + food) and I look forward to working
and getting to know you all soon!

Candidate’s Questions:
1. Why are you interested in serving on the Board of Directors of the Co-op?
I’ve grown up in the neighborhood, in the beer world and basically at Black Star, through the
involvement of my parents. It’s time to be involved myself! I am looking forward to continuing the
growth of Black Star and assisting in any way possible!

2. What goals would you like to see Black Star Co-op achieve in the next year? Five years?
Black Star is a wonderfully unique organization that I think is just more or less unknown to most
Austinites. I want to see the reach of Black Star grow this year, specifically on Social Media. With the
continued growth of Austin- specifically outward into smaller neighborhoods (like
Crestview/Brentwood), Black Star will have the opportunity to grow as a known neighborhood pub more
and more. With new apartments popping-up everywhere and the growth of the FC team the
opportunities for growth in these 2 demographics is very exciting!

3. What qualities and past experience do you have for serving on the Black Star Co-op Board of
Directors?

In addition to seeing Black Star grow over ten years as a customer, I have also lived across the US and
abroad and witnessed a lot of similar ideas – and been a part of creating my own brew-pub. Two years
ago, I opened a small brewpub and Coffee Roasters in the Philippines and much of my passion and
excitement was due to seeing Black Star grow! After working in the industry and being a small business
owner, I bring a similar experience. I worked specifically in marketing and social media for the business,
which saw a 300% growth in one year. I am also an active member of my community and regularly go
out, so I look forward to spreading the word about Black Star.

4. Name one way in which you’d like the Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery to stand out from other local
brewpubs.
Black Star is so socially responsible and involved in city and community efforts and organizations – a fact
I believe most customers don’t realize. I would like to see the continuation of these efforts and to
highlight them amongst community members and member owners. Meals for the homeless, paid time
off, Wish You Were Queer ( brewed in collab with Out Youth!) are just a few of things I think our
member owners could be more involved with. By featuring some of these efforts I’d like to see the
community support grow around the principles that make Black Star so unique.

5. What is your favorite Co-operative Principle and why?
My favorite principle of the co-op is #5, as it is concerned with the education part of the co-op,
specifically to “inform the general public – particularly young people and opinion leaders”. Educating the
community about co-operatives in general and the value of it is what makes Black Star stand out from
other brew-pubs in Austin. Providing education and peaking interest in younger people in the
community lends to growth and social awareness.

 

 

Jeffrey W. Ouellette

 Jeffrey W. Ouellette is a technology and culture progress advocate for the global built asset
industry (buildings and infrastructure). Leveraging his past 30+ years of experience in design,
construction, and software development and marketing, he is an independent consultant for local,
national, and international companies and organizations that desire to utilize standards and industry
best practices as they work to become more digitally adept. Jeff’s work provides him an opportunity to
regularly travel around the world and enthusiastically experience beer, food, and social culture in all its
many varieties… stories he will gladly share with you over a pint. He has been a resident of Austin since
1996 and is married to a native Austinite, Rebecca, with whom have two kids and a dog… all frequent,
and appreciative, patrons of the Co-op

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Candidate’s Questions:
1. Why are you interested in serving on the Board of Directors of the Co-op?
I have been a member-owner since 02/23/2018, less than a year after my family first moved into
Midtown Commons. The Co-op has been my go-to refuge through thick and thin, being able to celebrate
or commiserate with my family, friends, and fellow patrons. It is an integral part of the community I live
in and source of many new friendships and comraderies. I feel like it is important for me to serve and
participate more deeply in an organization that I believe in and cherish.

2. What goals would you like to see Black Star Co-op achieve in the next year? Five years?

I would like to see the Co-op get its sales, hours, and staffing back up to prepandemic levels in the next
year, even slightly exceeding them. In five years, I would like to see us have more events with more
community partners. I think people really appreciate when establishments like the Co-op work to
support local non-profits – charities and social-service organizations – providing opportunities for patrons
to “give a little, get a little” in a social atmosphere. It would also be nice to host more unique live music
events in semi-regular fashion (e.g. Austin Bluegrass Improv).

3. What qualities and past experience do you have for serving on the Black Star Co-op Board of
Directors?
I am lucky enough to travel the world through my professional work and experience pub, food, and
social life in many other cultures. I hope that sharing such experiences can give the Co-op members,
board, and workers inspiration in finding new opportunities and ways of bringing the co-op experience
to more people. My current consulting role has me working with other non-profit organizations and my
previous professional experience also includes product marketing and sales for an international
software company. I hope I can bring ideas from those experiences to make the Co-op an even better
experience for even more people.

4. Name one way in which you’d like the Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery to 6 stand out from
other local brewpubs.

I think the Co-op’s 7th principle, Concern for Community, can be further leveraged and promoted, by
engaging our local community organizations in a way most pubs don’t even consider and then getting
more press coverage for day-to-day operations as much as community-centric work and events. It may
be easier for the Co-op to stand out in a nexus of neighborhoods like Crestview/Highland/Brentwood,
where the pub options are scarcer, but it is even more compelling to expand our idea of “Concern for
Community” throughout the city and influence the behavior of consumers and other businesses.

5. What is your favorite Co-operative Principle and why?
#2 – Democratic Member Control. In an age where no one feels like they have any control or influence
over so many aspects of their life, having an opportunity to give a voice to your concerns and desires for
something that you are involved with on a daily, or casual, basis, is meaningful and unique.

 

 

Book Your Holiday Event with Black Star!

Let’s face it, we’re all overwhelmed. We’ve been through a lot, and even the haters are starving for a little human hugs and affection. So if you’re overdue for a little get together with family, friends, or co-workers, contact us today to schedule a stress and deposit free holiday event. Our space can accommodate groups of up to 60 in our casual, friendly, and cozy environment. Don’t stress, y’all. Keep it simple and Eat. Drink. Cooperate.

 

Email: info@blackstar.coop

Phone: 512-452-2337

The Fish & Chips Co-NONE-drum

Over the past year at the Co-op I have learned everything there is to know about our fish and chips and the cult-like following that it inspires. The people love it and the people gotta have it and the people feel all of life’s disappointments when the people can’t get it. Because I love fish and chips and I love giving the people what they want, I am here to set the record straight and hopefully put minds at ease.
 Black Drum (Pogonias cromis to be exact) is the flaky white fish we use for this dish. It has a clean, briny flavor and fries well in a wet batter. However, the fish itself is quite sensitive and many variables affect it’s availability and it’s market price. The first factor is how they fish for Black Drum. It must be sport fished (caught with rod & reel), the size must be between 14in-30in, and it is caught using flat-bottom/shallow water boats. They are found in the jetties and shallow channels around the gulf near structures and feed mostly on shrimp, crab, and oysters near the muddy shores of the gulf. Because of this habitat they are sensitive to  temperature changes and increased barometric pressure. This means extreme weather makes them run to deeper water making it more challenging to be caught by the fisherman in the flat-bottom fishing boats they use. During winter storm Uri the Drum populations became almost non-existent. Following that storm was the beginning of hurricane season and tropical depressions that brought weeks of rainy days and then we rolled into the heat wave we are currently experiencing. All of this to paint a picture of the stress that these animals have been under and why it’s making it hard to catch enough to keep up with demand.
 Due to all these factors we, as a leadership team, decided to move to a catfish dish for the summertime. Austin is, after all, an inland city and sourcing from the Gulf is a luxury that only became apparent during the pandemic when the luxury was no longer there. Our catfish is farmed nearby in Texas and is not as affected by the weather in the Gulf of Mexico. Rest assured that every time we place an order with our seafood distributor we inquire about the status of Black Drum and it’s availability and when they believe it should level out. I know how important this dish is to our community here and I want to provide the people with the things that make them happy. As soon as our weather becomes even a little bit predictable and the fisherman get back to fishing we will restore the Fish and Chips to it’s fabled glory and good times will be had by all. I hope this was informational and we appreciate the understanding of all our guests when dining with us at Black Star.
Salud.

Members Assembly and Thirsty Thursday

It has been quite the 18 months hasn’t it my friends! But this month as
the Austin sun returns to bake our fair city, we have an opportunity to
celebrate all that we have: our resilience, our humanity, our co-op, our
cold beer and our member owners!

In recognition of all that we have endured, BSCO would like to thank and
recognize all the members who have persevered with us in recent times
with a celebratory event, happy hour and social. Let’s get together,
review the state of the business, pull some (free for members) pitchers
from behind the bar, snack on some chips, and feel just a little bit of
that stress float away.

You are invited at 6pm on Thursday July 1st to join us at BSCO to meet
with your fellow member/owners as well as the worker assembly and board
members. We shall review the annual report, conduct feedback activities
relevant to the operation of your co-op, hear the vision the kitchen,
beer and business teams have for the coming year, and drink a beer or
two. Or three (responsibly).

We recognize that as our membership grows, we should not limit this
event to only those within reach of the pub. We alas, cannot post you a
beer, but I shall set up a zoom link so that you can chat questions and
have your say with regards to the operation of your co-op. Please email
me at graham.green@blackstar.coop for login information with subject
line “Thirsty Thursday”.

Many thanks and all the best. See you on July 1st @ 6PM.

Volunteer Opportunity: Report Committee

Dear Valued Member-Owners –

The Workers’ Assembly and the Black Star Board are currently preparing
the 2020 Report to Member-Owners.  We are looking for one or two
volunteers to assist in reviewing the report, asking any questions, and
providing a stamp of approval.  This volunteer opportunity will require
anywhere from 1.5 to 3 hours total, over one or two meetings.  The first
meeting will be held on May 19th from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM.
If you are interested in joining us in this work, please contact Dacia
Schoolfield at dacia.schoolfield@blackstar.coop.

Prost!

Board of Directors Election Results

Many thanks to all of our Member-Owners who voted in the Fall 2020 Co-Op election. We had a significant voter turnout, and the results are in. The Black Star Board of Directors welcomes two returning board members and one new board member. The BOD members will be officially named to the board in the December 2020 meeting and their terms begin January 1, 2021.

Returning: John Warren
John has 20+ years of business & technology management experience, and he is also an
extremely consistent Member-Owner; he can be found at the Co-Op most Wednesday evenings. John finished his first term on the Black Star Board of Directors and looks forward to supporting
the Co-Op in the years to come. He would like to focus on Co-Op survival and growth, in a post
COVID-19 world.

Returning: Dacia Schoolfield
Dacia has 20+ experience in Quality Control Management; she has also moonlighted as a
Culinary & Pastry Arts Student. Dacia finished her first term on the BOD, and is excited to
continue supporting the Workers’ Assembly, as well as her fellow board members. She will
focus on effective communication between the WA and the BOD, as well as supporting the team
in pursuing grants and available funding sources.

New: Brian Crum
Brian and his family relocated to the Austin area in 2012. Black Star was his first local brewpub
in the Austin area, and remains his favorite to this day. An engineer by degree, he has worked in
aerospace, automotive and now urban mobility. He has travelled extensively in Europe and Asia
and enjoys meeting new people and experiencing different cultures. He has many lifelong
friendships that started with six simple words, “Can I buy you a beer?”

If you would like more information regarding the Black Star Board of Directors, please check out the
BOD page. As always, if you have questions for the board, please send an email to board@blackstar.coop.
Thank you for being a Member-Owner and thank you for being involved in the Black Star Co-op. As we
approach the holiday season, don’t forget that Black Star merch always makes for a good gift, as do gift
cards, crowlers, and growlers.
See you at the pub.
Prost!

Flirt with lonely girls at parties. Come to parties with friends https://vibragame.net/sex-chat-bongacams.html you know and go to the thick of things. At such events, there are always a lot of suitable women, whom mutual friends may even introduce you to. Flirt with a variety of women to decide which of them can agree to a carefree date.

Onward & Upwards: A Reflection

This. Has. Been. A. Year.

Who would have thought right at the beginning of January 2020 that in the year to come we’d face a
global pandemic, a crazy presidential election, the loss of Alex Trebek, and the loss of Sean Connery – all
in the same year. I, like many of you, am looking forward to putting 2020 in the rearview mirror. Regardless, we enter that time of year where reflection, compassion, and the thirst for progress ushers
us into 2021. I reflect on what’s important, significant, and what brings me happiness: family, friends,
friendly faces at Black Star Co-Op, and a freshly poured pint of Vulcan on the patio.
Due to the heroic efforts of the Workers’ Assembly, and through the dedication of our amazing
Member-Owners, Black Star Co-Op not only celebrated a ten-year anniversary this year, but the pub
remains open, operational, and ready to offer up inspired craft beer with a side of amazing food.
We are all fortunate to have Black Star in our lives – to support an institution that celebrates the worker,
is democratically controlled, provides meaningful and exceptional services, while also building a true
sense of Gemütlichkeit.
So take a moment to reflect on the year you’ve had, the year we’ve all had. And come on down to the
Co-op for a cold beer and some good food. Celebrate the inevitable end of 2020, and more importantly,
celebrate the year to come. I propose a toast to honor Black Star, the Workers’ Assembly, and the
Member-Owners. Together, we will prevail.
I look forward to seeing you at the pub.
Prost!

Getting Back to a Fair Living Wage

As most of our Member-Owners know, Black Star Co-op has a long, proud history of advocating for workers’ rights, supporting a democratic model, and paying an equitable, fair living wage to all of our workers. Yet, the past few years have presented unprecedented challenges, and our ability to pay a legitimate living wage to our workers has been inhibited by our efforts to remain in business.

The current climate of the restaurant industry as a whole has pivoted drastically over these past 8 months. Many of our local competitors have closed shop. Restaurants workers throughout the country have experienced terminations, unemployment, and longterm uncertainty. While Black Star has been able to retain many workers who have elected to continue working through the pandemic, our inability to guarantee that all workers take home a fair living wage has become unacceptable. 

It should come as no surprise that the cost of living in our city has continued to increase at a pace that Black Star has been unable to match. In an effort to take corrective action and provide ourselves with what the City of Austin defines as a fair living wage, the Workers’ Assembly at Black Star Co-op has voted to implement a 5% service charge to all checks, beginning on December 1st. While we feel that this change will have a very low impact on guest experience, the small increase in revenue will have a dramatically positive impact to workers. Funds collected from the service charge will be collected and distributed directly to all non-managerial front and back of house workers, once again guaranteeing a living wage to our entire Workers’ Assembly.

To be clear, Black Star will continue to be a ‘no tipping’ establishment. We will not rely on the generosity of our guests to supplement wages, but, we believe that this small service charge will have an amazingly favorable impact on business overall. Hiring and employee retention will immediately improve, allowing for more consistency. Workplace morale will quickly be boosted. Workers will now be incentivized to increase sales while continuing to provide exceptional customer service. We look forward to the comprehensive improvements expected from this change. 

The voice of our membership has repeatedly listed worker treatment and fair wages as one of our top values, and we now ask you to prove allegiance to your virtue. As the pandemic continues to ravage our country and economy, the Black Star community can proudly say that we have been able to pivot in a direction that allows our business and workers to thrive, even under the most difficult of circumstances. We would like to thank our Member-Owners in advance for your ongoing support of Black Star, and your dedication to living wages and fair worker treatment. We simply would not exist without you.  

Fall Members’ Assembly Meeting

Come one, come all, join us this Fall for a virtual Member-Owners meeting!  

During these crazy, pandemic times, we are moving the Member-Owners meeting to an online platform.  We encourage all M/Os to join us this Sunday, November 15th at 10am; please RSVP here.

We’ll have an action-packed agenda to cover with everyone.  Well, maybe not quite as exciting as JCVD’s latest flick, but still chock-full of data, anecdotes, the occasional laugh, and fun surprises.

After the virtual meeting, plan to head to the pub for a socially distant, outdoor pint with members from the Board of Directors, as well as with our esteemed members of the Workers’ Assembly. 

In the meantime, stay safe, healthy, and drink good beer. 

Cheers to 10 Years!

Hey folks! As I’m sure everyone would agree, 2020 has been one hell of a ride. Over the last 5 months, running Black Star Co-op has been a challenge to say the least, but the year had originally promised to be such a banger! January started us off when our good friend Ted Cheavens finished a beautiful mural on the exterior of our building. We placed an order for a brand new set of amazing wooden table tops in February to help brighten up the space. The Craft Brewers Conference was slated to come to San Antonio in April which would have brought in brewers/friends from all across the world to experience our awesome beer scene in Texas! And then, our 10 Year Anniversary Party. This was huge. Black Star Co-op has served our community, member-owners and workers for an entire decade. The workers put in a ton of effort to plan this event, making sure it would be as special as it should be for such a historic landmark. Unfortunately, you know how the story actually played out, and that didn’t sit too well with us. So (with social distancing practices in mind) next Saturday, August 15th, we will be releasing several beers: A special bottle release of Moebius (bourbon barrel aged stout), Black Is Beautiful, our collaboration beer with Weathered Souls in San Antonio, Texas, and a couple of special kegs we’ve been holding onto. Then on Sunday August 16th at 2PM, we will be hosting a virtual Cheers to 10 Years! via Facebook live. We ask that you swing by, grab some bottles/crowlers/growlers on Saturday, then join us on Sunday to celebrate Black Star’s 10 decade long legacy of slinging great food and beer in Austin, Texas. Thank you for all of your support over the years, it is truly a privilege to serve such a rad community of people.