2013 H2 Votes by the Board
During the course of the year, the BJCP Representatives and Officers (the "Board") conduct a number of discussions via email and bulletin boards. To provide transparency, the results of 2013 Q4 have been published.
Jeff Sanders, Assistant Communication Director
> The BJCP conducts all business electronically via email and bulletin boards
> As part of an effort towards more transparency on how the Program is administered, all discussion topics, votes, and minutes for the second half of 2013 are being made available to the full membership
> The next issue of the BJCP Bulletin will include discussion topics, votes, and minutes for the period of Q1 2014.

The BJCP is managed by its Board of Directors, composed of one elected representative from each geographical region. These seven elected officials appoint a number of other officers, who perform specific tasks to keep the organization running smoothly.

The Board of Directors meet virtually over email, and a limited group discussion list. Motions may be put before the board by any of the appointed officers or program members. The President coordinates the votes by the Board to ensure each vote is taken.

A survey was distributed to a random sampling of one quarter of the BJCP’s over 4500 judges of all ranks. The survey included a series of questions regarding this newsletter, The BJCP Bulletin, including topics such as relevancy, frequency, votes, and effort updates. Survey respondents were given the opportunity to provide candid and anonymous feedback. One of the key feedback items was “greater visibility into the Board and its decisions.”

As one of several measures to provide transparency and visibility into the Board, its discussions, and decisions, this regular column will present the motions made within the calendar year quarter, as well as the final vote.

Because this is the first issue of The BJCP Bulletin, the scope of these “minutes” will be expanded to include all motions since the National Homebrewers Conference 2013, which was the last in person meeting of the Board and BJCP members.

(NOTE: Be sure to click on the section headers to expand the sections and view the content)

July 15, 2013: New Exam Directorate Staff (VOTE)

Date: July 15, 2013

Topic/Motion: New Exam Directorate Staff

Initiated by: Gordon Strong, President

Scope: Representatives Only

Overview: Proposal of new exam staff due to reduced exam turnaround time.

Dialogue: President Gordon Strong noted that exam turnaround time had gone from 6-9 months down to 3 months due to the changes in the exam program. Based upon recommendations from the Exam Directorate, he recommended the appointment of Frank Barickman as Exam Director, Sandy Cockerham as an Associate Exam Director, Don Blake as an Associate Exam Director, and Eric Jones as an Associate Exam Director.

Vote: The vote for this motion was held on July 18, and passed uninamously 7-0.

August 1, 2013: Representative Elections Announced

Date: August 1, 2013

Topic/Motion: Representative Elections Announced

Initiated by: Representatives

Scope: Representatives Only

Overview: Representative elections for 2014 were announced.

Dialogue: Representative elections for 2014 were announced internally. Representatives noted that an election committee would need to be identified and trained. It was also noted that a timeframe would need to be set and communicated, and that new tools may be available for doing so.

Vote: No vote was taken

August 19, 2013: BJCP Officer Elections from a Judge’s Point of View

Date: August 19, 2013

Topic/Motion: BJCP Officer Elections from a Judge’s Point of View

Initiated by: Representative Ali Kocho-Williams

Scope: Full Board

Overview: Representative Williams noted that a member from his region sent him an email expressing concerns around the BJCP's web presence, communication, infrastructure, guideline quality, quality assurance, and continuing education, and he wished the present the email for dialogue. The email stated:

I'm writing to you concerning the BJCP elections and the need for rejuvenation and forward momentum of our program. I feel the BJCP has not taken full advantage of the prominent enthusiasm that exists and risks not meeting the demands of todays homebrewer.

The 'Cicerone' or beer sommelier program, which was started in 2008 and had risen to ~9500 members in January 2011, hit 10k in February 2012, and over 18k by December of the same year (at $69 USD/ exam)

The American Homebrewers Association membership rose from ~8500 in 2000, to 23,000 in 2010, and by February 2012 broke 30,000 (at ~$35/ year, with benefits)

While the BJCP is just one facet of the craft beer hobby, I can't help but interpret this as missed opportunity. I believe we are at risk of falling behind in areas such as:

  • Web presence
  • Brewer / entrant / judge communication
  • Infrastructure to support increased interest in the BJCP exam, both nationally and internationally
  • Maintaining a top notch guideline
  • Quality assurance of judges and competitions
  • Continuing education and outreach to brewers and potential judges

Some of these are found as priorities in the annual reporting from many years ago.

I believe we are fundamentally not using all our available resources, both within the organization's talented judges, and effective external technical experts. I want to see our officer's prioritizing growth and modernization - what I see is a complacent attitude and a stifling of potential. Perhaps this is evident in the unenthusiastic response to both regional and now the "officer" elections; in guidelines which have not been updated while other organizations embrace changing styles; in Treasurer's reports which have not been posted in 3 years, despite being strictly required our Bylaws.

We should be thankful for the stable position we are in and the efforts that have produced that - while at the same time redoubling those efforts for the health and growth of our program.

Dialogue: Competition Director David Houseman noted:

Since 2006, the BJCP has
  • Entirely revamped the testing process to address increasing the number of judges while maintaining quality of judges and grader sanity.
  • Created the Mead Judge Program
  • Expanded the BJCP into many more countries with competitions in: USA, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Australia, England, Ireland, Hungary, Poland, Croatia (at least I think that's the country), Chile, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa.
  • Had many materials translated into other languages
  • Had the number of competitions held annually exceed 500 in 2013, doubling the number since the SCP was started in 2006
  • Greatly expand the number of active judges to more than 4600, nearly double since 2006
  • Provided Sensory Evaluation Kits, free, to many (don't know the number shipped) judge training classes
  • Stated and maintained the Continuing Education Program
  • Moved to entirely web based program, saving the BJCP $$$ in postage, time and resources.
  • Performed all of these achievements while also having $0 in the treasury due to the absconding of funds
  • And most notably did so by an ENTIRELY volunteer organization, which is also a non-profit 501(c)3.
The point is made and there is some truth to these. We should do more. So have them volunteer. If not to translate into another language, or to program features on our web site, or ghost write a monthly newsletter, then they can ask what needs to be done. It's all volunteer!

President Gordon Strong, responsible for the overall administration of the BJCP, addressed the concerns:

Most of these were discussed at the member's meeting this year, and have currently active projects to address them. The BJCP has been experiencing record growth as all other aspects of the industry have. We are giving more exams, registering more competitions, and have more active judges in the program than at any time in history, including those in many new countries of the world. The exam quotas have been increased, and exams are currently being rescheduled to newer times with available slots.

The reworking of the exam program to address growth caused us to delay some other necessary projects, most notably the style guidelines, which had been scheduled to happen during that same time frame. We couldn't implement a new online exam that required questions based on the style guidelines if the style guidelines were changed at the same time. That was part of the discussion that went along with approving the work on the new exam program. But now that the new exam system is in place and seems to be working well, the guidelines are being revised. As I said at the meeting, the goal is to have the new ones out and ready to go into effect by the next NHC. Several portions of the guidelines are nearing completion and will start to be reviewed, likely starting with the cider guidelines since they are a dependency on the new cider exam being developed.

The web site is definitely behind the times. I've been working with a web developer this year on a new hosted site. The initial design is nearing completion, the site has been procured, and I'll be looking for the board to fund a professional web maintainer. The problem with attracting web resources to help the program has been the way the current site has been set up. So once the new site gets implemented, I'd expect it to be easier to get someone to manage the content. I have another person working on a wiki project as a way to finally get the vocabulary content posted. I still haven't received all the data, but the person has been working on the technology side since late last year.

There was discussion about additional training for graders as a way to increase throughput in the exam program. There are a couple of active projects for this underway. Work on better guidance to graders is being developed, but we are also discussing how to host regional/local training events. Funding to support those events is available, but we need to identify the content to provide (which is likely to come from that first effort).

On communications, I've identified an additional staff resource who is interested in putting together newsletter and current event content for posting on the web site and/or direct distribution to the membership. I've asked him to evaluate commercial push-type communications systems and recommend how the BJCP can best implement it. I'm thinking a commercial service will allow us to get around many of the problems we've had in the past with our communications being blocked. I've discussed the staff change with Mike Dixon, who supports it, and am preparing the package for board approval. The communication solution will require an expenditure, so that will also be reviewed once I have a recommendation and a cost estimate.

The board has in the past offered funds for local training events similar to what has been done at the NHC through the judge reception. No one has stepped up to provide such events (except for one in the Northwest several years ago, I recall), so it will likely involve some interested centralized party to promote it and see it along. Whether this can be done through the CEP directorate or via another staff position is open for discussion. I'd like to see how we can provide similar events to areas where the NHC isn't being held.

The question of overseeing judge quality and competition quality has come up from time to time. I don't know that we ever had workable solutions, but I'm open to hearing about them. In the past, there was little support for providing disciplinary actions on judging performance except in the most egregious circumstances. We can revisit this again if there are better ideas and interested people to implement them.

So I think many of the concerns being raised are actively being worked, including those actions I took at the member's meeting at the NHC. Solutions do take time, but the fact that projects aren't yet done doesn't mean that we are complacent or disinterested. Other items raised are valid discussions for the board, so we should take a look at them. We didn't have enough board members at the NHC this year to hold our normal planning meeting, so we'll need to get that scheduled soon. I was planning to do that after some of the projects had moved along far enough to have proposals worth discussing.

This just scratches at the list of things being worked across the organization, but directly addresses the content of your message. There is a lot going on, and we are trying to work on big solutions that will better position us in the long-term, not just cosmetic or short-term band-aids.

The reworking of the exam program was a huge effort that took significant resources and caused delays in other areas, but the board decided that it was critical enough to warrant the dedicated focus. I still think that was the right call, since we were looking at a total collapse of the exam system otherwise.

Dialogue continued. Representative Ryan Thomas added that it’s assumed that these efforts are underway, however, it’s not clear as to who is on these committees, nor about their progress. Representative Thomas also noted that he is approached regularly with ideas for efforts, and that the ideas are great, and the individuals are passionate, however, they don’t have detailed working knowledge of the program and its current processes. One example of an idea he noted he was approached about was the idea of a Yelp-like system for competitions, where each competition was provided a rating.

President Strong noted that all of the efforts had been discussed at the annual meeting at NHC and that there are projects underway for all of the efforts covered in Representative Thomas’ survey response. He noted that there is a standing style committee for 10 years, who collects updates, and that volunteers are always welcome to be a part of that effort. He noted that David Houseman is leading the cider exam project. He also noted that there have been calls for increased communication in the past, and that the individual he had identified to assist with increased communication noted that to be the case. He noted that updates to the board are given directly or over phone calls and their frequency is based upon previous feedback.

Dialogue continue surrounding the idea of a Yelp-like ratings application for competition, the many dependencies of the program on the style guidelines and how frequent updates would disrupt these efforts, and how more regular communication is needed from the Board.

Vote: No vote was taken

August 26, 2013: Assistant Communications Director Role (VOTE)

Date: August 26, 2013

Topic/Motion: Appointment of a new Assistant Communications Director

Initiated by: Gordon Strong

Scope: Representatives Only

Overview: BJCP Representatives voted on approving Jeff Sanders as Assistant Communication Director, the division of labor between Communications Director and Assistant Communication Director

Dialogue: Representatives were provided an overview of Jeff Sanders' background, his proposals, current feedback from membership on the need for greater communication, as well as the proposed initial role for the Assistant Communication Director:

The Assistant Communication Director is responsible for the following:

  • BJCP Newsletter.
  • Primary duties are the selection, configuration, and administration of a commercial service for bulk mailing to provide better communications with members.
  • The Assistant Communications Director will also collect content and prepare newsletters and other communications with the membership.
  • Secondary duties include other projects in process, as well as support as a backup for the Communication Director.

Vote: The vote was held on August 28 and passed unanimously, 7-0.

August 29, 2013: New Staffing Roles, Web Site Update

Date: August 29, 2013

Topic/Motion: New Staffing Roles, Web Site Update

Initiated by: Gordon Strong

Scope: Full Board

Overview: Appointment of Jeff Sanders to Assistant Communication Director, Ali Kocho-Williams as International Lead, and Web Site Updates

Dialogue: Gordon Strong announced to the full board (representatives and officers) the appointment of Jeff Sanders to the Assistant Communication Director position, as well as what the scope of the original role would entail.

Gordon announced the appointment of NorthEast Representative Ali Kocho-Williams to an International Lead for the BJCP. Gordon noted that Ali lives in the UK, and has been tasked with identifying primary points of contact by country, and fielding concerns by the membership in those countries for escalation to the Board for addressing. Gordon noted that in the past he had assumed that responsibility but given Ali's background, he felt it appropriate that Ali handle it and appreciates Ali's willingness to serve in the role.

Gordon also noted that the revision of the web site is a top priority. He noted that there is a new server and hosting provider, and that migration plans have been created. He noted that efforts to utilize volunteers have not yielded an expedited timeline, and that utilizing paid labor may help to expedite and provide a more predictable timeline. He also noted he has been working with an individual who has helped with the AHA's new web site, and another individual with a background in wikis in architecting the new site.

Vote: No vote was taken.

September 12, 2013: Vocabulary Project Update

Date: September 12, 2013

Topic/Motion: Vocabulary Project Updates

Initiated by: Gordon Strong

Scope: Full Board

Overview: Gordon Strong provides updates on the status of the Vocabulary Project

Dialogue: Gordon noted that he received an email from a program member who wanted to know the status of the project. He copied the members of the BJCP Board to provide them an update as well:

The status of the vocabulary project takes some time to explain.

We had a prior version, with good content, on a system that the BJCP did not control. One of the people working on the project took over that site and basically made it something the BJCP couldn't support or endorse. We did save the content, however.

We decided to reuse the content in a commercial wiki product rather than creating our own software. However, our current web host provider either didn't run compatible software with the wiki application, couldn't install the application, or wouldn't give us rights to maintain it (each of those three things happened, in sequence).

So we have three separate projects going on now to get the vocab project active. (1) We have a new web server on a new hosted provider. We haven't cut over to it yet, since our web system is being redesigned as part of that project. (2) I have someone else working to customize the commercial wiki product to meet our needs. He is still working on it, and is almost ready to import the content. (3) Someone else is reviewing, editing, and approving the final content, backing out all the various unauthorized edits the original developer made to the content. This is almost done, maybe 85% complete.

We'll need to have all those pieces in place before the new system can be active. If #2 and #3 are done before #1 is ready, we can still go live with the wiki application on the new host while our current web server is on the old host.

We may need additional help in reviewing, revising, and expanding content once we're back in operation. Once we have a system active, it will be a project under control of the CEP Directorate. I'd expect the CEP Director to have someone assigned as an ongoing lead for the product, with whatever supporting staff as necessary to work the follow-on tasks they identify.

Vote: No vote was taken.

September 24, 2013: Web Site Rehosting (VOTE)

Date: September 24, 2013

Topic/Motion: Web Site Rehosting and Build Out

Initiated by: Gordon Strong

Scope: Full Board

Overview: Gordon Strong provides an update on the web site, the approach, as well as resources needed.

Dialogue: Gordon noted

I've been looking at rehosting our web services for awhile. The current server, while fast and reliable, has limitations in how we can add new features and manage our site. The board discussed this last year and approved the direction to move to a commercial provider. Since then, I've worked with a web architect on inventorying and categorizing our information, selecting a hosted provider, getting initial setup steps completed, and planning the migration. I've also had some volunteer help in getting some of the additional products (like the forum software) up and running, as well as working on rehosting the vocabulary data (discussed in detail in a recent email).

I think we're now at the point where we can start the actual new site design and migration. The basic pieces are in place, but the heavy lifting of designing and implementing the new site and then getting to the 'go live' stage is going to require some focused effort. When the board last discussed the project, we decided to use outside help to make the site more modern and professional, including spending money to do it. We deferred on the actual amounts and directions since we didn't have the preliminaries in place. But now we do.

So I'd like to allocate some money to retain a professional service to help with this part of the project, taking advantage of the free help I've gotten so far. I'm thinking of a budget authorization, something that can be billed against for work authorized and performed, not a chunk of money to be handed over. Something in the $5K-$10K range, maybe. Enough so that substantial work can be done, getting us through the site launch and initial support.

I'd also like to pass the word that I might need help from directors in reviewing and managing the content relative to their directorates. We have a lot of information on our web site, but not all of it is current and relevant. There is certainly other information we'd like to have available. So we'll need support when the time comes to address those areas.

The basic migration plan is to finalize the site design; start the content migration, reorganizing and structuring as we go; establish the database structures we need; migrate applications; migrate application data; then cutover the network addresses and links to point to the new site. Once we're on the new site, we can start tackling application updates and new applications, and looking to restructure the job duties surrounding the web site. Hopefully to include getting a real webmaster to maintain it.

One of the goals of the new web site is to allow for more regular updating of content by multiple contributors. So I'd expect that people would have certain areas of responsibility and be able to maintain and post their own content, while having someone else focus on the site itself.

This has been something in the works for quite awhile, so I'm happy to finally be able to move on with it. Please ask questions or discuss; I'd like to be able to vote on the funding authorization once we're all on board.

In subsequent dialogue, Gordon noted this to be a one time expenditure and that it was expected there would be some degree of minimal maintenance fees needed to maintain the site.

Vote: A vote was held and passed unanimously (7-0) to allocate between $5,000 and $10,000 for this effort.

September 24, 2013: AHA Support for Electronic Exam Scanning/Routing and Grader Training (VOTE)

Date: September 24, 2013

Topic/Motion: American Homebrewers Association Support for Electronic Exam Scanning and Routing, as well as Grader Training

Initiated by: Gordon Strong

Scope: Full Board

Overview: Gordon Strong noted that he and the AHA had had discussions regarding how to increase the number of BJCP judges at the first round of the AHA National Homebrew Competition. Two of the proposals that rose to the top. The first was an offer to provide new AHA staff to receive exams from administrators, scan them into PDFs, organize them into appropriately named files and folders, and place on a file sharing system where Exam Directors could access them. The second offer was to provide expense reimbursement for travel in support of holding grader training sessions.

Dialogue: As can be expected, this topic generated a great deal of dialogue. Gordon noted that as part of the dialogue, the AHA and BJCP recognized the need for independence, that each organizations enjoy their existing partnerships through the Sanctioned Competition Program and on NHC. He noted that each organization has a great working relationship and that this effort is only a furthering of that relationship to mutually benefit each.

Discussion continued as to how the scanning would occur, and the logistics of ensuring graders had legible copies. Some graders noted their preference in having paper copies they could hold in their hands. Some board members called for a trial period for testing the nature of relationship to verify the process worked. Others noted that they didn't believe that the reason the AHA first round is such a massive undertaking in terms of having qualified judges is due to the sheer number of entries per site in one or two days, and that perhaps by spreading out the number of days of judging it would make it a more scalable competition. After two days of extensive dialogue, a vote was taken, with several suggestions also being passed onto the AHA to help improve the number of judges who attend the NHC first round, including: GABF-style judging; qualifiers; increase site funding; more incentives for judges; and asking sites if they can handle more entries.

Vote: A vote was held on September 26, 2013, and passed unanimously (7-0).

September 25, 2013: Staff Updates and Exam Program Updates

Date: September 25, 2013

Topic/Motion: Staff Updates and Exam Program Updates

Initiated by: Gordon Strong

Scope: Full Board

Overview: Gordon noted the new size of the Exam Directorate.

Dialogue: As a point of information, Gordon noted that the Exam Directorate now includes five Exam Directors, an Assistant Exam Director, and nine Associate Exam Directors for a total of 15. He noted that such a large number of members of the Directorate were put in place to handle the increased number of exams now being offered. He also noted that due to the sheer size of the Directorate, ED Steve Piatz is purely focused on scheduling, policy, and projects.

Vote: No vote was taken.

September 26, 2013: AHA Support Details

Date: September 26, 2013

Topic/Motion: AHA Support Details

Initiated by: Gordon Strong

Scope: Full Board

Overview: After a vote passed authorizing the BJCP to accept support from the AHA with the intent of increasing the number of first round judges at NHC competitions, Gordon Strong noted details on how the effort would take place.

Dialogue: Gordon noted that the AHA will be hiring a part-time hire to assist with BJCP efforts at the end of January 2014. This individual will attend GABF and NHC. His/her responsibility is to scan exams and return them within a 24-48 hour time period, with the exception of the time period between Christmas and New Year's. The AHA will provide tuning and optimization of the scans based upon feedback from BJCP judges. The AHA noted they too would like a formal agreement in place between the two organizations. The term of the agreement would be one year, renewed automatically, with 6 months necessary to opt-out. The AHA noted that they are in the partnership for the long haul.

Vote:No vote was taken.

October 8, 2013: Regional Training Concept (VOTE)

Date: October 8, 2013

Topic/Motion: Regional Training Concept

Initiated by: Randy Scorby

Scope: Full Board

Overview: Education Director Randy Scorby put forth a Regional Training Concept brief to the board, including two specific efforts to be included: Advanced Judge Training and Exam Grader Training. A Regional Training Coordinator position would be created under the CEP Directorate to oversee the region training, including (but not limited to) recruiting regional training coordinators, managing the schedule of events, and reviewing/approving content & expenditures.

The contents of the training concept include the following:

-$1,500.00 will be available to each BJCP region annually for expenses

- Registration and additional student fees, if needed, can be set up through the BJCP CEP Events Registration application on the website (the same application used to register for the BJCP Judge Reception at the NHC).

1. Advanced Judge Training – Full & half day sessions

a. Purpose – To provide in-depth judge training to those who want to increase their knowledge and skill level and/or improve their judge rank on a regional basis.

b. Potential Topics:

i. Advanced stylistic training – Side by side comparisons of similar styles, what makes them different; using the style guidelines to complement actual tasting experience instead of as a sole source; what is malt richness; etc.

ii. Beyond the standard off characteristics.

iii. Recognizing oxidation beyond paper, cardboard and sherry.

iv. Differentiating phenols and their appropriateness in certain styles (German Weizen & Belgian Ales), causes and controls.

v. Sourness – appropriately identifying lactic vs. acetic.

vi. Writing advanced/master score sheets & how to provide concise and relevant feedback; consistent and accurate scoring.

vii. Allowing one perceived fault to carry through into the entire beer.

viii. Recognizing palate fatigue.

ix. Characteristics of aged or oxidized hops.

x. Astringency vs. hop bitterness.

xi. Caramel character vs. Diacetyl.

xii. Understanding balance.

xiii. Residual sweetness in beer vs. finish.

xiv. Judging mead – Differences in sweetness levels, common off characteristics, acidity vs. tannins, malic/citric/tartaric acid characteristics, honey characteristics, how to properly judge, terminology.

2. Exam Grader Training

a. Purpose – To provide both experienced and inexperienced exam graders with additional knowledge and experience to be accurate and consistent graders, provide a forum for new graders to become involved and invested in the exam grading program. Additional qualified graders may increase the number of exams per month as recommended by the Exam Directorate.

b. Potential Topics:

i. Discuss and make available exam grading resources such as the current Exam Scoring Guide, Guidelines for Lead Graders of BJCP Exams, Creating & Recognizing Great Score Sheets.

ii. How to determine an exam taker’s overall judge level – the big picture. How to score in general, scoring individual questions/beer, grading and scoring master level exams.

iii. Top-down vs. bottom-up scoring approach.

iv. How to read, interpret and complete the EGF.

v. Roles of the lead grader – Encouraging in-depth participation from the 2nd graders, mentoring them to become solid lead graders, reaching consensus, stay within deadlines.

vi. Pitfalls of grading – There’s more than one way to answer a question, don’t set the bar impossibly high, don’t find reasons not to score at advanced ranks, ability to recognize that there may be times when exam takers are more advanced than the proctors.

vii. Completing the RTP:

1. Be comprehensive with your comments, but don’t write a novel.

2. Providing useful and relevant feedback.

3. Don’t give the examinee every answer; just point them in the right direction to find it.

4. Comments should be constructive and contribute to the learning process, they should not discourage them from ever taking the exam again.

A new position, Regional Training Coordinator, will be created. This position, equivalent to an Assistant CEP Director, will report to the CEP Director, and will be responsible for recruiting training coordinators within each region, for managing the schedule of events, for coordinating the NHC Judge Reception, and for reviewing and approving content and expenditures within each training event. This is a project management-type position, and may include assisting with content development if sufficient time, skill and interest exist. The Regional Training Coordinator will also capture any reusable content used during the events for possible use in other regions and events.

Training Coordinators (regular BJCP members who volunteer to put together a training event within a region), with the involvement of the CEP Directorate, will be responsible for coordinating regional training sessions. CEP points will be available for the organizer, instructors and students. Instructors should be chosen based on their skill level and knowledge of the topic.

The BJCP Representative for the region should be informed of the activities. Some representatives may wish to serve as the training coordinators within their regions, but this is not required.

Dialogue: Representative Ryan Thomas expressed concern whether the Regional level was the appropriate level at which to create such a position given the geographic distribution of judges within his region, and whether or not an Area or Local coordinator was better suited.

Gordon Strong noted he supports the plan, and applauded Randy for the structure around the proposal. He noted that the AHA efforts will dovetail well into this proposal, that there is an existing registration and payment system that can be used for coordinating such events, and that one of the best parts of the proposal is having an individual whose job it is to retain materials, store them, and keep them up to date. Further discussion was had on the appropriate levels and on logistics.

Vote: A vote began on October 23, 2013 and concluded on October 30, 2013. The motion passed unanimously (7-0) with the following specifics as to how the Regional Concept will be implemented:

  • $10,500 will be allocated a year to support the regional education concept.
  • A second vote will occur on a Secondary CEP Director staff appointment separately, after the plan is approved and Randy makes a recommendation.
  • The funding amount of $10,500 is based upon $1500 a region, but the CEP Director Randy and the regional training coordinator have the discretion to allocate the money based on need and demand. The approval authority for spending money will be at the CEP level (Director or Assistant Director), not at the region level. Oversight is needed of regional plans.
  • Staffing at the region level is at the discretion of the CEP Director.
  • If multiple people are needed to cover different sections of a region, it is approved. The overall coordinator (assistant director) will still have oversight over the staffing and budgets. Each region should have at least one person designated to coordinate local training events.
  • Randy and and the CEP will be responsible for coordinating the content delivered. Coordination with the Exam Directorate on grader training content is required.
  • The responsibility for the NHC judge reception will transfer to the new assistant CEP director.
  • The AHA will be providing travel reimbusement for content delivery for grader training. The CEP Directorate will take over this coordination responsibility, including working out the details with the AHA on how this will be handled. The CEP must still approve each trip subject to reimbursement.
  • The CEP Directorate will be responsible for collecting, organizing and sharing the content developed as part of this program. Coordination with the IT Directorate is required as we migrate to the new web site. The future goal is to allow direct publishing from the CEP on the new web site.

October 16, 2013: Merchandise Update

Date: October 16, 2013

Topic/Motion: Merchandise Update

Initiated by: Gordon Strong

Scope: Full Board

Overview: Gordon Strong noted that he had been working with a number of different vendors on the merchandise available to BJCP members, specifically focused on embroidery. Prototypes were given to some board members for feedback, with a focus on providing value and quality merchandise that would hold up over time and be utilized at judging events. The intent is to have a limited number of products from a trustable vendor. The BJCP does not intend to make any money from the sales of the merchandise, but does need to identify a trustable vendor with a web storefront who can meet the quality standards and will be a partner in the longer term. Gordon asked Mike Dixon, Communication Director, to lead the effort.

Dialogue: Mike noted he would begin to contact some of the vendors and keep the board informed.

Vote: No vote was taken.

October 23, 2013: Exam Quota Update

Date: October 23, 2013

Topic/Motion: Exam Quota Update

Initiated by: Gordon Strong

Scope: Full Board

Overview: Gordon Strong noted that the BJCP was now operating at a total of 10 exams per month, that all exam organizers had been contacted with the option of moving their exams up, and that as a result, there were more exam spaces available in 2015. Exam Director Steve Piatz spent over 2 months reaching each Exam Administrator to notify them of the changes.

Dialogue: No dialogue occurred.

Vote: No vote was taken.

November 4, 2013: David Teckham Appointed as Regional Training Coordinator (VOTE)

Date: November 4, 2013

Topic/Motion: David Teckham Appointed as Regional Training Coordinator

Initiated by: Gordon Strong

Scope: Representatives Only

Overview: CEP Education Director Randy Scorby made recommendations to appoint David Teckham as the first Regional Training Coordinator based upon the Regional Training proposal that was approved by the Board.

Dialogue: No dialogue occurred.

Vote: A vote was taken on November 19, 2013 and the motion passed unanimously (7-0) to appoint David Teckham into the role.

November 4, 2013: Bylaw Update Proposed

Date: November 4, 2013

Topic/Motion: Bylaw Update Proposed

Initiated by: Gordon Strong

Scope: Representatives Only

Overview: Gordon Strong noted to the other Representatives that an update of the Bylaws was long overdue and that previous efforts to update the Bylaws had not resulted in a final work product. As a result, Gordon volunteered to gather the notes he had had during the past few years and revise the Bylaws, then to get feedback from the Board at large before a vote was taken.

Dialogue: Representatives agreed the updates were long overdue and asked Gordon to perform the updates.

Vote: No vote was taken.

November 7, 2013: Judge and Competition Feedback Software

Date: November 7, 2013

Topic/Motion: Judge and Competition Feedback Software

Initiated by: Joe Formanek

Scope: Full Board

Overview: MidWest Representative and Vice President Joe Formanek noted that the Grant Committee recently received a proposal regarding funding for software development to develop a program that offers feedback to both judges evaluating entries as well as to competition organizers to assist in competition improvement. This software would be open source freeware made available to BJCP registered competitions after Beta testing in a region local to the submitter. There is also a competition rating system proposed to be included in the software, linked to the competition rating system on the BJCP website, as well as utilizing a site account where judges can privately receive feedback. The software would allow a “Quality of Judging” feedback for individual judges as well as for the competition as a whole to allow decisions to be made whether a brewer or judge should participate in the event. This new software would be added onto the existing BCOE&M software package being used by local clubs as well as the AHA to help organize competition and to manage judges and entries. Joe and the Grant Committee wished to receive feedback on the proposal from the Board.

Dialogue: Board members expressed concerns that participants in the competition may purposefully elect to provide negative feedback about the competition, with an inferred silent endorsement from the BJCP. Others questioned whether feedback should be provided only on competitions using the ranking, and whether or not feedback on individual judges was warranted to be visible in a public format. Competition Director David Houseman noted that prospective judges or entrants may be interested in hearing from other judges on "quality of judging, timeliness of return of forms, timeliness of submitting organizer reports, quality of lunches for judges, cost of entry, wow factor of prizes/ribbons."

Further dialogue noted that it should be questioned whether or not the BJCP should fund enhancements to one software package (BCOE&M) for running competitions versus providing that funding for other software packages. Several noted that they see relevance in providing feedback about the competition year over year, but dissenting voices noted that Competition Organizers do change year over year. Questions arose as to exactly what the funds would be going to: paying the developer, hosting expenses, or some other item. Some noted that there were direct concerns in paying a volunteer for an effort he is expending elsewhere. Competition Director Dave Houseman noted that he does recommend the BJCP create a web-based means of competition rating for all BJCP/AHA-sanctioned competitions by participants. The question put forth was whether or not the enhancements to an existing software package that is not officially sanctioned by the BJCP would serve the broader interest and mission of the BJCP.

Joe Formanek noted that the Grant Committee thanked the Board for the discussion and points to consider, and that he and the Grant Committee would have an internal discussion and respond to the proposal.

Vote: No vote was taken.

November 21, 2013: Mailing Service Software (VOTE)

Date: November 21, 2013

Topic/Motion: Mailing Service Software

Initiated by: Gordon Strong and Jeff Sanders

Scope: Full Board

Overview: Gordon Strong noted that Assistant Communication Director Jeff Sanders had finished his rather extensive analysis of bulk mailing services in conjunction with the Communication Directorate, that the service met their requirements, and was recommending the BJCP allocate funds for the service. Gordon noted that the service being recommended is GetResponse, which Jeff was able to negotiate an annual discount and 501c3 discount for bringing it to a total of $221 annually. Gordon noted it will let the Board publish newsletters or other bulk mailings to members, and can construct dynamic queries to target certain sets of judges by region, rank, or other attributes in the database. The service will track bounces, and also allow individuals to opt-out of mailings (as required by law).

Dialogue: Jeff noted that he had reviewed and set up test accounts for 28 different services, running them through a set of evaluations. He noted that the GetResponse service price is quite good and includes a 50% discount for non-profits and for paying for a full year. He noted GetResponse supports segmenting, which is targeting messages by custom fields the BJCP incorporates. He noted GetResponse has a programming interface that can used in the future to link up with the web site and/or the database. GetResponse also supports Responsive Design, meaning that emails can be designed once and then the service re-formats them regardless of the device (PC, Mac, Tablet, Phone) or the platform or the version. He stated GetResponse they supports text-based e-mail as well, and that some people just want the text. He noted GetResponse uses an opt-in model, meaning that those who don't want to get the e-mails don't have to, but can also opt-in at a later time. He lastly noted the service will help to track down bounced e-mail addresses.

Jeff also noted that the service could be used for elections, to notify judges that their vote is needed; a mailing for exams, to notify those in a specific geography that there are available seats, for example; a mailing for provisional judges, to get them engaged in judging while awaiting their test scores, for example; mailings based upon rank; mailings for graders; mailings based upon anything captured in the BJCP database. The board discussed the expenditure.

Vote: A vote was taken on November 26, and passed unanimously to fund the service (7-0).

December 5, 2013: BJCP Bylaw Update Proposal

Date: December 5, 2013

Topic/Motion: BJCP Bylaw Update Proposal

Initiated by: Gordon Strong on part of the Representatives

Scope: Full Board

Overview: Gordon Strong noted that the BJCP Bylaws were long overdue for an update. He noted that a previous committee's work in updating them never yielded any updates that were voted upon, and at the direction of the Representatives, he had worked on re-writing the bylaws to address concerns that had been voiced over the past several years, as well as bring them into alignment with concerns addressed by many similarly sized non-profits. Gordon uploaded a proposed copy of the Bylaws for review and feedback by the Board. He noted that any updates must be posted for 30 days to be reviewed by the membership before they may be voted upon.

Dialogue: Board members provided feedback questioning the need for an odd number of regions, who provides review of staff functions and roles annually, when the Annual (financial) Report is to be posted by, and whether or not the period allocated for amendments was too lengthy. A question was raised as to why the BJCP does not enforce term limits.

Gordon noted that he reviews the roles and descriptions for staff annually and makes suggestions at the Annual Meeting. He noted that while most of the membership cannot make it to the Annual Meeting, that the role of the new Assistant Communication Director is to provide updates to the membership, and that mailings should help to improve information flow. He also noted that in the past, the amount of time necessary to review a proposed change (60 days/30 days) was itself a limiting factor in implementing the change. He also offered his personal opinion that term limits are best set by elections.

Treasurer Al Boyce noted that Annual (financial) Reports had been completed in every year, however, they were not always posted to the web site but instead made available upon request. Further feedback was provided from Communication Director Mike Dixon from Facebook, noting members desire to include non-discriminatory language. Questions arose as to how a tie is resolved between Representatives should one Representative not be able to vote, or if the vote is limited to an even number of Representatives. In that case, does the vote fall to the President to break a tie, and is there a conflict of interest if the President is also a Representative (as required by BJCP current bylaws).

Vote:Gordon Strong noted that the changes noted by the Board were incorporated, and a new version of the Bylaws were posted to the web site (December 27). He also noted that a vote would occur on or around January 11, 2014 (Note: The revision to the by-laws did pass on January 14, 2014 by a unanimous vote (7-0)).

December 26, 2013: Proctor Payment Policy

Date: December 26, 2013

Topic/Motion: Proctor Payment Policy

Initiated by: Representatives

Scope: Representatives Only

Overview: After the new Best Practices for Exam Administration whitepaper was released, the BJCP Representatives discussed the BJCP's policy on whether and how much proctors may be reimbursed for the administration and attendance of an exam.

Dialogue: Feedback was gathered for further discussion.

Vote: No vote was taken.

The next issue of the BJCP Bulletin will include discussion topics, votes, and minutes for the period of Q1 2014.


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