Quarterly Meeting of the State Committee of Vendors

Embassy Suites International Drive
Orlando, Florida

Friday, May 6, 2016

The meeting was called to order at 8:36am by Committee Chairman Tom Spiliotis. Vice Chairman John Klindtworth called the role.

The following individuals were present:

Tom Spiliotis, Chairman

John Klindtworth, Vice Chairman

District Representatives: Alton Palmore, District 1 Alternate; Mike Renaud, District 2; Terri Bowen Lindstrom, District 3; Patti Fulda, District 4; Mitzi Tyler, District 5; Jose Quintanilla, District 6; Woody Matthews, District 7; Tom Saunders, District 8; Joel Rose, District 9; Lilian Pemberton, District 10.

Bureau of Business Enterprise Staff: Bill Findley, Bureau Chief; Maureen Fink, Operations Manager; Alan Risk, Compliance Officer; John Ahler, Business Analyst; Brian Ashworth, Region 1 Business Consultant; Bernie Kaiserian, Region 2 Business Consultant; Greg Coon, Region 3 Business Consultant; Tony Arduengo, Region 4 Business Consultant; Jim Carper, Region 5 Business Consultant; Alejandro Garcia, Region 6 Business Consultant, Janet Chernoff, Administrative Services Consultant. Marketing and Site Development Manager, Don Meloy was unable to attend the meeting.

Licensed Vendors: David Kaplan, District 9 Alternate; Jim Anderson, District 6 Alternate,

Todd Bowen, Jim Warth, Kathy Warth, Sead Bekric, Phil Hubbard

Guests: Patty Hubbard, Marion Matthews

Janet Chernoff read a synopsis of the minutes of the January Committee meeting. A full copy of the minutes had been emailed to Committee members prior to the meeting. Joel Rose moved to approve the minutes as written. Seconded by Jose Quintanilla. Passed without objection.

BBE Updates - Bill Findley

The Division continues to work on expanding opportunities with the Veteran's Administration (VA), Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and the Air Force Bases (AFB) which have been met with resistance. The VA has given BBE vendors marginal locations in the VA facilities in Orlando and Bay Pines. In a response to a letter from the Division requesting all the vending and the retail store at Lake Nona in Orlando, the VA indicated that they would provide a counter offer by August 2016. The Division has requested that the VA respond by the end of May. The Division is prepared to file for arbitration if the offer is deemed unacceptable. The facility at Bay Pines allowed the program to place three machines which had sales of just over $400 last year. Bill, Tom Spiliotis and Don Meloy met with the Assistant Director on April 12 to express interest in expanding the BBE presence at the Center and asked Bay Pines to comply with Randolph-Sheppard Act. On a national level law suits against the VA have been won by State Licensing Agencies like ours, but have not resulted in a significant change.

BBE management and attorneys from the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) met with KSC officials in March to discuss planned renovations in one of the snack bars, competition to BBE facilities from the gift shops, vending in the Headquarters Building and catering. There was a second meeting between KSC vendors Phil Hubbard and Aruna Kapadia, BBE staff members Maureen Fink and Greg Coon and Tom Cook of the NASA staff. The Retail Operations Manager, KelleAnn Carion-Parr was unable to attend. Tom Cook indicated that he believed that there was an agreement between the BBE vendors and the Exchange that allowed the gift shops to sell products such as candy, snacks and sodas and that the shops have been selling these products for several years. Tom Cook and Maureen Fink will both check to see if there is any further information on an agreement. Phil Hubbard will contact the NASA Exchange to see if he can schedule another meeting when the Retail Operations Manager can attend. Phil Hubbard reported on some of the challenges and concerns of operators at KSC including the complimentary food provided by Space X to its employees and sales of snacks and drinks by center staff to fellow employees.

Tyndall AFB is reluctant to give us the vending even though it was agreed upon during arbitration as the result of a settlement agreement. The Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) is currently operating the vending and the Division may have to go back to arbitration to get compliance with the agreement. The Division may request a review from the Inspector General office on compliance with the Randolph Sheppard Act. This may open the door to vending on military bases.

The Leon County rest areas on I-10 have been closed for remodeling since June 2015. The WB rest area is scheduled to reopen on June 2 and the EB is scheduled to reopen on July 7. The Jefferson County rest areas on I-10 will be closed one at a time once the Leon County rest areas reopen. The Department of Transportation (DOT) expects to be finished with the EB Jefferson County rest area in February and the WB rest area by March of 2017. The DOT will be requesting that interested parties submit plans for the second Alligator Alley rest area by July 2016 and expects it to open in February 2018. The renovations for I-275 rest areas on the Skyway Bridge will begin by requesting bids in November 2016 with designs to be submitted in February 2017 and construction starting in May 2017. The project is expected to take a year. No information is available at this time which rest area will be done first. There are no plans to renovate the EB I-4 rest area in Seminole County. There are plans to relocate the WB 1-4 Seminole County rest area in the next two years.

The BBE presented at the Division of Blind Services (DBS) Administrative Staff meeting on April 6 and at the 75th Anniversary Celebration on April 27th. Both were held in Daytona Beach. Bill Findley along with vendors Dennis Iglesias and Jose Quintanilla spoke at the staff meeting. Bill Findley, Alan Risk, Maureen Fink, John Ahler, Janet Chernoff, Don Meloy and Steve Moss presented the "Real Stories of the BBE" along with vendors Tom Spiliotis, Debbie Hietala and Sead Bekric at the anniversary celebration. Sixteen licensed vendors attended the event and received CEU credit. This is a yearlong celebration and events will be held throughout the state.

Bill Findley, Tom Spiliotis and Alan Risk met with Tom Castillo, the Blind Services representative from Coca-Cola to discuss the recent price increase and what can be done to provide a long-term solution for pricing and service issues. It would appear the best solution would be for the BBE vendors and Coca-Cola to work together and come up with a long-term pricing agreement similar to one that Coca-Cola has with vendors in Georgia. The Department of Education (DOE) can work with the committee on an agreement for pricing. Joel Rose suggested forming a quasi-corporation so the vendors can negotiate pricing with Coca-Cola and other companies such as Vistar and Pepsi. Representatives from Pepsi spoke to the BBE staff on Thursday, May 5 about their healthy vending initiative called "Hello Goodness" which promotes healthier snack options. They require a minimum of 15 machines be installed and would subsidize the cost of the machines. Pepsi would require an agreement which the Division would not be able to sign. Tom Spiliotis will check with RSA buying group about a possible agreement option.

Plans are being finalized for the facility in the Turlington Building. Hopefully the work will start this summer with a possible fall opening. The BBE has recommended a hybrid micro market, but the final decision will be made by the Commissioner of Education's office. Mike Renaud was recognized for all his hard work in taking on this location along with the locations at Citizen's Insurance and the Department of Environmental Protection in Tallahassee.

Bill reminded everyone that the State fiscal year was soon coming to an end and that the BBE is now in good shape. The long awaited required spending authority needed to pay the military dining contracts was approved May 3, 2016. The BBE will be able to pay the military base vendors and their teaming partners without using regular budget spending authority. Tom Spiliotis recognized operators Edward Spence, Alton Palmore and Ed Hale who are operating the military dining facilities. He also commended Bill Findley and the Division for pursuing these opportunities. The Division will pursue the military dining at Tyndall when it becomes available.

Andrew Johnson has returned from his extended leave and Susan Johnson is also back at work. Mitchell Clark joined DBS on April 13th as the new Chief of the Bureau of Operations and Compliance. Mitchell replaced Marcia Haye who left in December.

Type IIs- Maureen Fink

There are currently eighteen facilities on a Type II LOFA. Two will be on the May selection cycle and three more will be on future selection cycles. Viability is being determined on twelve facilities and one is a special circumstance with a vendor on medical leave.

Disposition of Facility 427-Maureen Fink

Terri Bowen Lindstrom has elected to stay at Facility 425, WB I-10 rest area at Wellborn and Facility 427, WB I-10 rest area Leon County will be available. The Division is recommending that an administrative appointment be given to Georgia Kellogg. Georgia would be required to give up her current rest areas, Facilities 571 and 572 located on I-10 in Jefferson County which would result in two separate facilities once they are rebuilt and reopened. Woody Matthews made the motion to give Georgia Kellogg an administrative appointment to Facility 427 contingent on her agreement to give up all claim to her current facilities. Seconded by Joel Rose. Passed without objection.

BBE Training Class-Maureen Fink

Steve Moss and Jill Richardson did not attend the meeting. Currently there is one student in class and three students are in on the job training. Steve and Jill will present to the transition students during their summer program in July. Jose Quintanilla suggested that students spend some time with him on his route. Jose will coordinate with Steve Moss.

Marketing/Site Development-Bill Findley

Don Meloy could not attend the meeting so Bill Findley presented his report. Machine installations have been done at Citizen's Insurance in Jacksonville, the Punta Gorda airport, City of Lake Worth, Drug Enforcement Administration in Miami, Department of Children and Families in Tampa, Department of Revenue in Pensacola and Daytona and at the Coast Guard and Border Protection in Miami. The agreement with the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) is in place. Three agreements are waiting to be signed and five agreements are waiting for a response. Sites being surveyed include Florida National Guard in Miramar, St. Augustine and Camp Blanding and the Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee. The current agreement at the hospital ends in December. A RFI (request for information) has been done to get information from companies interested in partnering with the program to service prison commissaries. The next step would be to do a RFP (request for proposal) or an ITB (invitation to bid).

Business Analyst Update - John Ahler

John Ahler reported on information required for the RSA report. Gross sales of $10,623,453 dollars were reported for the first six months of the Federal fiscal year from October 2015 - March 2016. Vendors earned over $3 million during this period. Average vendor earnings is over $63,000 per year. Vendors employ 116 people including twelve with visual disabilities and two with other disabilities. In 2015 John did 56 monitorings and has done nine in 2016. He is working with vendors on how they claim their non-taxable sales and making sure they know which expenses are allowable on the monthly report. He recommends doing a session on preparing a monthly report for the next road show. Vendors need to make sure they are calculating sales tax properly and communicating the correct information to their accountants. John worked with new operator Laurel Lyew Sang and she is off to a good start at the Broward Government Center, Ft. Lauderdale. Region 5 vendors helped provide her with product so that she could open fully stocked on her first day.

Committee meetings - Janet Chernoff

The next two committee meetings will be moved to the Embassy Suites on Jamaican Court in Orlando. The dates are August 19-20 and December 2-3.

Compliance Officer Report-Alan Risk

Two people have been licensed so far in 2016 and twelve were licensed 2015. Four facilities were awarded on the January selection cycle. Three were to operators who had them on a Type II and Facility 532, FCI Marianna was awarded to new licensee James Robinson. Facility 586, Orlando vending route and Facility 608, vending at Tachachale will be available on the May selection cycle. There is concern that Facility 608 is not viable as a stand-alone facility. It was suggested that the selected operator be given the option of taking Facility 599, Lake City vending route on a Type II. Twenty-five operators have fulfilled their CEU requirement and only nine operators have less than one CEU. A list of CEU opportunities are on the website and BBE staff will be doing a road show this fall. No grievances have been filed in over a year.

Proposed Rule Change Update-Alan Risk

A workshop was held via conference call on Wednesday, May 4. Eighteen vendors participated in the call and two vendors attended in person. The purpose of the workshop was for interested parties to make comments on the proposed rule changes. Operators will be able to continue to make comments throughout the process and all comments will be addressed equally. Three areas of concern are the changes in the selection cycle, the required recertification of blindness and the "when due" clause in regarding working capital. There is a concern that too many major modifications are being planned for this rule change. It is recommended that the proposed changes to the selection process and the blindness recertification be tabled at this time and be dealt with individually at a later date. The "when due" clause does not change the current policy regarding payback of working capital. The LOFA delineates this policy and is incorporated with the rules. Bill Findley and Alan Risk will meet with the attorneys from the OGC on Monday, May 16 and will recommend that changes regarding the selection process and blindness recertification be tabled. Tom Spiliotis will put together a subcommittee to discuss a working capital repayment plan.

Adjourned for the day at 4:10pm.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Committee Chairman Tom Spiliotis called the meeting to order at 9:05am. Vice Chairman John Klindtworth called the role.

Regional Status/District Updates

Region 3 - Greg Coon

Two locations were added to Facility 285, Daytona Beach vending route. The newly added DJJ location has sales that have surpassed other locations on this route. Facility 466, snack bar at KSC is being painted and a new walk in cooler is planned for Facility 378, Orlando cafeteria. Monthly sales at Facility 604, micro-market at the George C. Young Federal Building have doubled since the grand opening in December. An additional 250-300 people are expected to be added to the building's current population of 450 people in the fall. This location could eventually be a good starter location.

District 5 - Mitzi Tyler

The issues concerning her district were discussed earlier. She has nothing else to report.

District 6 - Jose Quintanilla

Jose has just added a DJJ building to his route. Sales for the snack machine were $183 for the first ten days. The soda machine was just installed.

Region 4 - Tony Arduengo

Three machines have been installed in the Punta Gorda Airport. Three more machines including a hot drink machine for the baggage area and a drink machine and snack machine for the ticketing area will be installed. This location will be part of Facility 180, Ft. Myers vending route. A location at the Delnor Wiggins State Park is also planned for this route. Sarasota County locations have been added to Facility 555, Bradenton/Sarasota vending route. Fourteen snack machines have been installed in Sarasota County locations. Card readers have been installed in machines at Facility 605, James Haley VA Clinic which has resulted in an increase in sales. Three machines have been installed in the DCF building in Tampa and will be serviced as part of Facility 605 until a decision is made on the food service for the building. The Division had recommended a micro-market for this facility, but the building management is investigating options for a full service café.

District 7 - Woody Matthews

Everything is going okay in his district. Woody will plan a conference call after the meeting to talk to the vendors in his area. Woody is seeing an increase in sales with credit card readers in locations at the DJJ and the Narcotics Division. The county has relaxed the healthy snack requirements and has allowed products that are "healthier for you".

District 8 - Tom Saunders

No news from the vendors in District 8. Tom will plan a post meeting conference call.

There was a short discussion about the importance of District Representatives communicating with the vendors in their areas.

Region 6 - Alejandro Garcia

Seventeen new locations have been added to routes in Region 6. The four over the counter facilities are being painted. Facility 156, snack bar in the Dade Justice Building has average sales of over $50,000 per month. The vendor was operating a second temporary location while a new cafeteria was being built. That location will close on Friday, May 6th. Facility 348, cafeteria at the State Regional Service Center has had major renovations including new equipment and dining room furniture. The facility will need plumbing work that is estimated to cost $30,000. A project to build walls to create a storage room for the facility as well as storage for BBE equipment is still in process with an estimated cost of $90,000.

District 10 - Lilian Pemberton

Two post office locations on Facility 614, Doral vending route will be moving staff to a new building being constructed next to the Facility 519, US Post Office operated by another vendor. If the new building is connected to the post office the operator of 519 will service the location. If it is a separate building the location may be part of Facility 614. This will be addressed once construction is complete. A couple of small locations have been added to Facility 614. Another possibility to help offset the loss of this pivotal location is to combine Facility 614 with locations originally planned for a new southern vending route.

Region 5 - Jim Carper

Overall sales in Region 5 are up 10%. Facility 508, I-75 Rest Area has seen an increase of 20% and Facility 612, Broward Sherriff's office cafeteria has had a 9% increase. Locations with the City of Lake Worth have been added to Facility 257, Palm Beach County vending route. An additional location, Rapid Transit is slated to be added to this route once the agreement is signed. A State Department location was added to Facility 501, North Broward County vending route. Card readers have been added to vending machines at Facility 469, Palm Beach County Courthouse along with new digital menu boards. Laurel Lyew Sang took over the operation of Facility 352, Broward County snack bar on April 1, 2016. Vendors in the area pulled together to make sure she had enough product for her opening day. South Florida Water Management is looking for a food service facility. The Division will look options and plans to put together a proposal for this facility. The current operator is resigning from Facility 547, South Broward vending route and the facility is being offered on a Type II. The notice was emailed to all vendors on May 4th and the interviews will be held on May 10th.

District 9 - Joel Rose

Joel is looking forward to the increase in business from the new location on his route.

Region 1 - Brian Ashworth

Alton Palmore will be operating Facility 620, Panama City Vending Route on a Type II. The plan is to add the vending from the Tyndall AFB to this route. James Robinson will take over Facility 532, Marianna FCI on June 6. A new serving line will be installed later this month in Facility 371, FDLE Cafeteria. The Northwood Centre, a major location on Facility 502, Tallahassee vending route is being closed down due to issues with the building. New locations are being sought to offset the loss. Some of the personnel from this building are being moved to the old corrections building in Tallahassee and we are pursuing placing vending machines in this location. Brian and Don Meloy will investigate the possibility of vending with the City of Tallahassee. Facility 320, Claude Pepper cafeteria has had record sales in March. This is due in part to $8000 from catering jobs. Facility 441, Larson Building cafeteria had a health inspection with zero violations. The operator of Facility 273, Collins Building snack bar has paid $1000 towards reducing her working capital.

District 1 - Alton Palmore, Alternate

Everything is going fine in his district. The District Representative, Lourena Mellott has been having trouble with her email.

District 2 - Mike Renaud

Mike has nothing to add. All his concerns were addressed earlier in the meeting.

Region 2 - Bernie Kaiserian

Facility 33, Duval County Courthouse snack bar has had record sales. Six new locations have been added to various routes. Vending at the Millhopper Library has been added to Facility 525, Gainesville Vending Route. Three of the food service operations in Region 2 have the square system. Twenty-three locations are using card readers and five operators in Region 2 are still not taking credit cards. The operator of Facility 610, Northeast Florida State Hospital is accepting credit card on machines in the employee breakroom. Jim Parkman, operator of Facility 489, I-95 Welcome Center has been an operator in the BBE program for 50 years. Jim's contribution to the program was acknowledged at the DBS 75th Anniversary celebration.

District 3 - Terri Bowen Lindstrom

She has nothing to report on her district. Terri will be holding a conference call following the meeting to update vendors in her area.

District 4 - Patti Fulda

Patti will be attending the Florida Council of the Blind Convention held in Jacksonville on May 12-15, 2016. She will take attendance and give the information to Alan Risk. BBE vendors will receive CEU credit for attending this meeting. Patti encouraged all vendors to use card readers. She also feels that attendance at the committee meetings has made her a better vendor and encourages other vendors to attend.

Round Table - All

Greg Coon and Bill Findley will attend the Business Leadership and Superior Training (BLAST) in Chicago the week of May 16th. Six BBE vendors are also expected to attend.

Adjourned at 10:25am

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DISCLAIMER: Links on the Florida Division of Blind Services (DBS) website that are directed toward websites outside the DBS, provide additional information that may be useful or interesting and are being provided consistent with the intended purpose of the DBS website. DBS cannot attest to the accuracy of information provided by non-DBS websites. Further, providing links to a non-DBS website does not constitute an endorsement by DBS, the Florida Department of Education or any of its employees, of the sponsors of the non-DBS website or of the information or products presented on the non-DBS website.