Quarterly Meeting of the State Committee of Vendors

Friday, June 9, 2023

Chairman, James Warth Called the meeting to order at 8:15 AM. Vice Chairman, Terri Lindstrom called the roll.

The following individuals were present:
Jim Warth, Chairman; Terri Lindstrom, Vice-Chair

District Representative:  Kurt Ponchak, District 1; Colton Knight, District 2; Marylynn Giles-Robinson, District 3; Randall Crosby, District 4; David Stevens, District 5; Phil Hubbard, District 6; T.J. McCormick, District 7; Sead Bekric, District 8; Ed Spence, District 9 Alternate; Daniel Ochoa, District 9

Bureau of Business Enterprise Staff:  Bill Findley, Bureau Chief; Maureen Fink, Operations Manager; Greg Coon, Marketing/Site Development; Mary Ellen Harding, Administrative Services Consultant; Alan Risk, Compliance Officer; John Ahler, Business Analyst; Brian Ashworth, Region 1 Consultant; Bernie Kaiserian, Region 2 Consultant; Jay Payne, Region 3 Consultant; Tony Arduengo, Region 4 Consultant; Sharon Jadoo, Region 6 Consultant.

Guests:  Valerie James, Jessie James, Patrick Martin., Jim Anderson.

Kurt Ponchak would like to add to the agenda an update to the camera project at the and discussion on the Bylaws and district elections to the 1:30 PM time slot. Agenda with additions adopted without objection.

Kurt Ponchak moved the minutes be adopted; Colton Knight seconded. Minutes adopted with a unanimous vote.

BEP Updates:  Bill Findley
Staff Updates – we lost our administrative assistant after three months. We might have someone for the Sunrise Region 5 Consultant position. We are still trying to hire an OPS consultant in Region 1.  Findley has requested that another Division of Blind Services (DBS) position be converted into a full-blown Business Enterprise Program (BEP) consultant position and will be asking for an additional regional consultant position in another region as well.  We are working with Moore Communications regarding promoting our program and it is possible we could wind up with our own BEP webpage. Also, they may be producing a new video which could cause our program to experience growth. As the program continues to grow we will need more staff. 

Site Visits for vending at Tyndall, Hurlburt and Eglin – Several years ago we entered into an executed permit with Tyndall Air Force Base with Air Force attorneys and Brent McNeal. We placed machines in multiple places and agreed to pay utilities at a rate commensurate with our machine specifications and the local electrical rate.  We have a meeting at Tyndall AFB on June 15th at which Bill Findley, Alan Risk, Brian Ashworth and Nicole Saunders, Department of Education (DOE) attorney will be in attendance. The Army Air Force Exchange Services personnel (AAFES) will also be in attendance and since they are also over Eglin AAFES it seemed a good chance to get all our cards on the table. Tyndall is being rebuilt a lot after the hurricane. Our permit states that as new buildings are constructed or rebuilt we get a shot at the vending.  AAFES is displeased with this but we have a federal perpetual permit. We will look at other locations that have been completed. AAFES is taking a very unnecessarily limiting and strict interpretation of the regulations and they have added the words “civilian” employees to regulations.. We agree with AAFES’ mission but we would like our place at the table to do the vending.

Later in the month on June 28th, Bill Findley, Alan Risk and Brian Ashworth will be touring Eglin. We are trying to schedule a site visit at Hurlburt late in July or August. We need more vending in the Panhandle to make a successful vending route. We have an active/open arbitration with Eglin in Washington, D.C. with the Randolph Sheppard Administration (RSA). They are asking for monthly updates from us. NABM is planning a lawsuit against AAFES in federal court.

Palm Beach County Courthouse – We are closing in on a final agreement. The agreement has not been before the board of County Commissioners at this time. We are supposed to be on the July 11th agenda for the Palm Beach County Commission meeting. Ryan Akeley has been making his portion of the verbally agreed upon payments.

Training Program Review:  The need for accelerating training or doing training virtually is not as much a concern at this time. We have a second classroom trainer at the Rehab Center now. Findley is planning on going to the Rehab Center to observe the training and recommend adjustments to beef up the micro market portion of training. There is a new instructor in the snack bar who came at the beginning of this year. We are working to make sure our training is where it needs to be.

Third Party food service locations – Rhode in Miami and Broward Government Center are under 3rd party operation agreements. Sales have not come back to where they need to be at those facilities since COVID. Rhode should come back at some point in time but Broward Government Center is uncertain.

Banking set aside change – We knew a while back our contract with Bank of America (BOA) was going to end. We have been in communication with BOA and the Department of Financial Services (DFS) in Tallahassee. It was communicated to us that other agencies within the State were going to get extensions on their contracts. However, BOA leadership decided not to extend any contracts within the State. The State has moved over to Wells Fargo. We have talked with our IT people about the payment portal, which is very technical. We will be working on a new account and because of the issue with the portal it will take up to 6 months to set up a new bank account in the system. At some point we will have to change over to Wells Fargo according to DFS but everything is status quo for now.

Budget Report:  Bill Findley and Kurt Ponchak
We are on pace with the budget. The last report we have is from May. Set aside reports are looking good which is good to see because of some big projects on the horizon. Going into the month of June we have $407,857 in the BOA account. We have $30,000 in treasury for paying bills. We had nearly $72,000 in set aside which was accounted for in May. To date for the year, we have had $537,000 in set aside paid this fiscal year with one month left. Interest earned was $13,000 for this year. In March we set a record with reported sales of $2,367,000. The April report showed $2,189,000 in reported sales. We have good news about prisons opening in Miami and Clifford Phillips rest area reopening soon.

Type II Update: Maureen Fink
We currently have 24 locations on Type II’s. 3 of those are on the current Selection Cycle. We will be looking at some combinations as facilities grow. Unfortunately, some routes are not growing at the rate we would like to see. Tallahassee is growing at a fast rate. Greg Coon is largely responsible for the growth we have seen through his marketing efforts. Fink will provide sales figures for Type II’s.

Chairman’s Updates, Projects, and Concerns: Jim Warth
Alton Palamore is working on the Joel Rose award. He is hopeful the award will be ready for the Biennial Seminar.

Elections of District Reps and Alternates:  Jim Warth
Elections need to happen no earlier than 60 prior to the Biennial. Mary Ellen sent out district times and dates for elections. Some districts will have undetermined members because of the Selection Cycle. Ponchak suggests that district reps survey their districts to see what dates will be appropriate for each district. There is a requirement to notice the elections 14 days prior to the vote. Discussion about how elections have been completed in the past ensued. It was determined that districts will use current protocols for district elections. 

Rest Area Camera Update:  Findley
We are working toward getting a contract in place for a review of the rest areas and then installation.  An email has been sent to vendors asking for a response about camera installation at their rest area.  About 40 vendors responded. There was mixed interest in getting the cameras installed quickly. We would like to get them all installed within a single fiscal year. However, if it becomes necessary to spread out camera installations the responses to the email would be used to dictate the order in which the cameras are installed. Mike McCrea suggested that if we had floor plans available it might help the companies who are bidding on installation to determine costs.

McCrea talked with a company on the General Services Administration (GSA) list Security 101, which has offices in Orlando, Jacksonville, West Palm, Tampa, and Miami. This company could handle anything from integration to the end product.  A one-stop shop would be preferable. His system has a camera called fisheye which can see 360 degrees. This would require only two cameras, one outside and one in the storage room going to a switch in the storage room which could be accessed by Wi-Fi.

Ponchak with contracts said we will need to figure out our budget and put out an RFP. We need to determine if we want to do multiple contracts or one statewide contract. We want to make sure there are no ongoing payments for our vendors and that it complies with the Memorandum of Agreement with the Department of Transportation (DOT). If operators wish to get cameras early they can go ahead and get them but will not get reimbursed. We need to determine the scope of work and put it in writing. The work group for the project is comprised of Kurt Ponchak, Mike McCrea, Bill Findley, Eric Hance, Alan Risk, Bernie Kaiserian, and Maureen Fink.  

RSVF:  Randall Crosby and Colton Knight
RSVF (Randolph Shepard Vendors of Florida) has been assisting with the Biennial Seminar Banquet.  RSVF was a chapter of Florida Council of the Blind (FCB) has been dissolved. A new corporation has been set up with a new name. We are still in a reorganization phase but things are going well. We are about to kick off Randall Crosby’s event Run with Vision. We gave two scholarships to the Florida Council for the Blind a couple of weeks ago.

Run with a Vision will be our third annual event scheduled for the first Saturday morning in January. Last year was the first time we held the event at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind (FSDB).  We had three or four of our blind vendors participate last year.  It is a 5K event that involves running or walking and everyone is encouraged to participate. We need to build awareness for Randolph Sheppard at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind. Maybe we could sponsor a Randolph Sheppard day at the school which culminates in a visit to a facility. The school should offer Randolph Sheppard as part of their curriculum.

Florida Rehab Council Report:  Sead Bekric
Several trainers contacted him to say they didn’t have the equipment needed to have a provide a good OJT experience for trainees. The recommended equipment was computers with JAWS screen reader and other accessible software. Also, note takers for blind students. With this equipment trainers can give trainees full autonomy in loading machines and keeping up with bookkeeping. Recently we have been approved for 25 computers and 10 note takers. The equipment will be assigned to a local consultant in district offices and consultants will provide the equipment to trainers for use by trainees while completing OJT.   

Accessibility Issues and Updates:  Sead Bekric
Something Bekric has been working on is electronic documents such as DocuSign. Our travel documents were sent out using that method. He has also been working on PDF accessibility.  Within Adobe Pro there is the ability to make a document completely accessible for the visually impaired.

Colton Knight has not yet heard from Three Square about being on their testing team but he has seen improvement on their website. Cashless Plus has also made some improvements. He is going to start using a camera system called PanOptyc which uses facial recognition and artificial intelligence to track theft in markets. He has a camera system but is putting up one additional camera. There is a month to month or one year license in addition to a monthly fee. There are multiple tiers to the system and with the highest tier you get tracking of theft and walkouts, etc. It uses Three Square log in and checks sales to identify theft.

Bekric brought an accessibility repair form for the Committee to consider. Risk read the form to the group. This would eliminate handwritten notes and bills. Dandmat and Shubert both agreed to use the form. Bekric made a motion to adopt the form. The motion failed for lack of a second.

Training and Candidate Update:  Mary Ellen Harding 
We have four candidates who will finish up training this week and go to OJT.  Hopefully finishing OJT in time to participate in the September Selection Cycle.
We have four trainees slated to start training on June 12th, finishing around the end of October.
There are currently three candidates in the application stage. Two have completed all their application work and are scheduled for work experience.

Marketing and Site Development:  Greg Coon


Business Analyst Report:  John Ahler
Ahler discussed NAMA Show that included a recap of the BLAST Meeting prior to the beginning of the Conference, educational sessions, Keynote speaker and show. Takeaways from the show included the continued movement of healthy snacks and beverages as well as the use of increased technologies and point of sales systems. NAMA is promoting and lobbying the use of SNAP benefits.

24 Monitorings were completed. One issue includes employee vs contracted labor.

1099’s will be issued from Cantaloupe beginning this year. 

Cantaloupe will begin charging a $10 reactivation fee. 

Compliance Officer Report:  Alan Risk
CEU’s - We have until August 3rd to complete CEU’s. We are 97 percent of the way through the reporting period and 83 vendors have met their CEU requirement. 25 have not yet met the requirement but most of them are very close to completion. Alan will provide a list of operators who need to get their CEU’s to district reps upon request. Some districts reps have been very helpful in making opportunities for operators to get the CEU’s they needed, which is appreciated by the agency.

Licensure - There has been one new vendor licensed since the March Committee meeting.

Grievance - One grievance hearing has been held since the last Committee Meeting. On March 20th the grievant requested a hearing regarding the awarding of the Type II LOFA. A hearing was held on April 4th and the board ruled in favor of the claimant. On April 6th the claimant notified the agency by email that they wished to withdraw their grievance. This has been the only grievance filed thus far in 2023. 

Selection Cycle – Three facilities are advertised for the May Selection Cycle. The deadline to apply was the end of May. The facilities are I-10 Wellborne, I-95 Ft Pierce, and I-275 Skyway Bridge. 14 vendors have submitted applications which includes two vendors who are new licensees who have not yet held a LOFA and one vendor who is currently unemployed without a LOFA. The exam will be held on June 14th at eight different district offices. Interviews will take place on July 10th and 11th in Tampa.

Contracts Update – Deputy General Counsel for DOE, Nicole Saunders notified Bunny Proof with Cantaloupe that the Division was acceptable to the master services agreement but still needed the fee schedule. Proof agreed to send an addendum. The new agreement would be for 3 years.  Cantaloupe would hold pricing for 2 years unless the operator decided to make changes to the existing service.

RFP Results – Shared information about USI which was the company awarded a 3-year contract for the purchase of vending machines.

Region and District Updates:
Region 3Jay Payne
The snack bar at Facility 403 - Kennedy Space Center Operational Support Building, was reopened with Phil Hubbard on a Type II. We have been asked by Coleman Prison to remove all freezer/refrigerator storage so we will remove those machines out of the prison. Facility 466 - Kennedy Space Center Space Station Processing Center, will get dual ovens installed due to an increase in business. Mitzi Bowen was installed at Facility 479 - Rest Area I-75 Marion County Southbound last month. We did a walkthrough with Just Baked at Kennedy Space Center and the Orange County Courthouse. Orange County Courthouse was determined to be a viable location for the machine and we should be installing a machine soon. At Kennedy Space Center we identified possibly four locations for Just Baked OSB 2, Logistics, ONC and the new Tech Center. Facility 461 Sumter County Rest Area was scheduled to be opened yesterday but should open in about a week.

Districts 5 & 6:  David Stevens and Phil Hubbard
Stevens:  Is seeing sporadic improvement in sales. The refrigeration issue may work to his advantage.

Hubbard:  Brenda Nicely-Meade has an issue with smart coolers and food trucks at her facility. Kinesha is having issues with theft and people vandalizing her machines. The snack bar is going great. Things are slowly coming back.  Phil got a new ice cream cooler in and it is doing really well. Phil, his wife, and son Nick have been running the facility. They are having an issue with fluctuating staff levels.

Region 4:  Tony Arduengo
With Facility 634 - Polk County Vending Route we added three post offices in Lakeland. We are still on track for the VA in Lakeland to open at the beginning of 2024.

Facility 272 - Pasco-Hernando Vending Route, will be adding another post office in Plant City soon. We added two VA locations in Zephyrhills and New Port Richey and added one machine at Salt Springs State Park. We have plans to add another three post offices, two in Pasco and one in Citrus County. Year over year for Facility 272 sales have increased by 52%. We are hopeful these additions will push this into a Type I facility.

Facilities 432 and 433 - Rest Area I-275 Manatee Co. Southend and Northend Skyway Bridge, there is consideration to remove the hot drink machines from those facilities due to low sales and high repair costs. All the rest areas in Region 4 have new ice cream machines except two. Facility 112 - Collier/Lee County Vending Route, added another bus station with 2 drink machines. We also added the Lee County dog pound.

Facility 161 - West Tampa Vending Route, added the VA Health Clinic.

Facility 31 - Hillsborough County Courthouse, food service had a health inspection this week. The inspector said the vendor should not have her service animal in her office in the notes. We are talking with the ADA people and attorneys about the issue.

Districts 7 & 8:  T.J. McCormick and Sead Bekric
McCormick:  The district seems to be coming back. Most questions he received from vendors were regarding cameras.

Bekric:  District 8 is struggling with getting repairs. We are working to find repair people for the district. We have been focusing a lot on the Skyway Bridge Rest Areas and how to improve sales at those facilities. Signage would be helpful. We have identified some issues with interference and have taken corrective actions. Coffee machine sales are very low.

Region 5:  Maureen Fink
At Vista Center we placed four locations with eight machines at the beginning of May with a third party.  We have sent in a package for a new consultant for Region 5.  Facility 257 - Palm Beach County Vending Route will be going into a Social Security office downtown.  Nothing new going for the rest of the Region.  

District 9:  Ed Spence
Orlando reached out to the vendors and all is good.  Spence has had some staffing and vandalism issues.  He is working with a repair person to get a cage for the machines. 

Region 6:  Sharon Jadoo
Jean Auguste retired in December. We just completed the final changeover from his retirement. Facility 455 - Federal Justice Law Enforcement Miami, was merged into Facility 117 - Federal Building Miami 2nd Floor.  Concerns in the district center around staffing. It is difficult to find employees. Jadoo has an idea about reaching out to AARP to find retirees as employees. 

District 10:  Daniel Ochoa
Things are getting back to normal and all the venders are happy.  We are having issues with Pepsi in this district with repairs and opening new accounts for vendors. 

Quarterly Meeting of the State Committee of Vendors

Saturday, June 10, 2023

The following individuals were present:
Jim Warth, Chairman; Terri Lindstrom, Vice-Chair

District Representatives:  Kurt Ponchak, District 1; Colton Knight, District 2; Marylynn Giles-Robinson, District 3; Randall Crosby, District 4; David Stevens, District 5; Phil Hubbard, District 6; T.J. McCormick, District 7; Sead Bekric, District 8; Ed Spence, District 9 Alternate; Daniel Ochoa, District 9.

Bureau of Business Enterprise Staff:  Bill Findley, Bureau Chief; Maureen Fink, Operations Manager; Mary Ellen Harding, Administrative Services Consultant; Alan Risk, Compliance Officer; John Ahler, Business Analyst; Brian Ashworth, Region 1 Consultant; Bernie Kaiserian, Region 2 Consultant; Tony Arduengo, Region 4 Consultant; Sharon Jadoo, Region 6 Consultant.

Guests:  Valerie James, Licensed Operator; Jessie James; Patrick Martin, Licensed Operator.

Region 2:  Leroy Roberts is running Facility 564 - USMC Blount Island Jacksonville, with food service and vending. He is using Square for online ordering. He now has a Parlevel micro market kiosk which he is planning to use for an after-hours semi-micro market later in the year. Facility 425 - Rest Area I-10 Columbia County Westbound, is on the current bid sheet. The region is up 14% from last year with the vending routes doing really well.  Facility 590 - City of Jacksonville Vending Route, operated by Natasha Ginarte in Jacksonville was up 32%.  Jonathan Caudill in Gainesville at Facility 525 - Gainesville Vending Route, is up 34%. Jim Gaudette at Facility 397 - US Naval Air Station Jacksonville Building 797, is up 36%. Josh Kimrey at Facility 513 - Jacksonville Downtown Vending Route, is up 77%, which is due to removing food service and having vending remaining.  Jim Parkman at Facility 489 - Rest Area I-95 Nassau County South Welcome Center, is up 71%.  Jim had $65K in sales for March and $71K in sales for April. He has a group buying all his Sunpasses from the vending machine each time he fills them. A few installations are coming up. Two machines in Jim Gaudette’s route, two laundry machines and a drink machine at the Stephen Foster Cultural State Park, another drink machine at the VA.

Marylynn Giles-Robinson:  Not much to report.

Randall Crosby:  Everyone is doing well. Leroy Roberts is doing well but having problems with Coke. The Pepsi CEU event was very successful with 16 operators and 2 hours spent with the Pepsi representative. Pepsi is having issues with storage of product which is affecting deliveries. 

Region 1:  William Daniel at Facility 578 - Rest Area I-10 Okaloosa County Eastbound, is still on medical leave. Installed two DCF Offices in Panama City, for Shannon Shelton’s route Facility 620 - Panama City Vending Route. Installed 4 machines for Facility 620. Jason Carpenter got an upgrade for facility 361 - Florida Education Center 1st Floor Tallahassee, where we swapped out a kiosk for a large screen model which everyone seems to like. Wayne Mercer’s Facility 273 - Collins Building Tallahassee, opened on June 6th. We have a vending meeting and survey scheduled for Tyndall Air Force Base which will be attended by AFFES, DOE Attorney Nicole Saunders, Alan Risk and Bill Findley. Later in the month there is another vending survey at Eglin Air Force Base. Ashworth has ordered a kiosk for Daytona Beach snack bar for training and will order shelves once the kiosk arrives and train Angela Elgaard on the equipment. I-10 continues to experience water issues. Mike Renaud’s rest area in Madison County had porta potties delivered. DOT was contacted about them  but we received no response. The water at Madison RA’s was never turned off, so we are not sure why they delivered port a potties.  Jackson County Westbound Rest Area has had water issues for the last 10 months. The Jackson County Eastbound Rest Area was repaired after 8 months and seems to be working well now. Facility 534 - Pensacola FCI Class I and II are open under a Type II with Emmett McGee but sales are not great because they keep closing and part of it has never opened back up. Marianna FCI is reopening. Security Background checks have been sent off twice but not granted at this time. Tallahassee FCI sales are down to around $250-$350 per month in sales. The operator believes it is due to a population drop at the prison. 

Two micro markets in Tallahassee which could be combined and placed on the September cycle are the Bob Martinez Complex, Facility 545 and the FDOT Facility 632 with annual sales of $196K.  Positives:  Combine now and an operator could pick it up now. Negative:  $200K is on the borderline for a successful facility. The changeover would not occur until December. Discussion ensued regarding the facilities.

Motion was made by Sead Bekric to combine facilities 545 and 632 and seconded by Phil Hubbard. There was discussion over the motion. Kurt made an amendment to the motion to include facility 441. Seconded by T.J. McCormick. Kurt called the question. The vote ended in a tie. 

Kurt Ponchak made a motion to conditionally combine facilities 570 and 485 seconded by Colton Knight. Discussion. Ponchak called the question. The vote passed unanimously. 

Ponchak moved to reconsider the vote to combine 545, 632 and 441. Seconded by Sead Bekric. The vote passed 10-1.

Ponchak:  People are doing well in his district. There are questions about the elections and the seminar which are being addressed. Water issues along I-10 continue to be a problem especially in Jackson County. There is a concern about people selling soft drinks out of the back of a vehicle on the weekends at rest areas.

Knight:  Wayne Mercer is doing well with his new micro market. He is very proud of the brotherhood being developed in Tallahassee. Knight inquired about the cash issue with Jason Carpenter’s kiosk. Ashworth advised he needs to call the manufacturer.

Round Table:  Fink advised that pricing on food items is too high. If food items in micro markets are marked up a little and then chips and drinks are given a higher markup there would be less waste in food. Net profit expectations should be looked at for micro markets. Knight advised dropping the price of fresh food items on Thursday or Friday. Vendor Patrick Martin has a combo deal Monday through Wednesday. On Thursday he runs 10% off fresh food and on Friday 15% off and he has been selling out consistently each week.

McCormick advised that NABM is working to get RSA to seek funds and make them available for food trucks. New challenges would include training for food truck businesses and staffing to support that. Vendors could partner with a food truck as on option. Findley has made a formal request for two full-time positions which would help with adding new facilities and new vendors coming into the program. These would be from unfilled DBS positions. Knight inquired about succession for Bill’s position and future departures. Bill will be recommending Alan Risk to replace him but it is the Director’s decision. People will be moving up as retirements occur in BEP which will leave vacancies in those positions.

Meeting Adjourned at 10:15 AM

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