MABA Board of Director Nominees

The nomination process for the election of 4 new MABA Board of Director positions has closed.  The following nominees will be on the ballot for the election to a two year term on the BoD.

Lucas Darnell
Noel Kay
Howard Poole
Brian Walrath

Members will be receiving an email with a link and instructions on how to cast your ballots.  Voting will open up on Friday, December 1st and run through midnight on Saturday, December 16th.  Please make sure to cast your ballot!

Sincerely,
MABA BoD Nominations and Elections Committee

Meet the nominees:

RESPONSES FROM CANDIDATE: HOWARD POOLE

Question 1: Why do you want to be on the board of directors for the Mid-Atlantic Barbecue Association?Since beginning my journey into competition BBQ, I have been assisted and helped by teams from all over the country, but especially the ones right here in our own backyard. Nothing would make me happier than being able to serve these teams as a MABA board member, and hopefully, make there BBQ lives easier, and more successful along the way.What I also see is a new generation of professional and backyard cooks coming up through the ranks, myself included. I believe it would be a great opportunity for the board to have a voice representing these smaller and newer teams. I firmly believe that everyone has something to offer at the table, and I would love to be a point of contact and communication for those teams.

Question 2: Do you have any barbecue-related experience that will help be an asset to MABA? (examples – backyard cooking, competition cooking, judging, working contests, barbecue business, etc…)

If you’ve ever seen me in person, it’s probably not hard to figure out that I’ve loved eating BBQ all my life. As a kid, my exposure came from fundraisers with different organizations, annual pig roasts, and from butchering our own animals for meat through the year. Roughly 6-7 years ago though, I made the jump into learn BBQ myself. Since starting on a WSM all those years ago, we now have more cookers than I can keep track of myself, and one of just about every kind. As a MABA BOD member, I would bring not only backyard experience, but, competition cooking experience, as well as catering experience. I also can draw on years of experience of raising livestock and butchering, as so often we think of the BBQ end, but not where our food comes from. 

I know that while I might not be the most “tenured” board member when it comes to years of experience, I can make up for that with my own unique knowledge that will benefit the membership.

Question 3: Do you have other skills not directly related to barbecue that would benefit MABA?

On a personal level, I have the communication and organizational skills needed in running an organization, and the skills to properly communicate with organizational partners and sponsors. 

Outside of those and my butchery skills, I would just say that I’ve always had the mindset that while big picture is always great, the small details are what make the big picture so beautiful to begin with. I realize that a lot of work goes into the board and being a board member. I also know from experience with other groups, that running an entire organization from a volunteer standpoint can be an extremely difficult task. But, I know from experience as long as the board can communicate and keep the small details in mind, that big things can happen. 

Question 4: Are there any areas in MABA that you would like to see changed or improved?

I think there is always room for improvement. While I know the current board has been doing an excellent job, and has done a lot to get the organization back on track, I also realize that some things can be adjusted. 

For starters, as an organization we need to answer the question “Why should I join”. As a younger team, it took me getting involved with more experienced teams and doing more competitions every year to find the answer to that question. But to the backyard enthusiast, backyard team, or professional team that only does 2-3 competitions, I always hear the same response to MABA, “What does a membership give me, and why should I join”. I also see that while MABA does a lot behind the scenes, there needs to be more upfront views as well. 

I think one of the best things that we do for exposure is the MABA Good luck shot. While it may not be the draw to make people join MABA, but it does bring our membership, and new members together, gets us some recognition in the BBQ realm, and gets a line of dialogue going. While I see the shot at almost every MABA related competition, the number of potluck dinners and breakfasts have been slowly dwindling. If we started hosting events like those again, I believe that might get us more exposure at events. 

I would also like to see MABA at more backyard events as well. There are A LOT of younger teams and potential members that are in the backyard competitions right now. Most of them are considering moving up to professional, or at least thinking about it. Besides that, as an organization, we must be representing all cooks, including the backyard.

This past year, I competed at the M&S competition in Chambersburg, PA. This was a MABA Sanctioned Backyard Competition. Chris Hall was the rep for the competition, and he did a fantastic job guiding teams, and leading judging. Every team left happy from the event, and now there are plans of expanding the event next year. If we took this kind of backyard exposure to a larger scale, I believe we would get more members to join and get involved. Even if we helped sponsor certain categories (like chef’s choice) it would get more competitions involved in the MABA circuit, as well as more teams wanting to qualify.

Question 5:   Would you like to add anything not covered above?

I would just like to thank everyone for considering me, and I would also like to give a shout out to my fellow nominees and the board as a whole. I consider many of you to be close friends and BBQ family. And while I hope to make MABA Better, I also don’t want to downplay the amazing job that the board has done so far. I would not be as good of a BBQ’er as I am, without the help and support of so many teams. So no matter what, go vote, and show your support.  

RESPONSES FROM CANDIDATE: NOEL KAY

1. Why do you want to be on the board of directors for the Mid-Atlantic Barbecue Association?

I want to help make MABA stronger so that it can continue to promote competition BBQ across the Mid Atlantic area.

2. Do you have any barbecue-related experience that will help be an asset to MABA? (Examples are backyard cooking, competition cooking, judging, helping with contests, barbecue business, etc…)

I’m a competition pit master and contest organizer. Along with my wife, son, and friends I began competing in KCBS sanctioned events 3 years ago as Hickory Barbeque Company. Last year we competed in over 15 events. I am also the organizer for the Butts and Beans BBQ Challenge in Newton NC We are in our 5th year as a KCBS sanctioned event. We are a NC State Championship event and have welcomed over 50 teams to the area each year.

3. Do you have other skills not directly related to barbecue that would benefit MABA?

My professional background is in Accounting. I own and operate a small accounting and tax preparation firm in Shelby NC. I am recognized as an Enrolled Agent through the Internal Revenue Service. I also have been a NC Paramedic for 25 years and I am currently the inventory supply manager and shift supervisor for Catawba County EMS.

4. Are there any areas in MABA that you would like to see changed or improved?

MABA has made some positive changes in the last 3 years and I would like to do what I can to continue that improvement.

5. Would you like to add anything not covered above?

I am honored for this opportunity and look forward to helping any way needed.

RESPONSES FROM CANDIDATE: LUKE DARNELL

Headshot of Luke Darnell

1. Why do you want to be on the board of directors for the Mid-Atlantic Barbecue Association?

I want to continue the work we’ve done the past two years, and build MABA’s membership.

2. Do you have any barbecue-related experience that will help be an asset to MABA?

(Examples are backyard cooking, competition cooking, judging, helping with contests, barbecue business, etc…)

I’m a competition cook for the past five years, all in the Mid-Atlantic.

3. Do you have other skills not directly related to barbecue that would benefit MABA?

I am a certified association executive, with more than 20 years of experience in association managment.

4. Are there any areas in MABA that you would like to see changed or improved?

I would love to see MABA increase its philanthropic activities in the future.

5. Would you like to add anything not covered above?

RESPONSES FROM CANDIDATE: BRIAN WALRATH

1. Why do you want to be on the board of directors for the Mid-Atlantic Barbecue Association?

MABA has always been an organization that I feel strongly about and support.  It brings together not only folks that have a common interest, but folks from all walks of like to have fun and promote barbecue. 

2. Do you have any barbecue-related experience that will help be an asset to MABA? (Examples are backyard cooking, competition cooking, judging, helping with contests, barbecue business, etc…)

I’ve been a competition cook for the past five years, all in the Mid-Atlantic.  And just recently I left a 20 year career in association management to run my barbecue catering business full time.  I have been on the MABA board for the last two years also serving as Secretary and membership committee chair. I also started and maintain the MABA newsletter with the help of members who contribute content. 

3. Do you have other skills not directly related to barbecue that would benefit MABA?

As mentioned above, I’ve been association management for 20 years, so I understand how associations work and how to bring people together for a common interest.

4. Are there any areas in MABA that you would like to see changed or improved?

I would love to see MABA increase its business members exposure and presence.  We have many great barbecue businesses that support MABA and in my work as the chairman of the membership committee, we’ve begun to work on this. I’d love to see it through and expand our business members’ reach!

5. Would you like to add anything not covered above?

MABA is a great organization because of its members.  But it can only be as great as its members and their willingness to contribute.  A lot of folks say they want to help, volunteer, or contribute, but the truth is, only a small percentage actually do.  If you see something you don’t like, don’t complain, GET INVOLVED.  Sure, as a board, we want to hear feedback of all kind, but nothing actually gets done until we all work together to do so! 

 

 

 

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