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Quarterly Meeting of the State Committee of Vendors

Quarterly Meeting of the State Committee of Vendors
Embassy Suites, Jamaican Court
Orlando, Florida

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Committee Chairman John Klindtworth called the meeting to order at 8:30 a.m.

The following individuals were present:
John Klindtworth, Chairman

District Representatives: Alton Palmore, District 1; Mike Renaud, District 2; Terri Bowen Lindstrom, District 3; Patti Fulda, District 4; Phil Bluschke, District 5; Jim Anderson, District 6; Brian Britt, District 7; Tom Saunders, District 8; Lilian Pemberton, District 10. District 9 was not represented at the meeting.

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

Licensed Vendors: Kliphton Miller, Todd Bowen, Mitzi Tyler Bowen, Mike McCrea, Randall Crosby, Jim Warth, David Wermuth, Kevin Wheeler

Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired: Instructors, Steve Moss and Jill Richardson; Trainee, Richard Silva.

March Meeting Minutes – Janet Chernoff

A synopsis of March meeting minutes was read.  A full copy of the minutes was emailed to the committee members prior to the meeting.  Mike Renaud made a motion to accept the minutes as written.  Seconded by Alton Palmore.  Passed without objection.

BBE Updates – Bill Findley

On May 23, 2017 Bill Findley and operator Dennis Horn spoke to the Orange County Commission concerning the disposition of Facility 494 at Orange County Courthouse.  Dennis Horn has operated this facility which includes forty vending machines and a coffee counter for over 15 years.  Orange County wants to bundle this facility with a struggling first floor snack bar and offer it as a public solicitation.  Bill Findley and Dennis urged the commission to continue to allow the facility to be operated by a blind vendor.  The program would be willing to operate the first floor snack bar in addition to the current facility.  To date the program has had no response from the county.  On June 2, 2017 Bill Findley sent a letter to the mayor and county commissioners and copied the National Federation of the Blind (NFB).  A proclamation from the Orlando mayor was read at a recent NFB meeting praising the organization and its efforts to employ the blind.

The program has four military dining contracts in Key West, Pensacola, Panama City and at Camp Blanding in Starke.  All is going well with the Key West location.  At the Pensacola Naval Hospital operator David Wermuth has been helpful with any issues that arise.  The location feeds 10-20 in house patients and 200-300 customers in the cafeteria.  They are in process of setting up a card reader and should be able to take credit cards soon.  At the Naval Support Activity in Panama City the project manager has been replaced and that has helped the situation with the contract officer representative.  The new manager has worked for him and that has resulted in fewer issues at the facility.  At Camp Blanding an internal conflict with military personnel has caused problems with our operation.  A meeting was held in May and operator Ed Spence followed up afterwards which has helped us resolve the situation. 

The food service for Eglin will be available in 2 ½ years and the program needs to be ready with a proposal.  The program continues to pursue the vending at the Tyndall and Eglin bases.  They have not been responsive to our request for a reasonable amount of vending.  Other opportunities include the food service at Tyndall and Hurlburt.  An arbitration panel is being put together to review the program’s claim that the Hurlburt Field solicitation should contain a provision for the Randolph-Sheppard Act.

The remodel of the snack bar at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) has been delayed.  The contract was increased as one of the selected subcontractors was no longer available to do the work. A meeting was held on June 2, 2017 to discuss the project.  The proposed start date at the end of August is unacceptable as the project needs to be completed by the end of September in order to be paid for out of the 2016-2017 budget. A start date of July 31 was proposed and is being considered. The program may have to reconsider the project if it can’t be completed by the September 30th deadline.  Another issue with KSC is the direct competition from the gift shops. We are working with legal to set up a meeting to discuss the problem.

There was a short discussion about the challenges of doing renovations in conjunction with the Division of Management Services (DMS) and the problems with increased costs and delays. 

The proposed meeting with the Governor’s office concerning vending in Florida State Parks has not been scheduled.  The delay is due partly because the Florida Legislature was in session and was focusing on the budget. The program has continued to work on VA locations and has made some progress.

Rest Area vendors are updated on any news concerning rest area privatization. A number of vendors have contacted their representatives to express their concern.  This is not a new issue and has come up under previous administrations. The law would have to be changed in order for this to move forward. 

No further information has been forthcoming on the Florida Department of Transportation (DOT) agreement.  Mike Renaud and Valerie James attended a meeting with DOT on April 27th. One of the issues under discussion is the approval of cameras at the rest areas.  Security of the vendors, machines and products is a concern.

Bill was advised by fiscal that the set aside account was out of funds.  Previously he had been told there was sufficient funds to cover expected expenses.  Bill has requested that fiscal send a list of expenditures.  As the fiscal year comes to close the program tries to keep only enough funds to cover expected expenses as we don’t want an excess of funds leftover.  Bill will update the Committee on the budget when he receives information from fiscal.

The proposed 2019 BLAST conference in Florida would take the place of the 2019 Biennial Seminar.  The Division would pay for travel for all Florida vendors and staff along with registration.  It is estimated that the conference would cost about $30,000 more than a Biennial Seminar.  The Committee has agreed to host the seminar at a previous meeting, but it was recommended that the Committee formally vote on it.  Mike Renaud moved that the Committee approve the additional funding for registration for vendors to attend 2019 BLAST in Florida. Seconded by Terri Bowen Lindstrom.  Approved by all Committee members present.

Washington, D.C. Fly-In – Alton Palmore

Alton Palmore joined a group of vendors from other states in a visit to Washington, D.C.  They went to see their senators and representatives and talked about issues such as the VA, privatization of the rest areas, military contracts and vending on military bases.  Some of the congressmen were not aware of the Randolph-Sheppard Act. Alton met vendors from other states and indicated that some do not get the support from their state administrations. He suggested that leadership in the top programs help other state programs. Bill Findley indicated that he gets calls from other states and sends them information on the Florida program.  He feels that hosting the BLAST conference in Florida in 2019 may facilitate a dialog. 

Type II Updates – Maureen Fink

Twenty-eight facilities are currently on a Type II LOFA.  Nine of these facilities are on the May Selection Cycle.  No one has applied for two of the facilities, Facility 455 snack bar in Miami and Facility 612 Broward Sherriff’s Office cafeteria.  Four facilities will be on future bid sheets. Two were awarded on the January selection and the selected operators will take over in the near future.  We are determining the viability of twelve facilities and one facility has special circumstances with an operator on leave who expected to return in August.

Combination of Facility 615 with Facility 396 –Tony Arduengo

Facility 615, vending at the Hillsborough County Center was hoped to have enough sales to be small Type I facility. Sales have been monitored for two years and have been determined to be too low.  Sales have averaged about $1300 a month with only three decent locations in the building.  The Division is recommending that Facility 615 be combined with the Facility 396 vending route.  Total sales for the combined facility are estimated at $150,000 per year. Jim Warth is currently operating both facilities. Mike Renaud moved that Facility 615 be combined with Facility 396.  Seconded by Brian Britt. Passed without objection by all members present.

Recruitment Efforts – Janet Chernoff

On April 20, 2017 Bill Findley, Janet Chernoff and Alan Risk met with the high school students at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind.  The presentation on the BBE program was followed by a question and answer session. The group then had an opportunity to tour the campus. The school has a food service program where students can get their Safeserv managers certification and work in a snack bar.  They also have their own print shop where they make t-shirts, mugs and other items for sale.   Plans are in the works to bring some of the students over to observe the training program at the Daytona Rehab Center.  Presentations for transition students at the Lighthouse of Central Florida in Orlando and at the Center for the Visually Impaired and Blind in Daytona Beach are scheduled for the week of June 19, 2017. 

On May 10, 2017 the BBE staff did their final presentation at the Pensacola Division of Blind Services (DBS) 75th Anniversary Celebration.  Vendors Debby Malmberg and Emmett Magee shared their stories.  Following the presentation staff members had the opportunity to speak to a local client who is interested in the program. 

Stephanie Lambert of the DBS staff is starting an effort to promote the program outside of DBS.  She will put together a blurb outlining the qualities needed in potential applicants.  She plans to look at options such as social media, National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and promote the program through Florida Trend, Tallahassee Democrat and Visit Florida.  Stephanie plans to market the program through articles like the vendor spotlights and eventually produce a video to raise awareness of the program.

Daytona Training – Steve Moss

Steve Moss reported that the Servsafe manual is being updated and the upcoming test at the Biennial will reflect the new version.  Trainee Llars Copeland is scheduled to return to the center on Monday, June 12.  It was determined that Llars needed additional training at the center before moving on to on the job training. Steve recommends that training applicants be assessed at the Rehab Center to give a more complete and consistent view of an applicant’s abilities.  Trainee Richard Silva was introduced to the group.  Richard reported that he took computer classes at the center prior to starting his BBE training.

Marketing and Site Development Update – Don Meloy

The program was offered the vending at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind following a presentation by BBE staff and recommendation by Vendor State Committee Chairman, John Klindtworth.  The vending will be added to the St. Augustine vending route.  Since July 2016 thirty-four surveys have been performed and 11 proposals and 13 federal permits have been prepared and 9 agreements submitted. These statistics do not include Post Offices and many GSA facilities.  The agreement for the School for the Deaf and Blind is being prepared and the Broward Sherriff’s office have signed an extension for another year.   An agreement for Weeki Wachee Springs is in process and an agreement for Homosassa has been signed.  Machines will be installed at Homosassa State Park this week.  Agreements for Silver Springs and Florida State Caverns have been completed along with an agreement with Alachua County.  Projects in process include the National Guard and the Florida Hospital in Chattahoochee.  We will have to participate in an RFI for the City of Tallahassee vending as the current company filed a protest.  Vendor Charlie Hackney forwarded a lead from Ashley Furniture in Orlando which could include a distribution center in Tampa. Don continues to work to secure locations with the VA including locations in Gainesville, Jacksonville, Clay County, Tampa, New Port Richey and Brooksville. He is also working on expanding routes in Panama City, Brooksville, St. Augustine and Fort Pierce.

Business Analyst Update – John Ahler

Thirty-three monitorings have been done this year.  Two more will be done next week which will complete the monitorings of all existing vendors. Once completed the monitorings will be evaluated.  Going forward there will be a focus on inventories and sales reporting.  Vendors at interstate locations and any location with card readers should be using the roll up report to report their sales figures. 

Vendors should not report their bank deposits as sales. Vendors have had sales of 12.5 million from October 2016 – April 2017 and should break 22 million by the end of the federal fiscal year that ends September 2017.  John has been spending time with new vendors Charlie Richardson, Kevin Wheeler and Colton Knight.  He creates reports for these vendors with goals for moving forward.

Costco Business Center – Gina Covarrbias/Carlos Rodriguez

The advantages of using the Costco Business Center were explained.  This is a new concept and only one center is currently located in Florida in Orlando.  The center will ship products up to 50 miles from its location and will consider longer distances if the business is sufficient.  A tour of the Orlando facility was scheduled for Friday morning.

Compliance Officer Update – Alan Risk

Four new vendors have been licensed in 2017 and a total of nine have been licensed in the last twelve months. Four of the nine have facilities and three of the nine were licensed in the last couple of weeks. Five of the seven unassigned vendors are participating in the current selection cycle.  Ten facilities are available on the May selection cycle including two snack bars, two cafeterias, four vending routes, one rest area and one micro-market.

Ninety-two vendors have fulfilled the CEU requirement, thirteen have at least two, four have at least one and one has no CEUs.  Three grievance hearings have been held since the March meeting. 

  1. A request for a Grievance Hearing was received on April 17, 2017 when the vendor disagreed with the Division’s decision to terminate their LOFA. The hearing held on April 27, 2017.  The Panel found in favor of the claimant.
  2. A request for a Grievance Hearing was received on May 4, 2017 when a vendor disagreed with the Division’s decision in the awarding of Type II LOFAs.  The hearing held on May 18, 2017.  The Panel found in favor of the Division.
  3. A request for a Grievance Hearing received on May 9, 2017 when a vendor disagreed with the Division’s decision in the awarding of a Type II LOFA. The hearing held on May 17, 2017.  The Panel found in favor of the Division.

Coke is reviewing the pricing for the second half of 2017.  Alan and John Ahler have been working with Coke to get refund checks issued to the vendors rather than the Division.  John suggested that a check issued to DBS could be used to pay down working capital.

Credit Card Readers Standards on Vending Machines – Brian Britt

Brian Britt allowed vendor Jim Warth to explain the concern about the cost of card readers on low income producing machines. He feels that the Division should clearly define the minimum amount of sales required when agreeing to put card readers on vending machines.  The roll up report could be used as proof of a machine with slow sales.  There was a short discussion on pricing for card readers.  Maureen had inquired about purchasing card readers that were already on a rent to own program and was told she would have to pay full price.  Maureen recommended a subcommittee to help negotiate preferred pricing for card readers from USA Technology.  Bernie Kaiserian, Maureen Fink, Brian Britt and Patti Fulda were assigned to the subcommittee.

Bill Findley reported briefly on some of the expenses that impacted the set aside account.  Expenses included repayment of working capital to outgoing vendors as well as working capital for incoming vendors.  There have been a number of changeovers in the last few months. Construction costs were also included in the expenses. There is some money that has been encumbered that we may not use and that can be used to cover other expenses.

Biennial Seminar/ 2018 Committee meetings – Janet Chernoff

Janet Chernoff emailed dates and pricing for the 2018 Committee meetings to Committee members and staff.  Possible locations include the Embassy Suites Jamaican Court, Embassy Suites International Drive and the Embassy Suites Orlando North in Altamonte Springs.

The Servsafe test will be offered to interested vendors on the morning of Friday, August 18, 2017 at 8:30am.  The trade show will open at 10am and the first session will begin at 1pm.  Twenty-four vendors have confirmed for the trade show including vendors with adaptive technology, Coca-Cola and Vistar. Nicky Gacos will participate in the opening session and will provide two breakout sessions.  Other sessions will be presented by representatives from MEP South that will be administrating the Tom Spiliotis retirement fund, a representative from CareerSource, Adam Gaffney and Healthy Snack Cube.  We are looking for other ideas for sessions.  Some ideas included a presentation on first aid and a vendor panel on micro-markets. Bill Findley suggested a theme of “Reaching New Heights”.

Region/District Reports

Region 1 – Brian Ashworth

Jefferson County rest areas are scheduled to open the end of June.  Randall Crosby will be signed into Facility 572, I-10 Westbound and Woody Matthews will be signed into Facility 571, 1-10 Eastbound.  Four other changeovers have been done in the last month.  New vendor Charlie Richardson signed into Facility 485, the cafeteria at the Capital Circle Office Complex.  Wanda Feldsteen signed into Facility 371, cafeteria at FDLE on a Type II, Colton Knight took over Facility 545, snack bar at Twin Towers and Tony DaGraca has taken over Facility 593, Tallahassee vending route. The NAS Pensacola and Pensacola routes have been officially combined to one route, Facility 609.  James Robinson had to have emergency surgery and his nephews are currently operating Facility 532, Marianna FCI with Brian’s help. Facilities 528, 579, 580 rest area on I-10 and the Campbellton Welcome station are being operated by Mike Sumler on a Type II and are listed on the current selection cycle.

District 1 – Alton Palmore
All is going well in District 1.

District 2 – Mike Renaud
The micro-market at Turlington is up and running without too many problems.  Mike did on the job training with trainees Charlie Richardson, Amber Owen and Douglas Wright.  Mike is working with the kiosk and has come up with a card system which will solve the problem of customers with accounts that have trouble scanning their fingerprints.  Mike has been working with Randall Crosby and Woody Matthews to put together a par system for their rest areas.

Region 2 – Bernie Kaiserian

Bernie has been transitioning vendors into the new Jacksonville route configuration approved on the Committee conference call.  Citizen’s insurance has been added to Facility 512, downtown Jacksonville route and other locations were added to Facility 218, Jacksonville Post office vending route. Machines are going into the Job Corps in Gainesville and 20-22 machines are planned for the St. Augustine School for the Deaf and Blind. A digital menu has been installed in Facility 33, Duval Courthouse snack bar.  The operator, Darryl Brinton is also running Facility 239, cafeteria in the Jacksonville Police Administration Building on a Type II.  The square system is now being used in this location.

District 3 – Terri Bowen Lindstrom
There has been some vandalism on I-10.  Terri organized a conference call for District 3 to discuss rest area privatization.  Don Tuell held a similar call for all the rest area operators in the state.

District 4 –Patti Fulda
Patti attended FCB convention in May and met a couple potential BBE applicants.

Region 3 – Greg Coon

Facility 403, snack bar at KSC is closed for renovations and the vending is being serviced by Phil Hubbard.  The facility is on the current selection cycle. Phil will do the vending until the construction is complete and the facility is awarded to a vendor.  Cecil Turnage has signed into Facility 416, I-4 Rest area in Seminole County.  Phil Hubbard is waiting for approvals so that he can take over Facility 285, Daytona Beach route. The current operator, Jose Quintanilla is signing into Facility 476, I-4 Rest Area Polk County on June 9.  Phil will operate Facility 285 on a Type II once he is certified and will continue to operate it until a new operator is selected and certified. The status of Facility 494, Orange County Courthouse vending is uncertain and nothing can be done with the facility until a decision is made by Orange County. On May 31 a vending training was held in Daytona Beach.  Ten vendors and a few of their employees, Steve Moss and trainee, Richard Silva attended.

District 5 – Phil Bluschke
Phil reported that the vending training was informative.  He also highly recommends card readers on vending machines.

District 6 – Jim Anderson
Jim agreed that the training was a good opportunity to get information.

Region 4 – Tony Arduengo

Tony confirmed that Jose Quintanilla will be signing into Facility 476 on Friday, June 9.  A Job Corp location will be added to Facility 500, Pinellas Park vending.  Sead Bekric is operating that facility as a Type II.  Three state parks have been added facilities in Region 4. Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park was added to Facility 180, Fort Myers vending route.  Homosassa Springs State Park was added to Facility 272, Brooksville vending route and Alafia River State Park is part of Facility 396, Tampa vending route. A commercial kitchen has been added to supply fresh food for the micro-market on Facility 396.  Construction has started on a second rest area on Alligator Alley.  The location may be available on the September selection cycle. Renovations are still planned for Facilities 432 and 433, Skyway Bridge rest areas and are scheduled to be done one at a time starting in October.

District 7 – Brian Britt
Woody Matthews has relocated to Tallahassee and Brian will be representing District 7 until the Biennial in August.

District 8 – Tom Saunders
All quiet in District 8.

Region 5/District 9 – Maureen Fink

Jim Carper, Joel Rose and David Kaplan where unable to attend the meeting.  Maureen reported that machines were installed in Palm Tran.  This location will be part of Facility 257, Palm Beach vending route operated by Jim Perry.  Broward Sherriff’s Office Complex locations were added to Facility 501, Broward route. Don Gerschick was awarded a Type II on Facility 612, Broward County Public Safety Complex and Jim Carper will be overseeing the day to day operation until an operator is selected. Trainee Richard Silva will be doing on the job training in this facility. Maureen will follow up on any visitations Jim Carper could not complete.  

Region 6 – Alejandro Garcia

The reorganization of the Miami routes has been completed.  Alejandro, John Ahler and Maureen Fink have been working with an operator whose facility has an overly low cost of goods.  Maureen will be monitoring her reports and receipts to determine the correct costs.  The vendor may need to go through retraining.  She can allow her employees to run the facility during the training or the location can be put out as a temporary Type II. 

District 10 – Lilian Pemberton
Lilian continues to have problems with transferring locations with Pepsi.  She has machines on her account for locations that she no longer services.  This problem is impacting her ability to get machines at her current locations. Lilian suggested that an outgoing operator have a list of all the outlet numbers for their location and that this should be required by the LOFA.  She also requested an updated equipment inventory.

One of the operators in District 10 has requested that the term vending route be defined.  The operator identified two new locations near her facility but was told they could not be added because her facility was not a route.  The locations were within in the geographic boundaries for one of the Miami routes and if those locations are determined to be viable they would be added to the route.  Her facility encompasses two locations and is not defined geographically.  Three nearby locations were added to this facility during the recent reorganization of the downtown routes to make the facility more viable.

Round Table

No one had any other issues to discuss.  The agenda has been completed and it will not be necessary to meet on Friday, June 9, 2017.  Interested parties will meet at 9am on Friday at Costco for a tour.

Meeting adjourned at 5:10pm.

Florida Bureau of Business Enterprise

Providing Tools and Support for Legally Blind Vendors in the Food Service Industry