Prairie Food Co-op Community Grocery

Gerry Haptas

  • Hometown: Lombard
  • Owner #: 791
  • Term: Appointed. Up for election in May 2019

Why are you interested in serving on the Prairie Food Board of Directors?
This is an exciting time in the co-op establishment and development. I feel I can make a positive impact achieving the stated current and upcoming PFC goals. I enjoy being involved and seeing things happen.

Employment: Please tell us about your Past or Present Employment 
I have been in management and leadership roles in IT, Consulting and Sales. This includes 15 years with Jewel Food Stores, 14 years with a Direct Marketing company, and 8 years with AT&T, 5 of which were selling to a local government entity, and, 4 years with a consulting company. I retired in November of 2017.

Volunteer: Membership/Affiliations past and present
I served on our local parochial school board which included roles as Secretary and Vice-President. I was the representative to the affiliate organizations mentioned below.

Volunteer: Leadership positions held past and present
I was involved with the Lombard Park District in several capacities. I was the head coach for the Lombard Dive Team for 10 years. I was also the basketball coach for a co-ed high school team for 5 years. I was a head coach at a local parochial grade school for about 10 years for the following sports: track, cross country, volleyball, and, basketball.

Volunteer: Honors/Awards Received
I have received recognition from the organizations, competitors, parents and participants for the activities mentioned above.

Which of the following areas do you have expertise?
Management, Fundraising, Event Planning

Please provide details on any marked expertise below
I have been in management and leadership roles throughout my career. This included team development and effectiveness for teams of 2 to 120 people along with business development and client responsibilities. I have been involved with all facets in the retail food cycle. Personally, I have taken concept ideas and taken them to a successful benefit event. This included all event planning and fundraising efforts from securing the venue to ensuring every sponsor received a hand-written thank you card. Additionally, this involved drafting a support team, securing sponsorship and donations, artwork and merchandising, licensing and insurance, security, food & beverages, staffing, advertising, the entertainment line-up and parking/cleanup. I have also consulted and assisted on panels to organize community running events (as well as participating in them).

What experience, education, and skills do you have that you feel will contribute to your effectiveness as a Prairie Food Director? 
My career has been working with people to help overcome the barriers preventing their progress. This involves listening, planning, consensus, execution and monitoring while communicating and adjusting with all stake/shareholders as necessary. I have collaborated with others to accomplish this in the past and I believe PFC will benefit with these skills and those noted in the expertise response above. I have always been prepared to dig in as far as necessary to get things done.

What are your personal goals for Prairie Food Co-op?
To be a part of the team that leads PFC to be successful and exceed its goals. I have been a Lombard downtown-area resident for over 40 years and cherish the thought of true revitalization of the local downtown area.

What experiences have you had with food co-ops in the past?
I do not have prior co-op experiences other than shopping at them.

What do you hope to achieve from your board experience? 
I will take pride in my personal achievements though they will be overshadowed by my personal satisfaction seeing the success of PFC not only in the Lombard community but seeing it serve as a template for other communities to emulate and improve upon.

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