Sunday, July 3, 2016

2016 Willamette Valley Chapter CSI Awards Banquet

2015-2016 WVC-CSI president Marina Wrensch presents Linn West with one of this year's Certificates of Appreciation for all of his efforts on behalf of the chapter (all photos by me unless otherwise noted).
Every June, the Willamette Valley Chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute marks the end of its annual calendar with a celebration to recognize those who contributed to the group’s success in the preceding year. This past year was particularly momentous, amongst other things having marked 50 years since the chapter first became chartered by the Institute. 2015-2016 WVC-CSI President Marina Wrensch, CSI, ASLA, LEED AP, bestowed a bevy of awards acknowledging those who helped make her year in office a memorable one. 

Marina was an outstanding chapter president. We owe her the biggest thanks for doing whatever it took to get things done when they needed to, and for cajoling and eliciting the best from her supporting cast of board members and committee chairs. Because of her efforts and energy, the chapter’s future fortunes look bright. Her successor, Jim Chaney, FCSI, CCS, CCCA, is certain to leave his mark as well; after all, he is among the most decorated of our chapter members—not only a previous WVC-CSI president (1990-91) but also a past Northwest Region director and CSI national president as well. Like Marina, Jim is a tireless advocate on behalf of the Institute and our chapter, and an innovative thinker. Under his leadership, I have no doubt the chapter will continue evolve in significant ways and become increasingly relevant to construction industry professionals here in the southern Willamette Valley. 
Tom Deines, FCSI, received a Certificate of Appreciation from Marina for his work organizing the Willamette Valley Chapter's 50th Anniversary Celebration.
Incoming WVC-CSI president Jim Chaney thanks Marina for her service as president during the chapter's 50th anniversary year.
I was honored to receive from Marina both a Chapter Service Award and also a Certificate of Merit & Appreciation.
Alan Harper of Ausland Group presented the evening's program.
Most every one of the annual awards banquets includes a program, and this year’s edition offered a particularly fascinating one: Alan Harper of Ausland Group presented 7 Lessons Learned from 150 Dutch Bros. Units

Prior to joining Ausland, Alan, a land use attorney and development specialist, spent six years working for Dutch Bros., the country’s largest privately-held, drive-thru coffee company. Founded in Grants Pass in 1992 by dairy farmer brothers Dane and Travis Boersma, Dutch Bros. grew from a single espresso pushcart to become enormously successful. There are now over 250 locations in Oregon, California, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Colorado and Arizona, serving an assortment of specialty coffee drinks, smoothies, teas, and energy drinks. With an insider’s perspective, Alan described how the company developed a distinct, winning culture and applied it to the task of growing the brand and developing new outlets in disparate locales. 

 Dutch Bros. coffee stand in Hillsboro. Photo by M.O. Stevens, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.
The seven lessons Alan took from his Dutch Bros. tenure were:
  1. Small doesn’t mean cheap, easy, or fast. Small projects still follow all the same steps as large ones. There are no short cuts. 
  2. It takes a great team. Together, people are collectively smarter and can achieve more than anyone one individual. 
  3. Operations and use will evolve. The evolution of the business will bring changes. The Dutch Bros. outlet prototype has changed over time and adapted to local needs. 
  4. Customer service is king. From the beginning, Dutch Bros. chose to emphasize the importance of the relationship between the baristas and their customers. Toward this end, they did away with cash registers and other point-of-sale technology that would get in the way of this relationship. The service windows are large so that any sense of barriers is removed. Baristas become familiar with their regular customers and vice-versa. 
  5. There is no barrier to entry. All Dutch Bros. franchises are locally owned and operated, so the owners have a personal investment in the communities they serve. They also know their communities best, including where the best opportunities are located. For example, understanding commuting patterns might reveal that siting two outlets within direct proximity to one another would not result in reducing traffic to either. Locations can be in underutilized corners of parking lots, otherwise unproductive and thus inexpensive sites, etc. 
  6. Every place likes to think of itself as different but they’re fundamentally all alike. A lot of it boils down to esoteric code work, and specific lease terms and land use requirements can sneak up on you, but the challenges are essentially similar. Again local knowledge is key. 
  7. Celebrate more. It doesn’t matter how challenging a project has been, being enthusiastic, looking at the sunny side of everything, loving life, and forgetting the mistakes of the past is the Dutch Bros. credo. Every new opening is marked by a party, free coffee, and good times.
Alan included “150 units” in the title of his presentation, which is the number of projects he was involved with. As I mentioned, Dutch Bros. can now point to more than 250 locations, so it has grown significantly in just the short time since Alan left to join Ausland Group. 

Thanks to Alan for an entertaining and insightful presentation. We can take the lessons he presented and apply them to almost any endeavor. They’re not just applicable to the development and operation of a drive-thru coffee retailer. In many respects, they’re equally pertinent to the business of operating a volunteer-run membership organization like our CSI chapter. The success of Dutch Bros. can be a model for us to emulate. 

And big thanks to the generous sponsors for this year’s awards banquet: Ausland Group, Rodda Paint, and Twin Rivers Plumbing. Thank you sponsors!

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