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Board of Directors Louisiana Seafood
Louisiana Seafood

LSPMB June 2015 Minutes

Board Members Present:
Sal Sunseri, Chairman
Mayor Sherbin Collette
Randy Davis
Daniel Edgar
Chef Tenney Flynn
Jakov Jurisic
Chef Peter Sclafani

Introduction of Staff and Guests:

Karen Profita, Executive Director
Lisa Manda, Assistant Executive Director
Tiffany Hess, Administrative Assistant

Jacques Berry, Office of the Lieutenant Governor
Caroline Downer, Office of the Lieutenant Governor
Scott Couvillon, Trumpet 
Jordan Russo, Trumpet 
Emily Sampson, Trumpet
Michael Ketchum, New Orleans Fish House
Julie Falgout, Sea Grant
Theresa Overby, Miles Media
Caitlin Switzer, The Ehrhardt Group
Marc Ehrhardt, The Ehrhardt Group
John Fallon, Audubon Institute 

I. Call to order. The meeting was called to order by Chairman Sunseri. 

II. Roll call and introduction of guests. Ms. Hess began roll call. It was noted that a quorum was not present, with only 7 board members in attendance. Without a quorum, motions cannot be made.

III. Adopt the agenda. No action taken due to lack of board quorum.

IV. Adoption of minutes from April 21, 2015 Meeting. No action taken due to lack of quorum; will be adopted at August board meeting.

V. Reports 
A. Financial Report. Mr. Davis 

Mr. Davis asked to wait for Chef Flynn’s arrival before presenting his report. Mr. Sunseri suggested we move on to the next agenda item.

After the Executive Director report, Mr. Davis gave the following report:

o Have been contemplating what I wanted to communicate to you today
o Daniel Edgar expressing concerns over presentation of financial information
o Apparent inadequate explanation of financial information to the board
o Chalin Delaune, Finance Chair, expressing concern over spending and cost effectiveness of social media campaign; overall concern over of costs of programs
o Concern by some board members over cost and focus of trade programming campaign

• Total transparency has been and continues to be our objective
o LSPMB transferred to DCRT in 2013 and began attending LSPMB meetings prior to transition
o Comprehensive financial presentations were sophisticated but almost impossible to understand status of BP Funding
o Objective was to simplify financial presentations for clearer understanding
o Don’t want there to be any surprises

o Concerns leading to changes during transition
o Lax accounting procedures and charging expenditures to unrelated but open task orders
o Management consultant expenses eliminated
o Relocation of LPSMB staff and elimination of facility rental costs
o Recovered approximately $80k from audit of all vendor invoices

• Legislative changes
o Advisory board but OLG has from the very beginning sought direction of the board
o Enumerated responsibilities of the board, subject to approval by DCRT
o Eliminated joint control of task force funds
o Lobbying (not allowed to use public funds and not consistent with BP MOU) versus advocacy
o Provide information 

• Marketing
o We are attempting to execute the marketing plan adopted by the board
o Easiest and most efficient would be to embark on a 3-year advertising campaign
o May not be most effective
o LSPMB does not have a sales force; we do not write orders
o Attempt to generate leads and send prospective buyers to website for suppliers, etc.
o Trade programming ethics hurdle
o Programs and expenditures must be consistent with BP MOU
o Complicated board dynamic with board representatives from all segments of seafood industry, with both shared and diverse issues

• BP Funding
o Opened last fishery closed by BP oil spill today
o 3- year countdown starts and must expend all BP funds by June 10, 2018
o 3-year countdown will reset if there is a subsequent closure of any fisheries related to BP oil spill

• Conclusion
o Marketing Committee and LSPMB revisit marketing plan and reaffirm commitment to existing plan or modify as is appropriate
o Review all components of marketing plan: Trade programs; regional advertising; truck wraps; sponsorships, seafood/restaurant shows; LASCO, GASC, etc.
o Revaluate spending time line based on reopening of fisheries

Mr. Sclafani thanked Mr. Davis for his explanation, and said it is now clear, that the board can recommend how to spend BP funds but they do not have final authority. Mr. Davis noted that the Lieutenant Governor wants to move forward as the board wants to. 

He then passed out an example of the budget breakdown for two events, Boston/SENA and the Legislative Reception. Mr. Sunseri asked that instead of diving further into the financials, we move on to the next agenda item, and noted that the board has the financial information in their packets and can review at their leisure. Mr. Davis agreed.

B. Committee Reports 
i. Executive – Mr. Sunseri reminded board members to complete the board of ethics training online and the financial disclosures. Ms. Hess noted she will look up those board members who haven’t completed either and will notify each member. Mr. Davis noted that those members added to the board since last December need to complete the financial disclosures by May 15, 2016. Mr. Sunseri then discussed the vacant board seat to represent Alligator. Mr. Edgar noted that Rudy Sparks might be interested and has contacted him about joining the board. 
ii. Finance – Mr. Delaune was not in attendance to give a report. Mr. Sunseri noted that Mr. Davis will give an update on the financials during his report.
iii. Legislative – Mr. Sunseri noted an issue in the past legislative session; that if oyster beds lose land, the land reverts back to the state. He also stated that any seafood related issues/bills coming up in next legislative session need to be presented and discussed at the board meeting. Mr. Sclafani asked if any of the task forces are organized to address political issues. Mrs. Profita noted that the Oyster Task Force is the most organized group. The Shrimp Task Force is getting more focused on addressing legislative issues/bills and is looking at meeting on a more regular basis. This session they were active in regards to the TED legislation. They recognized enforcing TED usage would take them off the Monterey Bay red list allowing retailers such as Whole Foods to once again carry Louisiana shrimp. (More discussion of red listing followed.) 
iv. Education – Mr. Parria was not in attendance to give a report.
v. Marketing – Mr. Tenney was absent during the time of reporting. Upon arrival Mr. Tenney reported that the marketing committee met at GW Fins in New Orleans on May 12th. They discussed the POS, Grocery Co-Marketing and Wholesaler programs. Decisions were made on how to carry out the grocery co-op program so the marketing plan can move forward.

VI. Executive Director’s Report 
A. Completed Events. Mrs. Profita gave an update on the following completed events:
i. Legislative Reception – budget was $10,000 and we spent around $8,000. She would like to rethink this event next year, determine if it’s the best use of funds, or if we could do something different. Mr. Sunseri suggested that the Legislative Committee discuss this further. Mrs. Profita noted that this competes with other events, and suggested we might have a table at the State Capitol in the Rotunda next year. Mr. Sunseri thought the event was well attended and there was good discussion held with the guests. Mrs. Profita asked Mr. Berry to share how Tourism and other agencies execute their legislative programs. Mr. Berry said setting up in the Rotunda and doing giveaways at the table is common. He also noted that LTPA does several events over several days at multiple locations, which are well attended. He suggested that we could reserve Memorial Hall and still have reception. 
ii. NRA in Chicago – Noted that we gathered 145 leads; it was a very successful trip, visitors were very interactive, engaged and interested; and it was noted that the suppliers in the booth indicated over $1 million in potential business from the show. Ehrhardt Group generated media attention and scheduled a cooking segment on Chicago’s ABC affiliate w/ Chef Flynn.
iii. BBQ Event in Chicago – we received over 600 names to add to our database and email lists; and made some valuable contacts. We invited 100 people of our choosing. In order to participate we did a $10,000 sponsorship to Share Our Strength fundraiser. Mr. Sunseri noted that the Chicago trip went great, but it was a lot of work; said that Chef Flynn cooked great food. Mr. Sunseri also noted that the BBQ event went well, that Louisiana crab, oyster and shrimp were well represented. Chicago servers were very impressed with Louisiana seafood, and said that the board might consider sponsoring the event again next year, at a lower level, and can discuss next spring. Mr. Jurisic asked about the presence of oyster and crab at this event. Mrs. Profita noted that both were represented, along with shrimp at NRA. Chef Flynn prepared an oyster tart. It was suggested by Mr. Jurisic that we try to do chargrilled oysters next year, if it’s allowed. Mrs. Profita said this is possible, since the venue has an outdoor area. Mr. Sclafani asked how the leads generated are turned into seafood sales following trade shows. Mrs. Profita noted that we send all leads to the seafood industry that are in our database. Public comment by Mr. Ketchum noted that the trade shows in Boston and Chicago create a vessel to generate leads and follow up. Vendors have to be proactive and generate leads and follow up on their own. He noted that this year was a great set up with LSPMB in Chicago. Mr. Sunseri noted that it’s important that the industry learns of contacts via communication within a month of the show.
iv. LASCO – Held May 23rd at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Mrs. Profita noted it went great. Social media/Instagram takeover by chefs went well, and it was a great way to build relationships with chefs. Chef Lyle Broussard of L’Auberge in Lake Charles was the winner; he had girls who work in the casino wear #LASCO15 t-shirts. He won 30lbs of shrimp and he is going to cook these for a nonprofit organization. He also won a restaurant supply gift card. He was a tie for first place/King of Louisiana Seafood. Judges determined that Chef Michael Brewer of The Sammich in New Orleans was the winner, with sheepshead nachos. Third place was GW Fins chef with Oyster Soup. Both finalists used fish, making very creative dishes. She noted that Chef Brewer will be a great ambassador for Louisiana seafood; he is already helping us out and will be a great asset. We will enjoy working with him. Mr. Sunseri noted that this is a good event, with a big crowd in conjunction with NOWFE. He mentioned appearing on the morning show on WWL in New Orleans with Chef Brewer. Ehrhardt will discuss the media opportunities in their report.
B. Upcoming Events:
i. Miss USA – July 1-12, proposed events: July 2 opening ceremony and July 5 seafood party. Mrs. Profita noted that she took a group of the Miss USA people on a tour of the Atchafalaya yesterday and confirmed that they will film there and the contestants on a shrimp boat near Delcambre. They would have considered shooting video in oyster beds, but they’re too far away so the schedule would not allow. These shoots will create great visuals and enhance our sponsorship. On July 2, contestants will gather at Ruffino’s De La Ronde Hall and then second line to the Old State Capitol where we will host the welcome event. On July 5, we will host a Seafood Party at Houmas House. The Miss USA crew loved Nottoway Plantation last year, and they are excited about Houmas House this year. There will be several Louisiana seafood dishes (including raw and chargrilled oysters), interactive activities including catfish net tying with Mayor Collette, alligator petting and more. We will also invite winner of Oyster Festival shucking contest from Jolie Pearl in Baton Rouge. Last year our budget was $25,000 and we came in $2,000 under; trying to stay on budget this year at $25,000, but chance we might incur approximately $1,000 more in expenses this year. Ms. Manda is working to get several items donated, and the use of both venues has been donated. Mrs. Profita noted we will send invitations to the board. The pageant will be held on July 12, and we will try to get tickets for board members interested in attending. This is incredible exposure for LSPMB, as we will have logos everywhere. It was estimated last year that there were 5M viewers.
ii. Louisiana Association of Occupational Health Nurses meeting will be held in Baton Rouge at Crowne Plaza on July 30 – August 1. We will sponsor a booth for $250. Pennington is partnering with us on this and events we hope to have follow. The goal of our participation is to encourage the occupational nurses to allow us into their workplaces to educate their employees on the health benefits of purchasing, preparing and cooking seafood. In addition to being in the booth we will cook at their reception to be held at City Club on August 1.
iii. GASCO – August 7-10, will be held at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans at the Louisiana Restaurant Association Show. Confirmed 11 chefs participating now, trying to get more via National Restaurant Association; last year we had 18 chefs. We will do chef Instagram/social media takeover like we did for LASCO. We are inviting last year’s winner from Florida to do a tasting for viewers during GASCO. The schedule of activities: August 7 – welcome party/throw down challenge at the LRA reception, followed by our welcome reception at the Audubon Aquarium, to which board members will be invited. August 8 – GASCO; board members invited, as well. August 9 – 4-H cookoff; August 10 – Farm to Table uses the stage. 
iv. Louisiana Kitchen and Culture – renewal of media buy, want to do more this year, doing at a contest for readers around Plenty to Celebrate; win Louisiana seafood celebration. First prize will be a tailgate, to enter contest, entrants must go to website to get answers to the two questions; very low cost.
v. Boston SENA 2016. Mrs. Profita noted it is time to reserve booth space; do we want 1,000 sq. ft. booth again? Firms sharing the booth reported $2M in sales this year; budget was $132,000 spent on entire event; discussion on scaling down for 2016. Mrs. Profita recommended we reserve our space now, maybe change booth layout. Cost is $3,000/$3,500 for vendors to rent booth; LSPMB generated $12,000 in revenue this year on booth space. Public comment from Mr. Ketchum, suggested we invite more vendors next year, could accommodate more with smaller vendor spaces in our booth. After discussion and no concerns brought up by the board, it was suggested we reserve our booth space for 2016.
vi. CIA – we sponsored two events in the past, last fall and this spring, and would like to sponsor fall event again this year, since it is more restaurant focused. There’s an opportunity to sponsor for $20,000 includes a 10 minute presentation/demonstration to attendees. Other sponsors include: Almond, Peanut, and Pork Boards, Bean Growers and the Mushroom Council. Invited to attend are executive chefs that work for companies such as Cracker Barrel, Luby’s, Walt Disney and other national restaurant chains. Will work Louisiana seafood into a meal. On the last day, there is a menu creation day and an opportunity to showcase Louisiana seafood in 4 menu items. Mr. Sunseri said he thinks it’s a good opportunity to sponsor the fall event this year. Mr. Davis noted that we will re-evaluate the sponsorship and discuss further.
vii. 4-H at GASCO. 4-H has requested that we again provide a $500 stipend for each team, (last year we had 5 teams) and we add $600 for a bus tour. The students would tour a dock and processing plant. After some discussion, it was decided this is a good investment and there was no opposition by the board. 
viii. Sustainable Seafood Bloggers Conference. 100 bloggers will gather in New Orleans on June 26-28 and has asked for a $3,000 sponsorship to sponsor a meal or break out session. Discussion was held, and it was decided this is a good opportunity, and there was no opposition by the board.
ix. Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers (CHART), in conjunction with Café Reconcile, is hosting a conference in New Orleans on July 18-21. There is a sponsorship opportunity with Café Reconcile for $3,000 and $500 in product, to provide food for the reception along w/ an information table at the conference. This would be great exposure to restaurateurs. Mr. Edgar thinks this is a good idea, and after discussion, the board agreed. There was no opposition by the board.
x. Chef Cory Bahr approached us about filming at GASCO for a one hour TV pilot that might air on The Food Network. This could possibly turn into a TV series. Chef Bahr’s team approached LSPMB about hoping to raise half of $250,000 to underwrite the project. Mrs. Profita noted that we spent $30,000 last year for LPB to film GASCO which aired on PBS stations nationwide. There is no guarantee that if the Food Network filmed GASCO it would air at all. Discussion was held discussing pros and cons. Mr. Sclafani noted that this might be a better fit for LASCO, since the focus is on Louisiana seafood, instead of domestic/US seafood that is used at GASCO. There were mixed feelings about this, and the board decided to consider for the future. The board would like more information before making a recommendation. Mr. Sunseri noted that he thinks the Food Network is a good avenue for Louisiana seafood, but would like to be Louisiana seafood focused. Mrs. Profita will discuss more with Chef Bahr’s team and report back.

VII. Old Business
A. Festival Grant Update. Ms. Hess gave the following update: the legal team has given us feedback/edits to make and we’re working through it. Final documents will be ready for review by August board meeting and we will determine a timeline then.

B. Marketing Campaign Update
i. Scott Couvillon, Trumpet, gave a presentation on the following:
1. Review of 2015 Marketing Plan. Noted that last August, 3 year marketing plan to spend $10M - $4M in FY15, $3M in FY16 and $3M in FY 17 was presented. It was decided to spend this in primary areas of restaurant, grocery and regional. Totaled $2.7M in FY15. The plan was built on the reverse broker model; removing the broker as the middleman, so that suppliers can get more revenue. 
2. Grocery Co-Marketing plan. Mr. Couvillon noted that new material was approved by the Marketing Committee, and he gave a handout of the plan that included revised language. 
3. Restaurant Co-Marketing plan is going to the Marketing Committee for discussion and review.
4. Wholesaler program – going to the Marketing Committee.
5. Relaunching POS w/ a new vendor, with new items.
6. Three websites: Louisiana seafood, buy and sell – able to get analytics from here for consumers, buyers and suppliers. 
7. FY16 discussion on direction for messaging platform and tactics. We’re going to focus on un-imported and educate on domestic vs. imported. 

C. Miles Media Update. Theresa Overby gave an update on performance in social media since the last meeting. 
i. Social media update - 71,000 likes on FB, which is a 51% growth since April. Houston is our #1 audience, noted that audience is growing regionally in Mobile, Dallas and Jacksonville. Twitter has 1,000 new followers. Instagram has 880 new followers since April. 
ii. LASCO chefs Instagram takeover – Now have over 1,700 followers; which is an increase from 868 followers previously. Chef Lyle Broussard had huge support with over 1,600 likes. There were 88 posts by 9 chefs, generating over 6,500 likes on #LASCO15, over 122,000 impressions. Twitter had 290 tweets, reaching 192,000 people. 
iii. GASCO – will do similar chef takeover as done for LASCO. 

Mr. Sunseri asked if all board members were following Louisiana Seafood on social media sites, and most members said they are.

D. Ehrhardt. Marc Ehrhardt and Caitlin Switzer gave the following report:
i. For NRA show, Chef Flynn appeared on Chicago’s ABC affiliate’s morning show, which over 229,751 people watched. Goal is to have a greater concentration in our acquisition target markets like Chicago.
ii. Part of their marketing goal is to get consumers to request Louisiana seafood in Regional markets. Ehrhardt sought opportunities to push coverage of LASCO. They are working with Hometown Productions, and noted that a segment aired on WWL TV in New Orleans on LASCO. They discussed Hometown Productions possibly making LASCO footage available to several regional markets. They mentioned there is a great opportunity to utilize spokes people, including the Lieutenant Governor, Mrs. Profita, chefs, etc., to promote Louisiana seafood. 
iii. LASCO. Hometown Productions filmed b roll, added interviews to YouTube, and b roll was provided to all news sources unable to send cameras to LASCO. This generated 178,000 impressions in 5 markets, which is a $13,262 ad value. They will do the same for GASCO, but on national scale.

VIII. New Business
A. Mike Merritt - AKT North America. In support of board discussions on potential economic development projects, Mr. Edgar invited Mike Merritt of AKT North America to present information on equipment which can be used to recycle seafood waste and by-product into marketable products. Ms. Hess will email the board members the presentation. Mr. Merritt said there is a great opportunity to process resources from Louisiana seafood waste from shrimp, crab, and other species and turning into them animal feed, fertilizer and other products. Cost is about $3-5M to set up a processing plant.

IX. Next Regular Board Meeting is scheduled on August 12, 2015.

X. Adjourn. The meeting was adjourned by Mr. Sunseri.