2022 ELECTION AND CANDIDATE INFORMATION
Welcome to the online information center for the 2022 Suri Network Board of Trustees Election! Here you will find information on each of the candidates running for election, as well as an outline of the electronic voting process. More information on how and when to vote will also be emailed directly to each member by Simply Voting, the organization managing our election process.
year we have four candidates running for a total of two openings on
the Suri Network Board of Trustees. Beth Sheets, Liz
Vahlkamp, Laurel Shouvlin, Patty Hasselbring, and Michelle Pressler will be returning to the Board. Laurie Findlay and Karl Heinrich's terms are ending. The 2022
candidates for the board election are Karen Ball, Randy Brealey, Nikki Griffith, and Ted Ritschard.
The electronic vote will open on or around May 16th, and all votes must be cast no later than June 1st. Results will be tabulated and announced with the results of the Suri Fleece show and then sent to members by email in early August. Look for an email with voting directions soon!
Candidates were asked to answer the following questions in their candidacy statement:
1. What do you feel you bring to the Suri Network Board that would enhance and strengthen the Suri Network's support of Suri breeders?
2. If you had one sentence to summarize your potential contribution to the Suri Network, what would it be?
3. What would you like the Suri Network to look like in 3 years and how will you help it get there?
4. What is one strength of the Suri Network that you feel should be built upon and how can you help do that?
5. What is one challenge that the Suri Network faces and how do you believe you can help to address it?
KAREN BALL, HEART & SOUL ALPACAS
Photo by M. Morack
My name is Karen Ball, along with my husband, Russell Ratti, we operate Heart & Soul Alpacas. My husband and I have cultivated a fully supporting alpaca business for the last 12 years. We raise both breeds of alpacas and although our areas of interest have fluctuated over time we have or are offering services in shearing, agisting, mentoring, fiber processing, breeding, educating, compost cultivation and agritourism.
The original lure for my interest in alpacas was for the benefit of my children. We have raised 5 children in the industry, all have learned to build fence, fix pipes, shear an alpaca, show, assist with birthing, drive a truck and trailer, operate a tractor and I could go on and on. This industry was the best educational tool I used for raising my children.
In addition to the Suri Network I am a member of AOA, Alpaca Breeders of the Rockies, MOPACA and CABA. I served on the Calpaca board for 4 years, 3 of which I served as president. I also served on the AOA board for 2 and one half years but resigned for health reasons.
I am fully invested in the alpaca industry. I have educated myself on the genetics of both breeds of alpacas in order to improve my herds with each breeding decision. I have taken classes on sorting in order to better understand the fiber, what we are breeding for and why. I attend halter shows across the country, participate in fleece shows, and engage in educational programs to better build my business and improve herd health. I am very passionate about the alpaca industry and I love to share this passion with anyone who is interested.
RANDY BREALEY, CHELSEA FARMS
Thank you for considering me to serve on the Suri Network board. We have been breeding Suris since 1998. While Beth and I started with both Suris and huacayas, we have been exclusively Suris for at least 10 years now. Our herd peaked at about 265 alpacas and is currently at 64. Chelsea Farms was intended to be a full time endeavor from its inception. Prior to starting this career, I had been in the land development/construction industry for 25 years after 10 in computing centers. I have served 2 terms on AOA’s Judges Training and Certification Committee and several terms on the board for the Alpaca Association of Western Washington and am a current member of the CABA Affiliate. I also was a board member for the entire lifespan of the Alpaca Western Extravaganza alpaca show, jointly organized by 6 western US AoA Affiliates.Non- alpaca organizations include a Chamber of Commerce Downtown Development Committee and 2 terms on the board of a Regional Affordable Housing Coalition consisting of a county and multiple cities to assess and develop housing and grant programs.
NIKKI GRIFFITH, SANDOLLAR FARMS ALPACAS & PYRS
Thank you so much for the honor of being a nominee for the Suri Network Board of Directors. My name is Nikki Griffith; my husband, Collins Griffith, and I purchased our first alpacas in 2003 while living in southern Arizona. In 2006, we relocated with our herd to eastern Washington State and currently have a small breeder suri herd of about 10 females, two herdsires and assorted cria. Since joining AOA and its affiliate PNAA, we have been active members of the halter show committee for the popular PNAA Showcase. Currently I work with the Education Committee, having just finished our second 4-part winter webinar series; and this year our farm will host PNAA’s annual 2-day Education Conference; additionally we will host the 1st IFA Fleece Show offered by an affiliate; and I am a past president of the PNAA board. I enjoyed my recent work with Suri Network Product Development committee as fiber is one of my first loves.
I still work full time and I have been working full-time in private practice as a commercial real estate appraiser consultant for 40+ years except for a 15-year stint as Senior Vice President for Bank One (now Chase Bank) managing the real estate collateral valuation function of a $20 Billion portfolio on a national basis, with responsibility for a staff of 75 persons. Part of my private practice since retiring from Bank One included teaching senior level bankers and bank regulators on a national basis about real estate lending. My current client list includes financial institutions, municipalities, counties, port districts, attorneys, accountants, etc. My volunteer work for a number of non-profit organizations over the years gives me a unique perspective in working together.
B I BAR RANCH
Hello, my name is Ted Ritschard. My wife Julie and I have been working to improve Suri alpacas and the business of raising them since 2008 when our first animals arrived at our B I Bar Ranch outside Colorado Springs, CO. The B I Bar brand has been used since the late 1800’s to represent quality animals produced by the Ritschard Family. As a small breeding farm of 10-15 breeding females, Julie and I have created lines of quality animals recognized in the ring, introducing us to clients across the country, and launching enduring friendships.
My professional background includes being a Civil Engineer specializing in transportation issues. I have worked the last 30 plus years in the western United States planning and designing transportation infrastructure and building consulting businesses. Much of my work is in long range planning, listening to communities about their goals, and defining programs to get them there. These businesses require strategy development, marketing, and managing significant business enterprises to profitability and sustainability. I have built such practices in multiple cities across the west.
Over the last several years I have volunteered on Suri Network committees to produce the “Suri, Simply Stunning” brand, and helped pursue trademark registration. During this effort I facilitated development of the graphic theme, created educational and background materials on branding and brand marks, conducted webinars sharing our progress, and helped develop the process for managing the mark. I have also been a show volunteer in Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska as a ring steward. Witnessing the amazing work done by show volunteers, judges, breeders, and exhibitors is more than a fair trade for helping keep the ring safe and moving.
I believe my experience would be an asset to the Board of Trustees.