The Region 10 Business Enterprise Program (BEP) Conference
The Region 10 Business Enterprise Program (BEP) Conference was hosted by Washington State Services for the Blind in Tacoma, WA October 23-24. The following presentations were recorded and should be made available to Vendors of the BEP programs in our region. BEP programs are generally based on the Federal and State Randolph Sheppard Act. What follows are presentations by Dane Sorenson, about the business of running a restaurant; Catriona MacDonald, on the future of the Randolph Sheppard program; and Bill Moore, on customer service.
Dane Sorenson has worked in the food service and restaurant industry for over 30 years. He has worked at all levels of a restaurant from being worker bee as a young teen, to chef of a major restaurant and then finally as an owner of a restaurant. For the last 15 years, he has had his own restaurant consulting business, where he has specializes in assisting restaurant owners in opening a successful operation and in maintaining that success. For many years he has contracted with the Washington State Department of Services for the Blind to provide restaurant consulting services to its blind vendors in the Business Enterprise Program.
Mr. Sorenson’s presentation was intended to enlighten the group as to why some food service/restaurant operations fail. From his extensive experience, he gave practical examples of how some managers/owners failed to recognize that their businesses were starting to have problems. He emphasized the need for managers/owners to not only recognize why their businesses were in trouble but then be willing to change their course action or procedures to correct the problem. He discussed how pride and loyalties can make it hard to make the needed changes. He provided the group with a long list of factors that can cause a restaurant business to fail.
Dane Sorenson, Part One
Dane Sorenson, Part Two
Dane Sorenson, Part Three
Catronia MacDonald has had an extensive career in the public sector specifically in the U. S. Congress working for a number of notable senators and representatives like Sen. Ted Kennedy. For a while, she worked for a large lobbyist firm is the Washington DC area before starting her own lobbyist firm, Linchpin Strategies. She currently is the lobbyist for the Blind Entrepreneurs’ Alliance (BEA). The Alliance is an organization of individuals or groups involved or interested in preserving the federal Randolph-Sheppard Act and who care about keeping future entrepreneurial business opportunities for the blind.
Her presentation to the group was an update of what is happening in the U. S. Congress and how these events could impact the Randolph-Sheppard Program and therefore affect its current and future participates. She reported on how a recent “Fly in” by program participates to meet their senators and representatives and how this event had a positive role in increasing the understanding of Congressional members as to what the Randolph-Sheppard Program was and how the program had affected the lives of its participates. Lastly, she requested the help of the attendees to play a bigger role individually in promoting and advocating for their program.
MacDonald, Part One
MacDonald, Part Two
MacDonald, Part Three
Bill Moore has over 20 years of experience as a public sector leader and manager. He has had management responsibility for organizations ranging from ten people to over a thousand. He has served as a Public Affairs Administrator for an organization of 18,000 and a City Manager, responsible for providing support services and infrastructure management for a population of 21,000. Other jobs held included: Safety /Health Administrator, Affirmative Action Officer, Training Manager, Personnel Officer, Consumer Relations and Supply/Services Manager. He has recently retired as the Assistant Director, Division of Capitol Facilities, for the Washington State Department of General Administration. He also is a retired Colonel United States Army.
Mr. Moore’s presentation was to provide the blind food service operators and the staff of the Department of Services for the Blind, Business Enterprise Program with the techniques, strategies, and information to deliver outstanding customer service via listening, developing and caring for their employees and customers. His premise was that you cannot deliver good customer service without having a knowledgeable, committed and skilled staff in your food service operation. He focused on sound leadership practices, the art of listening and then problem solving for results. He stated that managers need to analysis ways in which to motivate and empower employees to make customer-focused decisions and establish a personal line of connection with the customers to insure success.
Bill Moore, Part One
Bill Moore, Part Two
Bill Moore, Part Three