Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board April Minutes

April 21, 2015

Board members present:
Sal Sunseri, Chairman
Larry Avery
Mayor Sherbin Collette
Randy Davis
Chalin Delaune
Daniel Edgar
Chef Tenney Flynn
Alan Gibson
Troy Parria
Pete Tortorich

Introduction of Staff and Guests:

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

Guests:
Jacques Berry, Office of the Lieutenant Governor
Caroline Downer, Office of the Lieutenant Governor
Scott Couvillon, Trumpet
Jordan Russo, Trumpet
Michael Ketchum, New Orleans Fish House
Julie Falgout, Sea Grant
Ben Mitchell, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Erin Brown, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Vito Zupparo, Miles Media
Theresa Overby, Miles Media
Liz Mangum, Southern Strategy Group
Russell Caffery, Southern Strategy Group
Alice Glenn, Louisiana Restaurant Association
Caitlin Switzer, The Ehrhardt Group
Marc Ehrhardt, The Ehrhardt Group
Damon Morris, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
John Fallon, Audubon Institute
Paul Core
Jarvis Green
Renee Ganucheau, Event Specialists of New Orleans
Jose Espinoza, Tabasco

I. Call to order. After confirming a quorum was present, the meeting was called to order by Chairman Sunseri. Mr. Sunseri recognized the 5th anniversary of the BP Oil Disaster.

II. Roll call and introduction of guests. Ms. Hess began roll call. Mr. Sunseri introduced new board member Chef Tenney Flynn of GW Fins. Mr. Flynn is filling the Marketing Seat. Guests introduced themselves.

III. Adopt the agenda. A motion was made by Mr. Edgar and seconded by Mr. Tortorich to adopt the agenda. There being no discussion or public comment, the motion carried unanimously.

IV. Adoption of minutes from February 12, 2015 Meeting. The motion was made by Mayor Collette and was seconded by Mr. Avery to approve and adopt the minutes from the February Board Meeting. There being no discussion or public comment, the motion carried unanimously.

V. Financial Report. Mr. Davis explained how the BP funds are managed through the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. He explained the Financial Reports and how they are sorted two ways – by alphabetical vendor list and by transaction date. Mr. Davis then gave an update on the financials, detailing total funding and expenditures as of 4/1/15. He recapped for the Board expenditures to date and the remaining BP Fund balance, which is $8,970,867.

Mr. Davis reported that we will have at least $6M by end of fiscal year 2015. We received a $250,000 grant from Deepwater Horizon, and noted that this will be added back to the financial statements for the next meeting.

Mr. Davis also discussed the reactivation of the Finance Committee. They will meet soon to discuss the financial reports and look at reformatting the reports to make them easier to read and understand. He also suggested Marketing Committee and Finance Committee have joint meetings to discuss the marketing plan budget.

The Shrimp and Crab Task Forces have agreed to give funds to LSPMB again this year. The Oyster Task Force meeting will be held on May 5th, and we will know following that meeting if we will receive funding from them. At the request of the task force, Mr. Sunseri, Mr. Jurisic and Mrs. Profita will meet to prepare a proposal requesting funds to present at the task force meeting.

Mr. Davis will recommend transferring surplus funds in FY15 budget to FY16 budget.

Mr. Sunseri questioned why the interest amount reported at this meeting is less than previously reported at the February meeting. Mr. Davis noted that this is due to the fact that we spent more money this time period. He will review further to see if there is anything else to report.

The motion to adopt the financial report was made by Mr. Edgar and seconded by Mr. Parria. There being no discussion or public comment, the motion carried unanimously.

VI. Executive Director’s Report
A. Events.
i. ULL Business Challenge – Mrs. Profita handed out articles printed in The Advocate and Crowley Post-Signal newspapers. No one from the winning teams was present to introduce to the board, but Ms. Hess noted the Zachary team will attend the Legislative Reception this evening.
ii. NRA BBQ Event – held the Sunday night at NRA show in Chicago, asking for $10,000 sponsorship. We will have Chef Tenney cook seafood; able to invite 100 people of our choosing; a booth/table; an opportunity for exposure to an estimated 1,200 people. Discussion was held by Mr. Sunseri, Mr. Parria, Mr. Avery, Mr. Tortorich, Mr. Delaune and Mr. Gibson on the pros and cons of sponsoring this. Pros: more in-depth exposure to a limited audience, good networking opportunities, opens door to unique visitors, puts a spotlight on Louisiana seafood, potential future business, forming relationships with chefs, not much seafood at the event last year, and we think we will stand out this year. Cons: too expensive. Mr. Edgar asked how many trade shows we commit to each year, and Mrs. Profita responded only two: NRA and Boston/SENA. After more discussion on invitations, the board recommended to sponsor the event. Mr. Gibson asked for a report after the event on what our impact or impressions were. Mrs. Profita agreed.

A motion to recommend sponsoring this event was made by Mr. Edgar and seconded by Mr. Tortorich. There being no further discussion or public comment, the motion carried unanimously.

iii. Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster has requested a donation of seafood for their Awards Reception and National Meeting held on May 12 in New Orleans for 400 people. LSPMB will be recognized as a sponsor at this event. Following discussion and there being no concerns, the board recommended donating seafood to this event. Mrs. Profita noted that we would like to have fishermen and other people from the industry there telling their story. VOAD responded after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and following the BP Oil Disaster.
iv. LASCO – May 23rd at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, in conjunction with NOWFE. On May 22nd, our stage is being offered to Café Reconcile or Louisiana Culinary Institute for a cooking challenge or demonstration. Chefs competing in LASCO will each take over Instagram for a day and will be supported by other social media as well. Chefs will compete for a prize for the Instagram takeover. 10 chefs competing are from all over the state. Mrs. Profita referred to the handout in the packet with more information on the chefs.
v. GASCO – August 7-10, held at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans at the Louisiana Restaurant Association Show. Governor Jindal has extended the challenge to other Governors. Schedule of activities: 8/7 – welcome party/throwdown challenge, 8/8 – GASCO and we are considering having a Fishermen’s market; 8/9 – 4-H cookoff; 8/10 – Farm to Table uses the stage. We are working with LRA on the event, and had 18 chefs last year.
vi. Miss USA – July 1-12, proposed events: July 2nd opening ceremony and July 5th seafood party. Mrs. Profita will suggest that contestants be filmed on boats in Atchafalaya, on shrimp boats and/or crab docks.
vii. Louisiana Direct Marketing: State Association of Plant Nurses meeting will be held in Baton Rouge on June 30 and July 1. We hope to serve seafood samples at their reception and perhaps sponsor a booth for $250. We will propose to attendees that in conjunction with Pennington we could visit their plants to educate employees on buying Louisiana seafood and provide cooking demonstrations using healthy recipes.
viii. CIA Flavor Summit 2015 – Mrs. Profita and Mr. Sunseri attended the event in Napa, along with Chef Cory Bahr. Mrs. Profita reported that she made several contacts, and had conversations with lobster representatives to discuss possibly working together in the future. Mr. Gibson inquired about the expenses for the trip. Total was $39,118.60, as listed on the Financial Report. Mr. Sunseri reported that he enjoyed the visit and made several contacts. He thought it was a great opportunity to showcase Louisiana seafood.
ix. Boston SENA. Mrs. Profita estimated value from vendors, show sales between $80,000 - $5.5M; estimated future sales - $50,000 - $5.5M. We received 33 leads that we shared with the industry. Mr. Avery reported that it was slower and not as well attended this year, 2014 had larger attendance.
x. NRA Chicago – May 16-19. Mrs. Profita noted that we still have 2 small booths still available. Discussion was held and the board agreed to offer it to American Shrimp Processors Association and to other industry partners based in Louisiana. It was agreed that we should not have representatives from out of state seafood companies in the booth.
xi. Renee Ganucheau – Mrs. Profita introduced Ms. Ganucheau of Event Specialists in New Orleans. She handles our trade shows and other events throughout the year, including LASCO and GASCO. She shared with the board that she started with LSPMB in 2009 and assists with all planning and logistics of these events, including working with chefs. Mr. Gibson thanked Ms. Ganucheau for her hard work and noted she does a great job every time.
xii. The Ehrhardt Group. Mrs. Profita introduced Marc Ehrhardt and Caitlin Switzer with Ehrhardt Group. Mr. Ehrhardt reported that they are a public relations firm in New Orleans and work with corporations on public affairs and tourism and entertainment. Their goal is to generate consistent media coverage for LSPMB and to help generate qualified leads. They worked with us in Boston, and will work with us on LASCO and GASCO to generate consistent media coverage.

A motion to adopt the Executive Director’s Report was made by Mr. Gibson and seconded by Mr. Edgar. There being no discussion or public comment, the motion carried unanimously.

VII. Old Business
A. Festival Grant Update. Ms. Hess gave the following update: the legal team is in the final stages of reviewing the grant guidelines, application and agreement. The grant program will launch on July 1, 2015.

Mr. Sunseri noted that the Oyster Festival is coming up the last weekend in May in New Orleans. Sponsorships are available, should anyone be interested.

B. ProStart – Alice Glenn with the Louisiana Restaurant Association presented highlights of the latest ProStart program. LSPMB partnership with LRA started in 2012. LRA will award $70,000 in scholarships in 2015. $500 per school for each program will be used in the classroom to educate students on Louisiana seafood by incorporating supplemental curriculum and purchasing product, field trips, etc. Ms. Glenn thanked LSPBM for their support over the past 3 years.
C. Marketing Campaign Update
i. Scott Couvillon, Trumpet, gave a presentation on the following:
1. Email – went out to announce the launch of the sell site.
2. Grocery Co-marketing training program – consulted with the industry and got their feedback on the program.
3. Review of sell site.
4. Supplier sales kit; folder was handed out, included program overview, sample tactics at various funding levels, and an application for suppliers to initiate a program. Mr. Delaune noted that retailers will benefit from this program, and he hopes this makes a long lasting impression. He also hopes it generates revenue in the industry. Mr. Couvillon noted that the website containing information on this and other programs from LSPMB launched on Monday, April 27. Mr. Edgar asked if Trumpet would provide a follow up report at the next board meeting; which Mr. Couvillon said he would. Mr. Gibson asked what the decision matrix is for determining the amount to commit to each new account, and how it is decided. Mr. Couvillon responded that the total amount cannot exceed 10% of the net order amount, provided the order meets the following criteria: new or incremental, geography and allows co-promotion. He also noted that there will be a cap that will be recommended by the Marketing Committee. Discussion was held on the amount and how to best to set budget limits (as not to run through the program funds too quickly and increase the number of accounts initiated by this investment) and budget floors. Mr. Sunseri stated that we can take this issue to the Marketing Committee to discuss further.
5. Gave a preview of the new POS website; and noted it will launch early May.
6. B2B campaign analytics – we are half way through campaign, and he will share analytics with the board when complete.
7. Regional campaign, running through summer.

D. Miles Media Update. Theresa Overby gave an update on performance in social media since the last meeting.
i. LSPMB spent $1,500 on social media with Miles for the months of March and April and noted significant growth on Facebook, up 37% from February. Ms. Overby noted that our primary activity is from users who are in New Orleans, Houston, Baton Rouge, Dallas and Atlanta; and we’re targeting women and people who like seafood.
ii. Twitter growth of 23% in March and April.
iii. Instagram slight growth; and discussed the LASCO chefs’ Instagram takeover.
iv. Increased website visitors: 27,000 unique visitors to louisianaseafood.com between February and April.

VIII. New Business
A. Board Committee Assignments. Mr. Sunseri reported that all committee assignments were made. Mr. Sunseri asked that a brief meeting of the Marketing and Finance Committees combined, and Legislative Committee take place immediately following today’s board meeting.

Mr. Sunseri also reported that board member Mr. Marmande resigned this morning. Mr. Marmande represented Alligator. Discussion was held about the difficulty we’ve had filling this seat, and Mr. Davis said the Lt. Governor would review names that are provided by the board and staff. Mr. Edgar noted that he knows of someone who might be interested and will follow up.
B. Stewart and Stewart Presentation. Elizabeth Drake and Bill Frymoyer with Stewart and Stewart represent American Shrimp Processors and other agriculture groups. They gave a presentation on issues around international trade of seafood. Ms. Drake noted that several species are harmed by importing, and discussed statistics and trends in seafood trade and trade remedy/lessons learned. Trade remedies are available if a domestic industry is injured by unfairly traded imports. She also noted that tools and new laws are available now to help with importing; U.S. law provides remedies to domestic industries being harmed by unfairly traded imports. Mr. Frymoyer discussed Customs and Trade Enforcement and Coalition efforts in the seafood industry from across the country. He also noted that we are well-positioned to build support for our efforts on trade and other issues, as we have unrivaled political support of Louisiana seafood. He reviewed some of the key players in Washington and discussed tips on building political support in Washington. He discussed Transpacific Partnership (TPP) and Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and noted that Louisiana has the highest quality, value added seafood product in the country.
C. Southern Strategy, presentation: End Illegal Fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. Liz Mangum gave a presentation to regarding illegal fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. She asked for support of House Resolution HR 774, as individuals or as a whole board to support the swift passage of a critical piece of bipartisan legislation that will combat illegal fishing by foreign vessels: the Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing Enforcement Act of 2015 (H.R. 774). This bill would give the U.S. the tools necessary to protect domestic fishermen and coastal businesses from the detrimental economic impacts caused by foreign illegal fishing.

A motion was made by Mr. Edgar to support HR 774 and allow the board to show support in favor of this bill. There being no discussion or public comment, the motion was seconded by Mr. Gibson. LSPMB will endorse sending letter from board to support this bill.

IX. Adjourn. Mr. Gibson made a motion to adjourn the meeting and was seconded by Mr. Parria. There being no public discussion or comment, the motion carried unanimously.