Amidst a competitive campaign, local outdoorsman David Goldsmith is looking to join the directors of Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC). During the 2013 election, which runs until March 28th, Goldsmith was short-listed among a dozen well-qualified Canadians — and he’s the only candidate representing the Columbia Valley and East Kootenays.
As the procedure goes every year, MEC members will have over a month to elect three of the candidates who will each serve three-year terms on the nine-person board of directors.
“It’s a corporation that I support both as a store to buy good gear at good prices, but also philosophically, as a cooperative that gives back to its communities where it functions,” Goldsmith told The Echo. “When MEC contracts through offshore businesses in developing countries, they do a human resources audit of the manufacturers to make sure the staff is treated fairly and ethically. That’s something I would like to see continue into the future.”
While he’s an avid backpacker and fisher, Goldsmith says his most relevant professional experience comes from his four-and-a-half years as a member of the Interior Health Board of Directors, where he currently sits. Goldsmith says Interior Health‘s board dealt with a budget of $1.8 billion, a workforce of 18,500, and fifty locations of service.
With not-for-profit board experience and an appreciation for the free market, Goldsmith hopes to strike a fine balance should he serve on MEC’s board of directors.
“Often times big corporations feel they need to generate a profit just for profit’s sake, and I think that MEC needs to ensure that it has a long-term strategic plan that will ensure its wellbeing as a corporation, but not necessarily create exponential profits for the company,” he said. “It needs to be viable but it doesn’t have shareholders that want to rake in big money; it has shareholders that are members that will have good gear. That’s important to me.”
Comparing the responsibilities from the Interior Health board to MEC’s board, Goldsmith says ensuring that there’s a fully-engaged staff in either organization is important, as well as trying to ensure that the senior executive to the chief executive officer remains focused on the approved long-term strategic plan and the financial goals of the organization.
After referring to decisions made on the Interior Health board that directly impacts the health and safety of its beneficiaries, Goldsmith related them to challenges he may face while representing MEC. “At MEC, when you’re selling gear like mountain climbing equipment, it has to be of very good quality because it too could have a direct impact on individuals lives and well-being, like when they’re out in the backcountry and depending on the gear for their survival.”
Goldsmith expects to see MEC’s board comprised of intelligent, well-qualified members, but hopes to see diversity among the board. “It would be nice to ensure gender equity, geographic equity, et cetera in terms or who’s on the board,” he said.
As he opts for balance on MEC’s board, Goldsmith says the outdoor equipment co-op has won awards for treating its employees well, and he intends to continue the exceptional treatment of MEC’s international support.
Goldsmith’s profile and platform can be found alongside his opponents at mec.ca/election. Registered members of MEC have until March 28 to cast their ballot. The new board members will be announced at MEC’s annual general meeting on Thursday, April 25.