Board of Directors

Meet the co-op board. We’re community-owned and these owner-elected representative oversee our grocery store. Interested in joining the board? Click here to find out how.

Andrea Larson Perez

The Astoria Co+op is an important part of my life! It’s where I spend the majority of my food and wellness dollars, where I connect with the local food economy and enjoy meeting friends and newcomers in our community. I strive to offer some benefit to the organization that means so much to me. Being a member of the Board is truly an honor and privilege I value.

As far as my background goes, my career was spent in public relations, marketing and sales primarily in the publishing industry. Locally, I offered consulting services to local businesses in the healthcare and fishing industries, among others. After writing for others for years, I decided to move into that arena for myself. I have authored two local history books with Arcadia Publishing: Camp Rilea and Astoria in Vintage Postcards. Other than the long list of writing projects I will be working on over the next twenty years, I devote my time to my family, travel and other artistic endeavors.

It’s worth noting I worked part-time at the co-op for nearly 3 years. I enjoyed every single minute of that experience! It was a logical progression for me to seek membership on the co-op Board to contribute in a new way. I am so happy my interest has been supported by co-op owners.

I am a native Floridian. I moved to Sacramento, California after high school and made my forever move to the Lower Columbia in 1994 first residing in Ilwaco, WA and Astoria in 1998. My husband and our two sons enjoy calling Astoria home.

 

Norma Hernandez

I was born and raised in the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico and prior to moving to Astoria in 2003, I lived in the northeast for 20 years, both in New York and Boston. I moved to Astoria to work at an oyster company in Bay Center, WA. where I became aware of the needs and challenges of the Latino community in the region. My passion for social justice kept increasing after working as executive director of Lower Columbia Hispanic Council and then working for the Clatsop County Public Health, currently as a WIC coordinator.  I also serve on the board of North Coast Food Web, and Astoria Parks.  You can listen to me on  Sonidos Latinos on KMUN 91.9 FM, monthly.

 

Erin Kester

 

Erin Kester

I grew up in a small community in Central Wisconsin, but have called the Pacific Northwest home for over 20 years.  I work for a renewable energy company where I engage in regulatory and policy issues to ensure the continued development of renewable energy resources in the Western U.S. Joining the Co-op Board fulfills my desire to contribute meaningfully to the North Coast community and work with a local business that has shared values and makes a big impact.  It’s been exciting to watch the Co-op transition into the beautiful new store – increasing opportunities for local growers and suppliers, as well as expanding job opportunities for the local economy.

My partner Ryan and I spend a lot of time restoring our 1917 historic craftsman home with the hope that it will be enjoyed by many for another 100 years. When we are not working on house projects we like to get outside as much as possible camping, hiking, traveling and spending time with friends and family.

 

 

Karen Niemi

I am a third generation Astorian with over 40 years’ experience as an architect focused on design that is in harmony with the community setting, client values, and user needs. My business philosophy is to practice architecture ethically and with clear integrity. I believe in a collaborative culture.

I joined the board to further engage with the community and assist with promoting the benefits of the co-op principles. I have significant board experience, including the University of Oregon, Board of Visitors, School of Architecture and Allied Arts, China Trade Commission, Portland Chamber of Commerce and more. I look forward to being part of setting the strategic direction of the co-op as it continues to grow and contribute to a thriving local economy.

 

Megan Ott

My background and education in social ecology have provided me with a strong understanding regarding the need for local involvement in local economy. The Astoria Co-op is an excellent example of how this is done well; owned by the community, with products supplied locally, bought locally, and often served locally. As a staff and community member, I feel particularly invested in this process and am proud to be part of such a strong positive force for our community. It was with all of this in mind that I joined the Board of Directors, where I can be involved in decision-making, and advocate for the staff if needed.

I’m originally from Austin, Texas (music capital of the world!) and moved to Oregon around 12 years ago. In Eugene, I attended college late in life, which I feel was the best fit for me. I did a lot of traveling before that and lived a bit of a vagabond existence. Astoria has since welcomed me with open arms, and has allowed me to flourish in my work, my art, and my life. This is due in large part to the Astoria Cooperative, and I look forward to learning and growing with the Co-op for a long time to come.

 

Jennifer Teeter

I have been a licensed CPA for over 20 years with most of my experience in the public accounting domain as an auditor of governmental and non-profit entities. I currently serve on the Wauna Federal Credit Union as the Financial Officer. Community involvement is important to me, and I’ve volunteered for Run on the River and MOM’s Club.

I am serving on the Astoria Co-op Board because I am passionate about our community and the co-op provides unique opportunity to connect local consumers with local producers. I enjoy shopping at the co-op regularly and I am looking forward to being a part of the co-ops continued growth and development.

 

Ryan Newstrum

A native of Seattle, I spent nearly 23 years working for REI, America’s largest consumer cooperative. From my beginnings working a graveyard shift stock position to eventually planning the company’s revenue, traffic, and membership budgets, I have an intimate understanding of many of the challenges a co-op faces. My long tenure allowed me to see how we all benefit when integrity and nurtured humanity is a business priority, and the consequences to culture, morale, and community when it isn’t. 

I strongly believe in the co-op’s commitment to a thriving local economy and am heartened to have firsthand experience in seeing that their service and donations are given in earnest. Serving on the co-op’s board of directors allows me to use my prior experience to contribute to the co-op’s health, as well as gain a more intimate understanding of the community’s varied perspectives and priorities.

I’m so happy to have relocated to Astoria with my family in mid 2019. This PNW gem has everything I need and nothing I don’t. I look forward to connecting with you all in the arts, outdoors, and produce aisles!

Mark Porter

I spent 24 years working in natural foods for Natures and New Seasons Market. Most of that time in upper management. I was integral in the growth of New Seasons Market from one store to twenty stores in 20 years. I feel right at home shopping in the co-op and I am excited to share my knowledge of the natural foods business. My work at New Seasons gave me hands-on oversight of store financial performance. I am passionate about great customer service and triple bottom line businesses.

Sarah Nebeker

I moved to the North Coast in 1972, and joined the food co-op on Marine Drive in the 1970s. I was grateful the co-op existed here and I enjoyed doing much of my food shopping there. I have been a member continuously since that time.

I served on the Gearhart Planning Commission for 25 years both as a commissioner and chairwoman. I served on the Gearhart Homeowners Association for 4 years as a board member, vice president and president. In addition, I served as an elected Clatsop County Commissioner for eight years, where I served as Chair for one year, and Vice Chair for four years.

Having served in various capacities on boards, and volunteering in diverse ways, I’ve enjoyed the camaraderie with those of like mind, who desire to work toward worthy goals. I look forward to working with the board to support the co-op’s important role in the community.