Board of Directors Elections



The Merc Co+op’s Board of Directors represents all 8,100+ owners and shapes the vision for the co-op while evaluating the current performance of the business. Claim one of your most powerful rights of co-op ownership and vote in our 2019 board elections!

The Board of Directors is comprised of nine co-op owners who are elected by the general ownership and serve three year terms. There are four candidates running for two open seats on the board. Scroll below to meet the candidates.

Voting will take place through a secure, online portal as well as by paper ballots available at right and in store. All co-op owners with shares paid in full by September 2, 2019 are eligible to vote. 

Meet the Candidates

We asked all candidates to comment on the following:

  • Current Employment and Work Experience

  • Previous Board Experience

  • What skills would you bring to The Merc Co+op’s Board of Directors?

  • Why would you like to serve on The Merc Co+op’s Board of Directors?

Click on the images below to view the candidates’ statements.

Candidates are listed in alphabetical order.

Dustin Brown   Director of Engineering, Identity Automation   incumbent

Dustin Brown

Director of Engineering, Identity Automation


Michael Knight   Lead College & Career Coordinator, Kansas City Kansas Public Schools   candidate

Michael Knight

Lead College & Career Coordinator, Kansas City Kansas Public Schools


Dorri Rowan   Certified Human Resources Professional   candidate

Dorri Rowan

Certified Human Resources Professional


Deon Whitten   Career Specialist, Jobs for America’s Graduates - Kansas, F.L. Schlagle High School   candidate

Deon Whitten

Career Specialist, Jobs for America’s Graduates - Kansas, F.L. Schlagle High School


Timeline 2019

The co-op conducts elections using electronic and written voting. if possible, we need your completed application in advance of the deadline to allow time to prepare the electronic materials.

  • Saturday, April 20 – applications available online and at customer service. Board members available during owner appreciation Days or via email for questions regarding board roles and responsibilities.

  • Monday, June 3, July 1, or August 5 – candidates required to attend one board meeting at 6 p.m.

  • Friday, August 16 – Application deadline. Application packets must be completed and received by this date. They are to be sent to Judy Dutton,, to be published.

  • Monday, September 2 – Date of record. (Owners as of this date can vote in the election and attend the Annual Owner Meeting.)

  • Monday, September 9 - Sunday, October 20 – Elections. Ballots accepted in-store and online.

  • Friday, November 1 – Annual Co-op Meeting with announcement of successful candidates.


Election results will be announced at the Annual Co-op Meeting on Friday, November 1, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. at the Cider Gallery and on the website thereafter.

Also on the Ballot

Also on the ballot, is an option to approve, by proxy, to amend the Corporation’s Articles of Incorporation to increase the numbers of shares the Corporation is authorized to issue. 

When your co-op was founded in 1974 and adopted our Articles of Incorporation, we were required to designate a cap on the number of shareholders or co-op owners. At that time, 10,000 owners seemed unimaginable.Yet today, 45 years later, we have surpassed 8,100 and gain more each day. As we look to expand into Kansas City, Kansas and invite more members of our regional community to join the co-op, we must vote to increase that cap.

According to Kansas law, cooperative businesses are required to gain approval by one-third of their shareholders in order to alter their Articles of Incorporation. For your co-op, this means that we must gain approval from over 2,700 owners. Your approval of the proxy is limited only to the question of whether to amend the Corporation’s Articles of Incorporation to increase the numbers of shares the Corporation is authorized to issue.

I hereby appoint and empower the acting Board President as proxy authorized to represent me with a limited power of substitution as set out in Section 3.7 of the Bylaws of The Community Mercantile, Inc.

This designation of proxy shall be effective immediately and shall continue in effect until terminated by a written notice delivered to the Corporation.

The Proxy shall have the full power, as the Stockholder’s substitute, to represent the Shareholder and vote the Stock limited only to the question of whether to amend the Corporation’s Articles of Incorporation to increase the number of shares the Corporation is authorized to issue. The Proxy shall have the authority to vote entirely in the discretion of the Proxy.


Contact the co-op at 785-843-8544 or


Dustin Brown

Dustin Brown, Board Incumbent

Dustin Brown, Board Incumbent

candidate statement

As an 19-year resident of Lawrence, KS I’m pretty sure Lawrence is in my blood now. I live in Old West Lawrence with my wonderful wife and two adorable kiddos ages 2 and 6. We are committed to making Lawrence our forever home and want to give back to the community that we love.

As a leader in the technology space I bring a diverse skill set to the table. I believe in building strong teams and empowering everyone in the organization to solve problems and be an advocate for change or to validate the status quo. As the son of a small business owner I’ve learned to appreciate local business and the true effect on the community that shopping local has.

I’ve spent my adult life as an avid hiker, climber, and conservationist. The importance of reducing our impact on the planet cannot be stressed enough. The Merc Coop and stores like it across the nation are often times the best first step for consumers to learn about what they can do for the environment and their community.

During my first term on the Merc Board I learned a tremendous amount about how we operate and what great things are in the Merc’s future. I look forward to helping the new KCK store be a beacon of hope for an underserved area. With the help of fellow board members we will shape the community into one that fights food inequality, celebrates diversity, and moves our entire region into the future.

Michael Knight

Michael Knight, Board Candidate

Michael Knight, Board Candidate


I am the lead College and Career Coordinator at Wyandotte High School within Kansas City Kansas Public Schools. In this role, I provide coaching and professional learning to teachers about college and career related access. In addition, I coordinate the work of external partners and special college & career related events at Wyandotte High School. Prior to that, I served as a classroom teacher at Northwest Middle School for 5 years. I have also held employment as a College Access Mentor at Wichita State University, supporting foster youth through high school and college for the last seven years. In each of these roles, I am responsible for collaborating with several stakeholders on a seamless post-secondary plan for youth and their guardians. In addition, I maintain relationships with college and career professionals and provide guidance about best practices for student recruitment and retention.

Previously, I held progressively responsible roles in higher education and for the non-profit sector. Most notably, I served as a recruitment officer in the Office of Admissions at Donnelly College. In this role, I was responsible for recruiting prospective students and monitoring recruitment goals and reporting to senior executive college leadership. This role afforded me the opportunity to help individuals from KCK obtain higher education and gain employment opportunities and improve the quality of lives for themselves and their beloved families.

As a prospective board member, I would bring strong ties to the community, effective communication and leadership skills. I have been a lifelong resident of Northeast KCK. My professional experiences have also been within the Northeast KCK boundaries as I have served as a student, teacher, volunteer, counselor, and coach at the local elementary, middle school, high school, and college.

It is my desire to serve on The Merc Co+op’s Board of Directors because this opportunity aligns with my personal and professional goals to become more civically involved within Northeast KCK. It would be my privilege to provide representation for the neighbors, students, and families that I work, live, and fellowship alongside daily. My educational background in business, education and leadership coupled with my commitment to the families of Northeast KCK make me uniquely qualified to serve in this role.

Dorri Rowan, Board Candidate

Dorri Rowan, Board Candidate

Dorri Rowan


Dorri is the Human Resources Business Partner for EXL Services in Lee’s Summit, Missouri.

Dorri received a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Business Administration from Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri and a Master of Arts Degree from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri. Dorri is a member of The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Dorri holds a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI) and is a Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) from the Society of Human Resource Management.

Dorri has over 25 years of progressive experience in all facets of Human Resources including manufacturing, consumer products, and telecommunication industries.

Dorri has served on the boards of the Eastern Jackson County Advisory Board for the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kansas City, Mattie Rhodes Board of Directors and Federal Employees Credit Union Supervisory Board.

I can bring my strong leadership, human resources and collaborative skills and experience to the board. I have a strong commitment in community and helping others to achieve. I have a passion for businesses and people make the most of their resources and talent and helping others reach their potential.

I want to serve on The Merc Co+op Board because I want to help it grow and become a staple in the Lawrence and Kansas City, Kansas areas. I care about the health of current and future members and especially children and their dietary needs. It would be an honor to serve the shareholders and leadership members to change the way community members look at wellness and health.

Deon Whitten

Deon Whitten, Board Candidate

Deon Whitten, Board Candidate


My name is Deon Whitten and I am a resident and native of Kansas City, KS, and I have dedicated my life to the growth and enrichment of my community. I feel my passion for the community as well as my business acumen makes me the perfect candidate for this open position.

Since I have lived in Kansas City, KS I have immersed myself in several different organizations and capacities. Currently, I teach at F.L. Schlagle High School through the non-profit organizations Jobs for America’s Graduates - Kansas (JAG-K). Through this program I teach corporate etiquette, life-skills, job readiness, and career development strategies to a selected group of 45 at-risk youth in a classroom setting. The goals of this program are achieved through formulation of community partnerships I establish, as well as inviting guest speakers from leaders of industry, college visits, a project-based learning curriculum, and community service projects. My sole objective in this role is to see my students actualize all of their potentialities. In addition to my job as Career Specialist through JAGK, I also coach football at Eisenhower Middle School as well as basketball and track at F.L. Schlagle. I also volunteer coach for the KCK Crimson Tide Football Organization where most of the kids that participate on our team live in the Gateway Housing community and whose families receive some level of government assistance. In the summer, I serve as Director of Kansas City Kansas Community College’s Kids on Campus 6 week summer sports and STEM camp.

All that is to say I am completely invested in the community. It is my quest to see Wyandotte County grow and thrive and I would be honored to serve on the board for The Merc Co+op. As a board member I bring a unique passion and vigor as well as insight to the wants and needs of the community. Being on the board would afford me the privilege to continue to affect positive change in Wyandotte County, particularly in the area of health. For too long, our residents in the inner city have not had access to healthy food options. I am extremely excited by the arrival of The Merc. As a KU graduate, and former Lawrence resident, I understand the value that the organization brings to the community. I hope you see my experience, sincerity and genuineness as an asset to your organization and select me to serve on your board.