Mark Sprackland, President/Executive Director

Mark Sprackland is a leader and veteran of the grocery retail and wholesale business with a 35-year track record of growing sales and profits for a range of retail and wholesale businesses throughout New England.

From 2007-2010 Mark served as Chairman of the Board of Northeast Wholesale Food Distribution Association (NEWFDA), the nation’s oldest food association providing a forum for industry research, education, professional development and exchange of best practices among all levels of the food industry.

A long-time champion of smaller businesses and independent retailers, Mark’s vision for the Independent Retailers Shared Services Cooperative includes a learning center focused on bringing these same values, lessons, hands on training and growth opportunities to local independents.

Rick Gowell, Chairman

Gowell’s Store, Inc., Litchfield

Rick Gowell’s belief that collaborating with other independent grocers leads to stronger businesses sparked the formation of the Independent Retailers Shared Services Cooperative. Throughout his high school years, when he wasn’t playing the drums, Rick enjoyed working in the family grocery store that was started by his dad and granddad in 1976. Later on when his dad needed help with operations and management it was only natural for Rick to lend a hand. In 2006 he and his wife Bobbi decided to purchase the store. Today, Gowell’s Store offers customers a convenient shopping experience with a full range of grocery products and fuel service. Plans for a new, larger grocery store are beginning to take shape. A volunteer firefighter and EMT since 1996, Rick takes community involvement and local support seriously. Off duty Rick and Bobbi enjoy spending time with their new grandchild. firefighter and EMT since 1996, Rick takes community involvement and local support seriously. Off duty Rick and Bobbi enjoy spending time with their new grandchild.

Susan Brown, Secretary/Treasurer

Susan Brown is an artist, writer, and web designer in Northern Maine who spent many years first as an art teacher, and then as a school counselor. She knows first-hand about food production, having been a part of a family-owned potato, vegetable, and strawberry farm and farm store. Sue is the website designer for MELNA.org and other sites, and is Communications Director and Social Media Manager for the Maine Landscape and Nursery Association. She is involved in Web site maintenance, newsletter production, and record keeping. Her interests include drawing and painting, jewelry design, gardening, and Eighteenth Century reenacting.

Andrew Danforth

Foxborough, MA. Andy is a financial consultant, specializing in social enterprise, cooperatives, alt energy and affordable housing. He has almost 40 years of diverse experience in real estate, lending, finance, M&A, and IT. He was founding Director of the Cooperative Development Institute’s NEROC Program, which assists manufactured housing cooperatives in the purchase and operation of their communities. He is co-founder and Managing Director of Circinus Group, which is a portfolio social lender and commercial conduit and provides financial and systemic consulting services to the international residential finance community. During his career, he has been an executive of two public companies, worked with 12 of the 20 largest US banks and Wall Street brokerages, served as a Liquidating Officer of the FDIC, and has assisted local lenders, government agencies, Indian tribes and regional non-profits. Internationally, he has worked on projects in Canada, Australia, the UK, and in several South Asian countries.