• Candidate Statement

    Tahoe Donner Association 2018 Board Director Election Candidate Statement

    Member Value – Member Enjoyment – Member Input
    My wife, Denise, and I have owned a home at Tahoe Donner for nearly 12 years. We first experienced Tahoe Donner in a holiday rental, and only dreamed we would one day be owners. When it came time to buy, one look at Tahoe Donner again, with its welcoming, family feel and wonderful amenities, convinced us that nothing else compared.

    Today, like 85% of you, we’re second home-owners, spending about four months a year on-hill. My son was a full-time resident while attending UNR, and now it’s a joy to spend time here with my daughter’s family, including our three grandchildren. TD Downhill Ski has truly been “The Best Place to Begin,” and Tahoe Donner is, for us, “The Place Where Memories Begin.” Ultimately, when the time comes to retire, this will be our fulltime home. You might say I have a 360 perspective on all things Tahoe Donner.

    We bought here for the totality of amenities in natural surroundings. We can relax on our deck, enjoy the open space, get-out on the trails or workout at Trout Creek.

    Tahoe Donner is at a critical juncture. Consistent with the times, we are a vibrant, changing and growing community. Like you, I want to enjoy Tahoe Donner every bit as much today as when we first bought.

    Tahoe Donner facilities must be well maintained, well suited to member needs, and we must deliver excellent service, protect our natural surroundings, and put member value and enjoyment first. That means, in short, responsibly delivering on the promise of Tahoe Donner’s Vision Statement:

    Tahoe Donner is a vibrant and desirable mountain community, providing attractive and well-maintained facilities, events, programs and leading customer service to its members, guests and public, all while maintaining accessible and healthy natural surroundings.

    Involved – Effective – Ready

    Involved: After 10 years of quietly enjoying Tahoe Donner, my holiday weekend enjoyment was interrupted by non-member congestion. Being action-oriented, I complained… AND I asked how I could be part of the solution. I was pointed to the General Plan Committee (GPC). I started attending meetings. I volunteered for GPC Task Forces. Now, I am a full member of the GPC and serve as the GPC liaison to the Tahoe Donner Finance Committee. I regularly attend Board meetings. I’ve invested the time and energy necessary to know how Tahoe Donner works.

    Effective: My first action as a GPC Task Force member was to enhance member input by bringing FlashVote to Tahoe Donner. At Board meetings, I regularly comment, pointing to practical resolutions and responsible actions. Case in point: this winter, using my knowledge of the Davis-Sterling Act (CA law governing home owners associations), I stood up for our outstanding fire prevention program, to prompt the Board to reverse its decision to compromise a key part of this vital safety program. I get things done.

    Ready: I also bring over 20 years’ service on other HOA Boards, including roles as President and Treasurer, overseeing reserves and investments. I’ve been President of a large, accredited, Chamber of Commerce – a member organization, and City Commissioner, providing insight for working with local government. In business, I have executive-level experience in operations, marketing, customer service and professional services. I’ve made and implemented highly effective product and pricing decisions, and excel in tying together strategy, operations and finance, including the hospitality industry. I have the skills and experience to be an effective Tahoe Donner Board member, now.

    Here’s what you can expect from me, in service to you on the Tahoe Donner Board:

    Member Value: I pledge to maximize value to our members: home values, value of services and amenities, and the intrinsic value of enjoyment. Members first. This includes members’ families and guests.

    Public access is a “hot topic” this election. My position: (1) Public access must not impede member enjoyment. (2) Priority on pricing and access, in this order: Members, Member-accompanied-guests, unaccompanied guests (aka, transferable guest cards), and lastly, public. (3) Pricing strategies, such as surge pricing, should be imposed to control public use while still bringing in premium public revenue that supplements member assessments. When surge pricing fails, then public access must be curtailed, with increased surge pricing to the public in the next round.

    It is also my position that public exposure helps our home values. I will always recall overhearing a wedding guest, who, having played golf, enjoyed the wedding venue, and eaten brunch at The Lodge, commented, “This place is great. I’m going to call a realtor.” It’s all about balance.

    Member Enjoyment: You deserve to enjoy the amenities that you bought into. Members have repeatedly stated that they want to see the Board attend to our current amenities in priority over adding new ones. For you, your family, and your guests, to enjoy the amenities, they must be in good condition, safe, sized right for contemporary buildout, and configured for contemporary use.

    I pledge to do everything in my power to ensure you have ready access to well-run, responsibly-maintained amenities, and that you can enjoy your Tahoe Donner home in peace, in a safe community, and in natural surroundings. In the end, it’s all about people.

    Member Input: Your voice counts, and it should be easy to express your concerns and ideas. That’s why I introduced FlashVote. I will continue to look for innovative and effective ways for members to have a voice, whether you are on-hill or off-hill. Most importantly, I will listen – to everyone. I welcome and respect all perspectives. That is the only way we can maintain balance for the totality of Tahoe Donner.

    If you want to get involved, whether providing input or actively serving on task forces and committees, I am committed to making it easy to participate. For second home owners, this can be a challenge. I’ve used technology to service clients remotely around the globe. We can further improve two-way communications here, so remote participants can be active participants. And we can do more to get input early in the process when ideas are being formed and input has the most impact. It’s all about actually listening.

    I am proud to have the backing of many people I work with directly on Tahoe Donner task forces and committees, plus several past Board members and past presidents who have remained active. They see me at work. I value their endorsements. I offer this as validation of my commitment and ability to make a difference.

    “I would favor any candidate who has recent Board or TD committee experience, is reasonable and open minded, is thoughtful and takes the time to be knowledgeable before speaking, and who will represent the best interests of the majority of TD members. For this reason, I will be voting for Don Koenes.”
    — Michael Sullivan, skier, golfer, hiker, and Chair, General Plan Committee

    Please let me know what is important to you this election. Drop me a line with your ideas, input or questions: email Don Koenes at

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