The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) has released the official slate of candidates for the 2014 Board of Directors Elections and members should review candidate profiles below prior to voting. Voting will open February 19, 2014; ballots will be distributed through email to all eligible voting members. Voters must be the primary contact for a current SCAA member company. All members are encouraged to take the time to contribute to the governance of the association and cast a ballot.
The voting deadline will be March 22, 2014 at 5pm PST. Only one vote per company may be cast. Associate and Individual members are not eligible to vote.
Nominees for 2nd Vice President
Nominated by SCAA Nominating Committee and its Board of Directors: Ben Pitts
Ben Pitts began his involvement with the Specialty Coffee Association of America community in 1997, when he attended his first SCAA show. Since then, he’s been a dedicated and passionate leader in a variety of projects supporting the specialty coffee community. Ben was a founding member and funder of World Coffee Research, a pioneering global effort to fund scientific research in specialty coffee, and played a key role in recruiting other funders and constructing its governance structure. As a member of the SCAA board, and especially during his role as Secretary Treasurer, he has overseen a dramatic increase in new programs and financial stability of the organization. He has represented the SCAA on a specialty coffee mission to China, advocating best practices and directing a new cupping competition there.
Ben is an SCAA certified gold cup technician, a certified Espresso Italiano taster (Assaggiatore), and an experienced cupping judge. He sits on the board of the Culinard Culinary Institute, and is an active supporter of the James Beard Foundation and the Southern Foodways Alliance. He has served his community as chair of the United Way of Central Alabama’s Pacesetter Campaign, and is past president of Camp Fire USA, a youth development organization. In his work life, Ben is Vice President of FoodService & Hospitality at Royal Cup Coffee. He led the establishment of H.C Valentine, an artisan microroaster, and also heads up Royal Cup’s innovation strategy team. He was named a company officer and appointed to the executive committee, on which he has served since 1998.
Ben has been a driving force in the SCAA’s campaign on the global stage, pushing the organization to explore new frontiers of scientific research, international diplomacy, and universal advocacy of Specialty Coffee. He seeks to become 2nd Vice President in 2014, and therefore President in 2016, to ensure the future of this campaign – to bring Specialty Coffee to the world. In addition, he has a unique, personal vision of bringing the Specialty Coffee community and the Culinary community closer together. His deep background in both fields- as an experienced board member in both the coffee world and the culinary world- makes that a possibility for the first time in the history of the Specialty Coffee Association.
Nominated by Petition: Marty Curtis
Marty G. Curtis is the founder and owner of Combustion Systems Sales & Service Inc., a company specializing in roaster rebuilding and performance enhancement as well as afterburner design and fabrication for over 36 years. He is considered to be an industry authority on these matters with a client list that includes the most prominent companies in the specialty coffee industry. He has designed computer systems for cupping and data logging with complete tracking of the coffee from seed to consumer. He also is a co-owner in RoZark Hills Coffee Roasterie with his wife Rita Fox, and parents. He is on the Board of Directors for Hines Public Market, Coffee Canada, Ltd., Origins Organic Coffee, and Vancouver Coffee Academy. Spent two terms as Board of Director for the SCAA.
He is also a member of the SCAA’s Standards Committee, a Licensed Q-Grader, a Certified Q-Instructor, and SCAA Certified Instructor. Also acted as Head Cupping Judge for several TOH. Marty has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Accounting and Business Administration with an Associate’s Degree in Electrical Engineering. He is a licensed General Contractor, Licensed mechanic and UL approved shop with UL listings # E 181 336 95CA01064 = Ind Control Panels, E 181 337 95CA01643 = Flame Control. He has attended various classes in Combustion, Burners, EPA Regulations and Flame safety. He has also taught many classes on roasting, equipment maintenance, afterburners, pollution control, green grading and cupping to name a few.
Marty is a Vietnam Veteran who spent five-and-one-half years with the United States Air Force. In the USAF he specialized in Electronics and was a Quality Control Inspector and then a Senior Quality Control Inspector until he was given a Honorable Discharge in 1977.
Nominees for Director
Aida Batlle is a fifth generation coffee producer operating her family’s three farms—Finca Los Alpes, Finca Kilamanjaro, and Finca Mauritania—in the Santa Ana region of El Salvador. In 2003, Aida entered her first Cup of Excellence competition and won with Kilamanjaro; Los Alpes placed 16th. Coffees from the Batlle family farms, as well as Finca Tanzania, which Aida personally owns, and the farms under the Aida Batlle Selection (ABS) certification, have been showcased by national barista champions from Greece, South Korea, and the United States, among others, at WBC events over the years.
Juan Luis is a third generation coffee farmer from Guatemala. He grew up in both Guatemala and the United States, and now manages the family farms, Finca La Merced and Retiro de Quisaya. Earlier this year, Juan Luis constructed a mill on the Retiro farm to process the coffee cherries. Juan Luis has served on the board of Anacafé, the national association for specialty coffee in Guatemala.
Rachel Peterson is director of sales and marketing at Hacienda La Esmeralda, a family owned coffee farm located in Boquete, Panama, where she works together with her brother Daniel and her father Price.
Raised in Panama, Rachel is a past president of the Specialty Coffee Association of Panama.
Chad has worked in the specialty coffee industry for more than 20 years. During much of that time he led the coffee program at Caribou Coffee and worked to improve coffee quality standards for the brand while ensuring mutually beneficial relationships throughout the supply chain. Chad champions responsible sourcing practices and in 2003, Caribou made a commitment to source an ever-increasing portion of coffees from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms. By the end of 2011, 100% of the company’s coffee was certified—nearly 20 million pounds. Chad led efforts transitioning existing origin partners and suppliers through the certification process to truly transform their operations instead of simply abandoning long-term relationships in favor of certified sources. Today he engages in consulting work with a focus on work that helps to articulate the challenges of our industry and highlights innovative and business saavy ways for us to respond responsibly. In addition to his consulting role for the industry, Chad is on the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s board of directors and serves as the board liaison to the Sustainability Council; a group dedicated to ensuring the specialty coffee industry stays on the leading edge of sustainable practices and discussions.
This year, we are pleased to welcome Shawn Hamilton of Java City to the position of SCAA President and Tracy Allen of Brewed Behavior to the position of 1st Vice President, and current President Paul Thornton of Coffee Bean International will move into the role of Immediate Past President.
The Board of Directors consists of thirteen Directors, including five officers. The officers of the Association are the President, 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President, Secretary/Treasurer and the Immediate Past President. Directors and officers are elected by the SCAA voting membership, except that the 1st Vice President automatically succeeds to the Presidency and the 2nd Vice President automatically succeeds to the 1st Vice Presidency at the end of their terms.
The President, 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President, and Immediate Past President shall serve in each of those offices for terms of one year. The Secretary/Treasurer will serve in that office for a term of three years. All Directors are elected to serve terms of two years, except that those Directors who are also officers will continue to serve as Directors while they serve their terms in their respective offices. Terms for SCAA Directors will begin on May 1, 2014. For more information about the voting process, please visit the SCAA Bylaws.
Update: March 24, 2014
Due to a programming error, voting automatically and unintentionally closed one hour earlier than planned. The two candidates in the 2nd Vice Presidential election, Marty Curtis and Ben Pitts, in collaboration with current SCAA President Paul Thornton, have agreed that since the election ran over 30 days, the error would not have affected the outcome and will accept the vote count up to that time. We know that the ultimate outcome will reflect the desires of the voting membership.