The NCA is moving into the future – I’ve even upgraded from my archaic BlackBerry to a new Android. [Ed. note: Finally!]
This week, we’re officially kicking off the new NCA website redesign. While the behind-the-scenes work won’t be visible to members for some time, our work will ultimately strengthen the Association and enable us to deliver even more value in today’s rapidly changing industry.
At the same time, on an ongoing basis we’re looking for opportunities to reach out to NCA members large and small, as well as to our allies.
Bruce Goldsmith (Baronet Coffee), current NCA Chair, joined me about two weeks ago for a visit to Toronto, where we met with our counterparts at the Coffee Association of Canada (CAC) to discuss opportunities for the NCA and CAC to work more closely together.
The NCA-CAC relationship is unique. We have overlapping members and issues; our respective markets and regulations are inextricably connected. At the same time, Canada and the U.S. remain separate countries with distinct cultures.
Our meetings were hosted at Mother Parkers (Sean Bredt of Mother Parkers serves both on the NCA Board and as Chair of the CAC). Afterwards, we got the chance to tour a portion of their excellent facility.
Then I went West, to attend the SCAA Convention in Seattle.
In Seattle I met with Ric Rhinehart of SCAA, to talk about our common agendas, and then with several NCA Board members, to discuss some exciting opportunities ahead. Juan Orduz, of the Colombian Coffee Federation, also introduced me to some new friends from COOPCAFER in Pereira.
There’s a lot of exciting energy in the coffee industry right now. A great example of that energy was on display at an NCA Next Generation event during SCAA at the Tap Room, where NCA members shared a couple of beers and games of pool. Everyone was still having a blast when I left at about 12:30am – and we owe our thanks to NCA member Joseph Masucci for volunteering to organize a terrific evening.
On the way back to our office in NYC, I made a personal stop in Denver to spend time with my son, who’s finishing up at the University of Denver. I took advantage of my time in the area to visit NCA member Dazbog Coffee — a gourmet roaster with about 30 coffee shops in the area. They showed me their interesting operation, and I got to appreciate their creative marketing. Whether you are sampling their “White Nights” blend or their KGBlend, there is no mistaking their passion and pride for coffee, all of which is served with a distinctive Russian flair. Anatoly and Leonid Yuffa, thank you for your hospitality, some great brainstorming about the NCA — and the wonderful espresso you served.
These types of conversations, experiences, and insights are crucial for keeping the NCA abreast of emerging trends.
Meanwhile, we’re currently kicking off two foundational projects. As mentioned earlier, we’ve retained Bean Creative to undertake a complete overhaul of our site, which will include developing proper mobile functionality.
We’ve also started the process of replacing our IT backbone – the association management system, or AMS. It may not sound glamorous, but our new AMS platform will exponentially increase our efficiency and serve as the basis for the new website that Bean is building. To put it simply, when you interact with NCA — such as by registering for an event on our website — the underlying AMS processes the transaction and links it to your membership record.
In the meantime, the NCA is working for you — current projects include:
- Planning Coffee Summit 2015 for the end of October in Austin
- Following the Prop 65 litigation
- Posting the presentations from last month’s NCA Convention, which you can download whether or not you attended
- Preparing for our next NCA Board meeting in June
Keep an eye out for our Coffee Reporter Weekly, in your inbox every Friday, for news on these developments and others.
And thank you to our members, our allies, and our hosts, for making our work possible – or, as our friends at Dazbog would say, “spasibo.”