Honoring those who contribute their expertise to the coffee industry, the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) has announced the recipients of its 2014 Recognition Awards. Each year, SCAA honors outstanding achievements in the specialty coffee industry and unique contributions to the association. These leaders have made contributions to the industry, resulting in the development and promotion of coffee excellence and sustainability. The SCAA’s Recognition Awards are selected by a panel from the SCAA Past President’s Council, with the exception of the Sustainability Award, which is selected by SCAA’s Sustainability Council. The 2014 Recognition Award Winners are:
Lifetime Achievement – Robert Stiller
Bob Stiller founded Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. in 1981 and served as its President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board until 2007. He remained as Chairman until 2013 when he retired from the board. Under Bob’s leadership, Green Mountain made a tremendous contribution to corporate social responsibility giving 5% of its pretax profits yearly to fund charitable projects and being listed as number one for social responsibility in 2006 and 2007. The company was also recognized many times as a best place to work and for its financial success, and Bob received the Entrepreneur of the Year award from Forbes, among other personal awards.
Bob always fostered and allowed the company’s actions to be guided by employee initiative, and this led to employees being truly engaged in the success of the organization. At one time 20% of the organization’s employees traveled to coffee communities to understand first hand their impact to the world. At Green Mountain, Bob showed how a dedication to the employees, customers, consumers, supply-chain providers and other stakeholders could create a beneficial business model that results not only in profits – which were shared throughout the organization – but also in a passion for making the world a better place.
Bob’s advocacy of Fair Trade has led Green Mountain to being the world’s biggest supplier of Fair Trade coffee. He is also a proponent of Appreciative Inquiry for focusing on what works with engagement and solutions, and he has proven again and again that inclusive corporate culture is a business model that works.
As an outgrowth of Bob’s life experiences, the Stiller Family Foundation announced a major grant in 2012 to provide funding for the creation of the Robert P. Stiller School of Business at Champlain College in Vermont and the establishment of a permanent endowment to promote programs positive psychology-based business and community management approaches. For this and other work, the foundation received the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ 2013 Award for “Outstanding Foundation.”
Alfred Peet Passionate Cup – Sunalini Menon
Sunalini Menon is a postgraduate in Food Technology from the University of Madras, India. She worked at the Coffee Board of India, a Government of India Organization, from 1972 until 1995, holding positions of increasing responsibility and ultimately becoming the Director of Quality Control.
In 1993, she established her own company, Coffeelab Limited, in Bangalore, India. Coffeelab is the first of it’s kind to be established in the private sector and provides comprehensive quality related services for the Indian Coffee industry. The lab is managed by women, who handle sensitive and critical steps in quality evaluation, such as green coffee evaluation, roasting and tasting.
Sunalini has more than 35 years of experience in the coffee industry both within India and internationally. She is directly associated with quality and quality-related aspects of domestic and international coffee and has been promoting the concept of Quality in coffee over many years, making presentations and conducting workshops on the subject in International Conferences conducted all over the world. She has visited a large number of coffee producing and consuming origins, which has helped in developing her visual and organoleptic skills in coffee evaluation. Her skill in quality evaluation is respected and recognized the world over, with many producing and consuming origins seeking her expertise for an independent quality evaluation of their coffees. She is not only considered as one of Asia’s recognized coffee cuppers, but is also invited by coffee origins to conduct cupping workshops; to educate coffee entrepreneurs and enthusiasts on the finer nuances in the coffee cup.
Sunalini is the “Quality Ombudsman” of the Speciality Coffee Association of India. She is a Coffee Corps Volunteer of the CQI and has carried out technical training assignments on quality in Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda. Sunalini is also a Licensed Q & R grader. Sunalini has many awards to her credit:
• In 2002, she was awarded the “People of the Year Award by the Tea & Coffee Trade Journal USA, for her contribution to the Indian Coffee Industry.
• In January 2005, she was awarded the “Eminent Personality Award for Outstanding contribution to Indian Coffee” by the Speciality Coffee Association of India.
• In April 2005, Sunalini received the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the International Women’s Coffee Alliance Founding Committee. She was recognized for her numerous achievements throughout her career.
• In May 2006, her lab ‘Coffeelab’ was awarded the “Hidden Treasure Award” by the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe, for that unrecognized Treasure that has done more than its fair share of promoting quality coffee.
• In April 2010, Sunalini was awarded the ‘Leadership Medal of Merit’ by the Specialty Coffee Association of America in Anaheim, C.A., for her invaluable contributions to the world coffee industry and her unrelenting efforts to quality, training and mentoring.
Trevor is CEO and co-founder of Madcap Coffee Company and currently lives in the Washington, DC area heading up Madcap’s expansion project. He is also currently serving as the Chair of the Barista Guild of America, is a SCAA Specialized instructor, a subject matter expert in espresso for the SCAA, and an editorial advisor for Barista Magazine. Trevor has also been competing in barista competitions for a number of years having finished in the top 6 in a regional consecutively for the last 6 years. In 2011 he finished 4th and most recently 3rd in the United States Barista Championship. When not making coffee he can be found doing Lego construction with his wife and three daughters.
Sustainability Award – Congo Coffee Revival: Regenerating Communities by Linking Remote Farmers to Mainstream Markets
For this project, Twin, a UK-based ethical trading organization, set out to engage new producers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and help them access value-added markets for the first time. Twin’s first partnership was with Sopacdi, a coffee cooperative in this region, which had 284 members and was in need of support, capacity building and access to international markets. Since 2008 Twin has worked to build production and export capacity for this cooperative, including coffee farm rehabilitation, processing infrastructure, and business and governance capacity. Today, the cooperative has 5,200 members, including 1,450 women, and has constructed the country’s first modern coffee washing station in 40 years.
Twin also partnered with the UK supermarket, Sainsbury’s, and the roaster Finlays under a Food Retail Industry Challenge Fund (FRICH), funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) and Comic Relief in 2009. The collaboration sought to bring together a wealth of industry expertise to support marginalized producers with training and new facilities to improve quality, as well as provide access to mainstream markets and product development. In 2011, Sainsbury’s successfully launched a DRC and Malawi blend that included Sopacdi’s coffee. For more information on this project, visit twin.org.uk.