With each new year comes eager anticipation for NCA’s annual convention. This year, the Association heads to San Francisco for its 102nd annual meeting. To many, it’s the coffee’s industry’s premier meeting, where senior executives interact with coffee professionals from every industry segment and all corners of the global supply chain.
Like NCA itself, the convention is unique in its embrace of the entire coffee community – traditional and specialty, roaster and retailer, barista and importer, cause-coffee certifier and equipment manufacturer, producer and packager, and more. While NCA membership accounts for over 90% of U.S. coffee commerce, a majority of members are small and mid-sized companies.
The NCA convention is where the coffee community connects. Top executives are on hand to network with attendees from companies, large and small, that provide products and services of all types to the industry. A table-top exhibit brings entrepreneurs into direct contact with senior managers who hold decision-making and purchasing authority. A curriculum of educational sessions, led by the industry’s top thought leaders, gives attendees the competitive edge that only real-time, top-flight knowledge can deliver.
This year, NCA is also adding new dimensions to that emblematic educational program. For the first time, the convention will offer a pre-meeting scientific and legal symposium. The pre-meeting event, Coffee at the Crossroads of Law and Science, is designed to equip attendees with the knowledge they need to meet science-based legal and regulatory challenges that are ramping up as a significant challenge to business as usual. Gary Kushner, Esq. of Hogan & Lovells in Washington DC will be the moderator, and members of the National Coffee Association’s Scientific Affairs Committee will be among the presenters. Later in the Convention program, Committee members will speak in a general session entitled “Busting Popular Myths about Coffee.”
NCA is also hosting the annual International Women’s Coffee Association (IWCA) luncheon. The group’s mission is to “empower women in the international coffee community to achieve meaningful and sustainable lives and to encourage and recognize the participation of women in all aspects of the coffee industry. Delivering the luncheon address will be American philanthropist, actress and singer Grace Hightower De Niro, who says of her efforts on the Grace Hightower & Coffees of Rwanda website: “Inspired by the spirit of the Rwandan people, I have created these coffees as a way to celebrate and support the coffee farmers of Rwanda. Through direct sourcing, fair trade, ethical practices and environmental stewardship, our dedication to the coffee farmers of Rwanda will allow them to create a sustainable business that can be passed from one generation to the next.”
- Other Sessions
Additional speakers and topical sessions scheduled for the NCA convention include:
- Michelle Stacy, President, Keurig, Inc., opening with a General Session address
- G. Scott Clemons, Chief Investment Strategist, Wealth Management, Brown Brothers Harriman, presenting his popular and highly-rated annual economic update
- Fernando Vega, Ph.D., U.S. Department of Agriculture, covering the history of coffee and the danger of the coffee berry borer to the coffee industry worldwide
- Susie Spindler, Executive Director, Cup of Excellence, offering a coffee tasting of Honduran coffees designed for both beginning and more advanced cuppers
- Oscar Schaps, Managing Director, INTL FCStone, and Kellee James, founder of Mercaris Co., presenting the findings of the Coffee Futures Working Group, an NCA task force looking into the merits of developing an additional contract to manage differential risk
- Dr. Tim Schilling, Executive Director, World Coffee Research, the research and development program funded by the global coffee industry and managed by the Borlaug Institute at Texas A&M University, and Carlos Brando, Director and Partner of Coffee Consulting, P&A International Marketing, on international approaches to sustainability
- Paul Rice, President, Fair Trade USA, Melanie Rutten-Suelz, Executive Director, 4C Association, and Robert Waggwa Nsibirwa, Chairman, 4C Association, on their organizations’ certification programs
- Other topical sessions covering the Food Safety Modernization Act, the NCA’s 2013 Consumption Promotion Campaign, Proposition 65, How to Develop a Digital Strategy, Climate Change and Adaptation, and new NCA market research for 2013
- Additional sessions to be announced.
The 2013 NCA Convention takes place on March 21-23 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. Registration is now open. Accommodations at the special event rate are available at the Palace Hotel by calling 888-627-7196 or 415-512-1111 and mentioning the National Coffee Association or NCA.