Let us introduce you to those who are working hard behind the scenes to ensure the quality and sustainability of specialty coffee around the world
Head of Coffee Buyer for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Bolger travels extensively in the coffee-producing world, working to build relationships with farmers and supporting sustainable farming practices. Her duties include overseeing coffee sourcing, new product development, and coffee quality assurance.
Bolger often server on the international coffee judging circuit and her work with coffee dates back to her college years when she worked part-time for Batdorf and Bronson Coffee Roasters.
Brett Smith is the co-founder and President of Counter Culture Coffee of Durham, North Carolina. Founded in 1995, Counter Culture Coffee is a different kind of coffee company. Dedicated to finding and bringing to market the most exciting, authentic, and delicious coffees in the world, Counter Culture Coffee approaches their work with a passion for the ideal of coffee perfection, a dedication to real sustainability, and a commitment to cutting-edge education throughout the coffee chain. Brett also serves as a director for SouthWings; a non-profit promoting environmental conservation through aviation.
Shawn Hamilton is the Vice-President of Operations and Coffee Buyer for Java City, located in Sacramento, California. Since 1985, Java City has pioneered initiatives designed to enhance the global village, support the communities and protect the environment. Shawn has been involved in the Specialty Coffee industry since 1987. During his tenure he has worked in almost every facet of the industry from Barista, packaging, roasting, quality control, coffee buying, purchasing, futures and options hedging to executive management. He was instrumental in several mergers and acquisitions within the industry. His experience also includes a proven dedication to the industry and volunteering. Shawn has been a volunteer in Colombia to teach and evaluate cuppers for Coffee Corps, participates as a lead judge in the annual Cupping for Quality for the Rainforest Alliance, and has been a judge for Cup of Excellence. In addition, he is one of the founding members of the Roasters Guild and served for six years on the Executive Council. While on the Executive Council, Shawn served as Chairman and was instrumental in the creation of the overall structure of the Guild. He has also served on the Board of the Pacific Coast Coffee Association.
Ric Rhinehart is currently serving as the Executive Director of the Specialty Coffee Association of America. Prior to taking on this position he was the President of a Los Angeles, California based roaster and retailer. Mr. Rhinehart has over the past twenty years held executive positions in several coffee & tea firms. Mr. Rhinehart has designed, developed, and produced a wide range of both tea and coffee products and is co-author of Tea Basics a primer on premium tea, published by John Wiley & Sons in 1998. Mr. Rhinehart is a frequent presenter and panelist on industry issues and trends at trade shows and symposiums. He has served as a Director and Vice President for the Specialty Coffee Association of America, as a Director for Coffee Kids, the Coffee Quality Institute and he was a founding member of the American Premium Tea Institute, where he served on the Board of Directors and as President.
Tracy Ging is the Director of Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility for S&D Coffee and Tea, Inc. Her responsibilities span sustainable supply chain development, environmental efficiency in operations and distribution, workplace performance, and community affairs—weaving sustainability into core business strategies.
With nearly twenty years of experience in the food & beverage industry, Tracy has spent the majority of her career in coffee in a variety of roles throughout its value chain. She is deeply and personally committed to making sure coffee drinkers enjoy their favorite beverages with the confidence of responsible sourcing practices.
She holds a M.A. in Communication and Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University and a B.S. in Business from Indiana University. In addition, she has completed executive education at Stanford University in strategic marketing.
Mr. Kevin Jackson
The J.M. Smucker Company
Mr. Nigel Hargraves
Value Chain & Industrial Engineering Director – Mars Drinks
Currently engaged in assessing upstream integration potential; working closely on new product development and deployment and managing global capital and capacity considerations.
Furio Suggi Liverani is director of illycaffè Research, member of illycaffè strategic board and past President of Biosensor Technologies (an Area Science Park biotech company).He has contributed to several projects of industrial and laboratory organization and to the development of illycaffè operation information system. He has developed technologies and innovative products such as an electronic coffee sorting machine. In 1993 he introduced the use of Internet and multimedia to the company, actualising in 1996 the web site www.illy.com . In 1998 he founded, on behalf of illycaffè, AromaLab, a laboratory focused to the study of coffee chemistry, located in the Area Science Park of Trieste. Currently he is board member of Qualicaf, president of coffee department of Trieste Industrial Association, member of scientific committee of ASIC (International Association for Coffee Science) and member of the “ Italian Congress of Artificial Intelligence” committee.
Mr. Steve Macatonia
Union Hand-Roasted Coffee
C0-founder and co-director of Union Hand-Roasted Coffee, Macatonia is passionate about enjoying coffee. He has actively looked for family farms and small holder co-operatives to supply exceptional Arabica coffee beans, and has also served as an experienced jury member for cupping events.
Ben Pitts is the Vice President of Food Service and Hospitality for Royal Cup Coffee. Royal Cup Coffee was founded in Birmingham, Alabama in 1896 and over the past 100 years, Royal Cup has grown from its small, hometown roots to become a major importer, roaster and distributor of premium coffees and teas. Serving customers in the food service, office and specialty coffee markets, Royal Cup now reaches markets throughout the United States, into Mexico and the Caribbean. Ben has been with Royal Cup Coffee for 22 years. He is originally from Clinton, South Carolina, and has three daughters and a son, who is the oldest and a senior at Auburn.
Matt Saurage is Chairman of the Board and the fourth generation in the largest family-owned coffee brand in America. Saurage believes in coffee research, particularly that which focuses on origin and agriculture, and is pleased to be part of a research program that allows information to be shared broadly and freely within the coffee industry.
Christy Thorns is a coffee-buyer for Allegro Coffee. She works directly with coffee farms to source the beans for Allegro’s organic single origin and blended coffees.
Thorns appreciates all the great growing regions of the world and diverse aromatic experiences, but her true loves are the washed coffees of Ethiopia and Kenya. If flavors of apricot or blackcurrant are in her cup, she says she is a happy woman.
EX-OFFICIO MEMBERSDr. Vincent Pétiard WCR Technical Advisory Committee Chairman
Mr. Murray Ross
Paragon Coffee Trading
Murray Ross started his career in the coffee industry in 1986 with a major national coffee roaster. His roles there grew to include managing private label packaging, marketing, coffee and tea brand product development, and finally as a corporate Director of National Accounts. He left to take over as Vice President and General Manager of a major national ready-to-drink tea manufacturer and distributor with responsibilities covering commodity purchasing, manufacturing, quality control, sales all and distribution He is currently working as a trading executive for Paragon Coffee Trading Co. LP of White Plains, NY, founded in 1986 and one of the foremost coffee importing and trading houses in the US. He is also an investor/partner in an emerging national restaurant chain with locations in numerous states. He resides full time in Birmingham, AL.
FORMER BOARD MEMBERS
Former WCR Board Chairman Tillamook Patrick Criteser is the former WCR Board Chairman, Co-CEO of Farmer Brothers Company and President and CEO of Coffee Bean International. Founded in San Francisco in 1912 by a door-to-door coffee salesman, Farmer Brothers is a leading, nation-wide manufacturer, wholesaler and distributor of coffee, tea and culinary products. Coffee Bean International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Farmer Brothers, was founded in 1972 as a tiny storefront operation, and is now one of the largest and most respected specialty coffee roasters in the nation. Coffee Bean International was acquired by Farmer Brothers in 2007. Patrick joined Coffee Bean International in 2004 and was named Co-CEO of Farmer Brothers in 2011. Prior to joining Farmer Brothers and Coffee Bean International, he held positions in manufacturing management, strategic planning, and marketing with Procter & Gamble, Disney and Nike. He was also a principal at SmartForest Ventures, where he invested in, and served on the board of, multiple early-stage start-up companies.