BGA Elections | Executive Council & Chapter Representative Elections Now Open


(Only current Barista Guild of America Members may vote in this election)



Executive Council Candidates
(3 positions open for BGA Executive Council)

Jesse Bladyka, Maglianero, Burlington, VT

How are you involved with Coffee? How does this role fit into the BGA? I am working to open a shop in Burlington, VT, with the hopes of introducing the city to a new level of Specialty Coffee. After a brief foray in wholesale and roasting, I am recommiting to my roots as a Barista, with the goal of bringing a new level of professionalism and respect to the position both within the industry and from the outside. I have participated in barista competitions including USBC '09 and '10, and plan to begin judging at a regional level this year. I also attended the first annual BGA Retreat, and was absolutely thrilled with the level of enthusiasm and momentum of the organization. I have been a barista for my entire adult life, and since being introduced to the national network associated with the SCAA/BGA, I approach my goal of elevating the quality of coffee preparation with a little more vigor.

Why might you be considered leadership material? I was on Student Council in middle school... I take the position of Barista very seriously and I have spent a lot of time working to communicate the craft to new baristas, as well as to the coffee loving community. I have management experience, and genuinely love human interaction. I think the core values of leadership are expressed in the example that you choose to set. If elected, I will lead a positive attitude, focused on progress and the evolution of our industry and our vision as a guild.

What are some accomplishments you would like to see happen in the future of the BGA and/or SCAA? I am very excited about the BGA certifications. I think it's an extremely valuable resource to the nationwide community and I would like to see it expanded and refined. I would also like to see annual revisions to each level, in order to prevent any sort of complacency with the basics (let's remember how we did things just a few years ago). Also, I would like to see more participation from members, not necessarily just at events, but encouraging online dialogue, perhaps establishing a forum, or a network of blogs. I would also like to see more done to "close the circle" between barista and origin. This could include hosting barista trainings for producers, creating an accessible network of origin trips and fundraising ideas for baristas to make their own trip happen. Finally I would like to see the BGA take a role in the GCQRI. I think that this is a great moment in our industry and I would like to see the BGA take advantage of the opportunity in front of us. There may be opportunities to participate in field research, or to contribute to organizational efforts. This cause is something that will greatly further our knowledge of the craft that we practice, as well as increasing the quality of our product.

David Buehrer, Greenway Coffee Co, Houston, TX

How are you involved with Coffee?
How does this role fit into the BGA? I am a Barista owner/operator of Greenway Coffee & Tea in Houston, TX. My girlfriend and I just began roasting coffee (she has caught a liking to the roasting aspect of our business) and we are looking to expand to another location this year. The SCAA and Barista Guild have been a huge inspiration and motivation for us to help the burgeoning Houston coffee scene. I would love to give back to the larger community as much as I can, and being an Executive Council member fits into this theology. I also sit on the SCAA Events council as we try to build awareness in the culinary world!

Why might you be considered leadership material? I am here to build communities. I would be honored to support the Barista Guild by bringing my networking and communication abilities and making them available to the barista community nationwide. For example, I have traveled to numerous coffee centric cities, communicating with as many baristas as I can to further my understanding of what it means to be a barista. I would love to continue campaigning the good cause of increasing awareness of specialty coffee and how it interacts with local communities!

What are some accomplishments you would like to see happen in the future of the BGA and/or SCAA? Some accomplishments I would love to be a part of is the increased growth of the SCAA, and in particular the Barista Guild of America. I believe the Barista Guild has the biggest opportunity to give back to it's members based on the special rate given to baristas, as well as educational opportunities utilizing social media and the internet. I would also love to be a part of introducing an education packet that gets mailed directly to all Barista Guild members, almost like a Continuing Education Guidebook gets sent out to Electrical Engineers annually.

Noah Namowicz, Cafe Imports, St. Paul, MN

How are you involved with Coffee? How does this role fit into the BGA? I am at Cafe Imports, a coffee importer in Saint Paul Minnesota, and I work closely with roasters and baristas on a daily basis. My job is to help convey how specific coffees and flavor profiles fit with what a specific roaster or shop is looking to accomplish with their coffee. I love what I do, and through my experience thus far with the BGA, I believe I bring a unique perspective to the BGA coming from a company that works intimately at origin discovering, developing, and importing coffees. Cafe Imports has built an office culture that is extremely supportive of the BGA, and this year developed a new program to give more baristas the opportunity to travel to origin and delve deeper into their seed to cup coffee education. My goal is to continue to build that seed to cup educational component to the BGA through my involvement.

Why might you be considered leadership material? As noted above, building the new origin trip sponsorship category with Marcus this year is a great example of me spearheading a project and building it to fruition with fellow BGA members. I believe that I am the type of person that can work well with others to envision new and exciting projects within the BGA and have the follow through to make sure they are implemented in the best possible way.

What are some accomplishments you would like to see happen in the future of the BGA and/or SCAA? I would love to contribute more hands on educational components to the BGA and SCAA. The BGA and the SCAA already have a proven track record of offering amazing classes to their members, and I feel like this year we can take that a step further and offer on the ground workshops at origin for BGA members. With the use of sponsorship and existing relationships at origin, I believe that we can create an affordable and in depth educational trip specifically for BGA members, similar to what the Roasters Guild has offered its members for years. I would also like to see more community involvement within each region outside of RBC events. I know firsthand that the Twin Cities coffee community has been invigorated by smaller local events that Cafe Imports has helped put on, and with the help of the BGA and the increased awareness they can bring, I believe these smaller events can be more rewarding and further build community on a local level.

Sarah Dooley, Espresso Parts, Olympia, WA

How are you involved with Coffee? How does this role fit into the BGA? I should start with, I really enjoy preparing and consuming coffee. I'm especially excited to serve coffee. My current involvement with coffee has placed me at Espresso Parts as the Director of Events & Education. What does that mean? I have the privilege of working with the staff of EP and very closely our founder/owner Terry Z. to create and develop educational and public relation pieces. These project push innovation and drive curiosity. The BGA fits into this role by presenting the obvious challenges that I crave to continue growing in coffee; structured education, a bigger network to learn/contribute within and access to a coffee focused team of individuals.

Why might you be considered leadership material? I'm hoping to grow my leadership skills through this experience.

Why might you be considered leadership material? As the BGA body of members continues to grow I wonder how we can utilize our unified voice in non-coffee guilds to influence and generate change. This guild is large enough to voice some pretty serious standard changes for baristas, benefits and employment perks. The certifications are solid! We are creating a great base language for baristas so in turn perhaps owners will be pushed to offer special wages and benefits for BGA members. Everyone deserves a little security, a short paid vacation and the promise of at least one focused training experience like camp, to keep them motivated.

Julie Housh, Independent, Washington, DC

How are you involved with Coffee? How does this role fit into the BGA? I am currently the Mid-Atlantic Chapter Representative for the Barista Guild of America, I am a barista at Peregrine Espresso in Washington, DC, and I coordinate DC's Thursday Night Throwdowns. I also work for the World Barista Championship / World Coffee Events coordinating judges certification workshops and acting as a competitor liaison, among other tasks. As to how all of this fits into the BGA - I am a barista and I'm constantly working to support baristas and the specialty coffee community as a whole locally, nationally, and internationally. I think this fits me pretty squarely into the scope of the BGA.

Why might you be considered leadership material? I am a whole-hearted supporter of the Barista Guild. In my year as chapter representative I've been able to attend a number of local events (MANE Coffee Conference, Thursday Night Throwdowns), help run the first Camp Pull-A-Shot, and volunteer at a handful of regional competitions (next up, Houston!). I'll talk to almost anyone who will listen about the BGA. I have solid skills at planning and organizing events - whether it's the DC Thursday Night Throwdowns or judges workshops - and I'll work tirelessly until everything is done. I'm excited about the possibility to continue to be involved in the BGA - whether it's at the next barista camp or making a BGA event happen somewhere one has never happened before.

What are some accomplishments you would like to see happen in the future of the BGA and/or SCAA? In four words: Benefits, Events, Communication, Camp! I'd like to add even more tangible benefits to BGA membership. (And I don't mean BGA-tshirt-tangible.) I'd like to encourage, help with, and participate in events BGA members have dreamed up, planned, and/or executed all around the country. I'd like to accomplish better and more frequent communication between the executive council/chapter representatives and BGA members. I'd like to make sure Camp Pull-A-Shot 2011 even more awesome than Camp Pull-A-Shot 2010.

Seth Lester, Americano To Go Project, Chicago, IL

How are you involved with Coffee? How does this role fit into the BGA? I've been a professional barista for about 7 years now and pulled my first shots for a little cafe in Raleigh, NC, and then with Counter Culture Coffee in Durham, NC, and then back in another cafe in Raleigh, NC. After a few years in coffee, I also got ensnared by the magic of craft cocktails and beer, and the culture behind all beverage has utterly captivated and fascinated me. Two years ago, I decided that I wanted to discover the regional differences between the way coffeeshops and baristas interact with their neighborhood clientele, and also wanted to build my skills as a barista, so I started a project whereby I work in a different city as a barista for 3-4 months at a time, and move to another city and do the same thing, over and over again. Through this project, I have so far lived in 8 different cities (Raleigh, Charlottesville, Richmond, DC, New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Milwaukee) over the course of two years, and in the remaining two-plus years hope to live in 9 more. In each city, I have worked hard to learn as much as I can from the talented baristas I've encountered, and boy have I been lucky. Through the generosity and earnest kindness of each of these cities' wonderful communities of coffee professionals and baristas, I have learned so much about the way American baristas prepare, serve, and enjoy coffee, and can't wait to learn so much more.

Why might you be considered leadership material? From a purely logistical point of view, I've had about three years experience with coffeeshop management and understand key (but totally boring-sounding) business concepts like "profit and loss," "shrink," and "COGS/Margins." I've worked hard to establish myself as a coffee professional that is knowledgeable, respectful, and above all else, kind. When it comes to BGA/SCAA credentials, I am level-one certified (a certification I picked up last year at the Barista Guild's first-ever retreat, Camp Pull-A-Shot, where I met many wonderful and passionate baristas). I am also an SCAA Lead Instructor and will be doing station instruction work at the upcoming SCAA Exposition in Houston. However, I am also new and a relative outsider to the BGA scene. I have only been in the guild a year, and I have met with and talked to baristas from around the country and want to strive to bring their voices and their opinions to the guild's Executive Council. I think a leader's number one asset is his or her ability to listen, and I promise you that I'm no short of ears to lend to the vibrant barista communities out there.

What are some accomplishments you would like to see happen in the future of the BGA and/or SCAA? Through my traveling, I have had the exciting privilege of connecting baristas working on similar projects (both within coffee and other projects regarding music, art, etc.) I have helped baristas find work as they move or transition from one city to another, and have done my best to share with everyone some of the things I've learned (about coffee and about other things, too) along the way. I have really enjoyed putting baristas in touch and establishing collaborative links within our tight-knit industry, but what I would REALLY love is to see lots of baristas doing this! I think the Barista Guild of America should support this kind of collaboration, serving as a support network and the collective backbone of our industry. With everyone's earnest effort, we can create that in the BGA.

Colin Whitcomb, Alterra Coffee Roasters, Milwaukee, WI

How are you involved with Coffee? How does this role fit into the BGA? I work as a barista and as a trainer. I think the BGA works for the betterment of people making coffee by offering classes and building community. Working for the BGA would kind of be like doing what I do now, but on a larger scale, I imagine.

Why might you be considered leadership material? I am even keel, I dislike quick decisions, but I don't mind debate, I am easy to talk to, I am a great listener, I believe in self-awareness and forward progress. I want people to feel included and part of something.

What are some accomplishments you would like to see happen in the future of the BGA and/or SCAA? I think the BGA has a great thing going right now as the guild positions itself as the well-spring of knowledge, education & professionalism for people making coffee and I think that process should continue. I dream of the day individual cities have monthly BGA meetings. I would love us to grow to the point where we could manage the barista competitions. I would like to see us be able to provide higher levels of professional guidance for baristas and help them achieve goals like opening their own business, whether that be roastery, cafe or even consulting.

Alex Negranza,

How are you involved with Coffee? How does this role fit into the BGA? It might sound odd, but I am currently taking a break from working as a barista to submerge myself in the otherside of the imbibe culture-spirits. The goal of this project/sabbatical is to learn from the culture of craft cocktails on how they built their profession and industry. I've somehow managed to find myself working at one of the best bars in the country, Tavern Law, which is also owned by the Chefs/Owners of Spur Gastropub. At Tavern Law I'm starting to learn about molecular gastronomy, food pairing, tinctures and infusions as well as flavor profiling and construction. I'm also at Liberty Bar which also has a coffee program with it. The program has been nothing past average, for specialty coffee standards. My role at Liberty is not only on the bar staff, but also as a program advisor for the coffee program. Baristas work the front lines and represent the final product, so I feel that learning from similar industries is crucuial to not only the BGA but also baristas abroad. When I'm not working at the bars, I'm also a SCAA certified judge at regional and national levels for the past 3 years. Being a judge is more than checking yes's or no's or making diagrams and writing numbers- it's a learning process for the culture and communinty. I am also a coffee blogger and photographer. I started Why Not? Coffee to share my thoughts and ideas with people to learn about the aspects of the industry I didn't understand. I'm happy to say that I've learned a lot through community input, including what my role in the BGA would be.

Why might you be considered leadership material? A while back I made a post critiquing the BGA's involvment in the Seattle area community, and through that critique I learned what my local community is looking for, represenatation for our hard work. I think that I'm an honest personality of the coffee community to speak of what I think we need to develop our craft. A leader in the community is someone who is willing to be honest, transparent, as well as intelligent and inspiring. I feel that I am constantly an ambassador for specialty coffee at an honest level with everyone I talk to. My goal isn't to preach, but to educate; I want to have a dialogue that is educational to all parties and to further what I, and many other internationally, do for a living. I might be young in this industry, but I posess a fresh outlook on where I think we need to go as a craft and profession as well as the energy and dedication to work to get it there. There are a lot of people out there who are willing to critique, I'm willing to work to change my own critiques. A leader can't always lead, they also need to follow and go to places that others aren't willing to go to- I think I'm ready to do that.

What are some accomplishments you would like to see happen in the future of the BGA and/or SCAA? I'd love to see BGA do more with representing the craft. I think it'd be beneficial for the BGA to have regional ambassadors for specialty coffee- baristas certified by the BGA to be specialty coffee spokespeople that the community supported. I also think that BGA competition baristas should be encouraged to give competition beverages at the BGA booth for 30 minutes after their competition; I think these baristas need to be encouraged to be representatives to their community and shown how to do so. Local and national ambassadors to the BGA should be the spokespeople for the craft and profession, while being in tune with the SCAA and BGA's development criteria. I also am a firm believer that barista certifications should not cost ANYTHING to BGA members - the development of our craft should not rest on the shoulders of the baristas willing to pay for the "certification" rather the baristas willing to do something about it. Certifications, unfortunately, hold no benefit to our community yet therefore decreasing the value of said certification. We need to work together at street-level to make sure we're representing our craft. It really comes down to individuals willing to make it happen and working to make our craft a true profession.

Great Lakes Chapter Representative Candidates (States: WI, IL, OH, MI)

Chris DeMarse, Alliance World Coffees, Marion, IN

How are you involved with Coffee? How does this role fit into the BGA? I am the director of Quality Control and Coffee Education for my company. I have been involved in Barista competitions for over three years now as well as assisting with jams and brewing at symposium last year. I have a personal investment in and passion for furthering the barista craft. As the head of a coffee program, I have a high value set on the "ambassadorship" of the barista.

Why might you be considered leadership material? I suppose, though this might be relative to other's perceptions, my current role is a consideration. I have oversight of multiple interns in our roastery and am in direct leadership of the head roaster. I am continuously in a role of training people in many matters concerning coffee and its preparation. I helped train Josh Lindstrom, a finalist in our regional brewers cup. I would see my role as having a continual position of training people, so based on that I think that this might be a qualifying factor.

What are some accomplishments you would like to see happen in the future of the BGA and/or SCAA? I would like to see the certification process begin to involve all forms of brewing. While espresso can be one of the most complex in terms of process, there seems to be an increasing necessity for standardization and training on other forms of brewing. I would like to see that become a centerpiece in future educational events. I would also like to see an increase in the regional availability of certification and training events. I would love to be a part of helping foster that, regardless of my position in leadership on concerning the BGA. Please keep me informed of any way I can serve the organization.

Cara Nader, Cuppa Joe, Traverse City, MI

How are you involved with Coffee? How does this role fit into the BGA? I'm currently a manager for three coffee shops and a trainer. When I'm not working a bar shift, or training fellow baristas I am playing with piles of coffee. Tasting, brewing and experimenting with new techniques and crazy brewing ideas. This gives me a great amount of access to new and interesting tools and techniques all of which I love to pass on to fellow baristas. The Barista Guild is all about sharing knowledge and fueling a passionate community. I already do this on a small scale amongst my staff and local baristas. Doing it on a large scale in the whole Great Lakes region could only be full of fun!

Why might you be considered leadership material? I've been a trainer and manager in the world of coffee for 8 years now, which I believe is invaluable leadership experience. I assisted in organizing a small group of volunteers to help with the North Central Regional Barista Competition this year. (which, everyone should volunteer for next year, because it's a great opportunity to watch the action up close and sneak tastes of the drinks after the competitors have finished!) As the current Great Lakes Chapter Rep since late November 2010 I haven't had much opportunity to prove my leadership skills in this particular role, but I greatly look forward to having the chance to be part of the growth of specialty coffee and a stellar community in the Great Lakes region in the future.

What are some accomplishments you would like to see happen in the future of the BGA and/or SCAA? I would like to see the BGA reconnect with the original mission a little more than we currently are. More focus on regional jams, workshops and labs. Affordable events for all baristas and fun community gathers. Some small and local, and some large regional events. Why don't we get a TNT style event going in Chicago in 2011? There are certainly enough passionate baristas, and enough venues that would be willing to rotate hosting. I want to get back to the basics that Billy Wilson highlighted in his 2003 CoffeeGeek article about the BGA. I want to see a free educational section of the blog or BGA website with free articles, tutorials, faqs, written by BGA Chapter Reps and Executive Council Members. Simple things, for example an article on dosing techniques, or leveling, would be exceptionally helpful to a barista just starting out. Make these things available to members only. Bring back a members only forum/message board. A place for BGA members to communicate and share ideas. I would love to help the Barista Guild as well as specialty coffee grow in the Great Lakes region and the rest of the country. Lets make these things happen!

Cody Kinart, Alterra Coffee Roasters, Milwaukee, WI

How are you involved with Coffee? How does this role fit into the BGA? A working barista helping my coworkers, customers, and fellow baristas get PUMPED about specialty coffee. I'm a regional competitor and #camppullashot attendee who can't get enough of the people in our industry. I plan to incorporate my sociability and years of experience to further the voice of the barista, promote quality standards everywhere possible, and keep our great community moving forward. I cherish my co-guild members and believe the Guild has the opportunity to make the biggest impact on Specialty Coffee everywhere.

Why might you be considered leadership material? I like to bring people together, bring coffee to people, and bring the professionalism to everyone involved in our industry. I have the experience, I have the support, and I have the personality to make a great leader to baristas everywhere!

What are some accomplishments you would like to see happen in the future of the BGA and/or SCAA? I would like to see the BGA grow enough to play an even larger part in the SCAA. With more strength in the barista community, we can put our hearts and our knowledge into progressing the standards of coffee quality. More than ever, there are people who care about the future in specialty coffee and I think we, the baristas, are the answer. Industry wide, I would like to see more public information and awareness coming from the SCAA about current states of coffee.

Colin Whitcomb, Alterra Coffee Roasters, Milwaukee, WI (SEE ABOVE)

Mid Atlantic Chapter Representative
Candidates (PA, NJ, DE, MD, DC)

Allie Caran, Woodberry Kitchen, Baltimore, MD

How are you involved with Coffee? How does this role fit into the BGA? I have worked as a barista/coffee somelier at a farm-to-table restaurant, called Woodberry Kitchen, just a little over four years, in Baltimore, MD. Our menu focuses on highlighting Chesapeake Bay classics, with a heavy emphasis on supporting local agriculture through transparent and sustainable relationships. Woodberry is staffed every night with two to three highly trained baristas. Our designated coffee bar showcases Direct Trade seasonal coffee's from Counter Culture. And, our entire waitstaff is educated and well-versed in describing not only coffee processes and flavor profiles, but a certain affect for change and latent potential that coffee holds. I believe that Woodberry can light a spark in not just the Baltimore Barista scene, but to every guest that dines with us every night, though great coffee and an empathetic approach to the guest experience. For the past year, we have religiously held 10:00 am. Friday Public Cuppings inside the restaurant. It has catalyzed incredible communication and conversation between baristas and their guests. Isn't that what its all about? Embracing the diversity of people, networking, and readily available eduction to the community at large? One of the things that we accomplished this year, which ties into that sentiment, is a workshop we held geared towards the Mid-Atlantic Barista & Bartender Community. The event was called Ideas in Food, hosted by Woodberry and Chef Alex Talbot. The two day workshop focused particularly on utilizing molecular gastronomy for competing and/or interested baristas and bartenders. Its goal was to learn the importance of understanding flavor profiles in food and its relationship to beverage though hydrocoloids. For me, I want to deepen the coffee scene in Baltimore for both the baristas and the public at large. I like to think that this is just the beginning of something.

Why might you be considered leadership material? In a way my last answer sort of gets married to this question. I run a successful coffee program. I have hired/trained/loved a staff of baristas, who are quite possibly some of the most incredible people in the world...the kind of people that make you want to be better and work harder. As said before, I run free Public Friday Cuppings geared for first time cuppers. And, I am currently looking to create more classes geared for Baristas, utilizing the tools I have at the restaurant.

What are some accomplishments you would like to see happen in the future of the BGA and/or SCAA? This year has been an amazing year for me in coffee. Camp-pull-a-shot was a very special thing for me because of the relationship I was able to have with El Salvadorian producer, Aida Battle. At Camp, we worked very hard to get our Level 1 Barista Certification. Which we both passed ( WOO WOO)! That relationship has been so special for me...and in alot of ways, pushed me to question more and more things regarding my role in coffee industry. The role of a barista in relationship to roasters and producers. About three weeks ago, I visited Aida....and I'm pretty sure, although I feel as though I am still absorbing alot of that trip....that I have never truly understood the difficulty of producing coffee. In a way, that is the most tangible thing you can do as a homage through lazer-like focus, empathetic service, and a curiosity and questioning to all things coffee and food related. But, the hardest part of it all is trying to translate those moments and incorporate them into your every day practice. I think that this feeling would be beneficial for baristas. To maybe have a deeper investigation into those moments and realizations. In order to do this, its necessary to increase the understanding of what the SCAA and the BGA do....or even the fact that they do it all for baristas... and help make all this information more and more available to them. And, with that comes beautiful things....great access to great information, good professional development....and a betterment to the whole coffee world at large. It was essential for me a couple years ago to realize that there was this whole world of coffee outside of Baltimore...and I think that that kind of feeling, the understanding that there are other people in coffee out there, and that they want to interact and learn....well that feeling will build a network that will be the ultimate defining voice of the specialty coffee industry.

Faith Ortiz, Spruce Street Espresso, Philadelphia, PA

How are you involved with Coffee? How does this role fit into the BGA? I am currently co-owner and manager of Spruce St Espresso in Philadelphia, Pa. I have worked in the specialty coffee for 3 years and am still loving, learning, and growing in both the business and the coffee industry. I encourage my baristas to be active members in the coffee community here in Philadelphia (go to other coffee shops, try coffee from different roasters, attend cuppings), as well as SCAA events, such as barista jams, NERBC, and latte art throw downs. My experience in the Philadelphia coffee scene, local and international interaction with coffee shop owners, baristas, and farmers, and my personal love of coffee are simpatico with the goals of the BGA.

Why might you be considered leadership material? I think of leadership as a process versus a finite quality. Responsibilities evolve daily due to new information, clientele, and employees. Communication skills are crucial to a leader. These include the ability to educate, manage, and interact with people both socially and professionally. I feel that leaders need to be constantly updating their skills and information base. This allows them to lead teach by example versus by dictating. The ability to help staff and clients handle change of any kind is crucial to the leadership role. When a leader builds a foundation based on trust and models every expectation that they would have of an employee, they are able to handle the change.

What are some accomplishments you would like to see happen in the future of the BGA and/or SCAA? I'd like to see more baristas become certified and be proud of their craft. Opportunities to learn and share areas of expertise need to explored. The tools that the SCAA and BGA provide a perfect example of how a barista can grow. As a business owner, I know it can be hard to remain current in all areas of coffee and business responsibilities. My baristas often compete with me in regard to coffee information. Lastly, the BGA a networking opportunity for baristas from all over the country to share their knowledge and meet other great coffee folks.

Midwest Chapter Representative Candidates (ND, SD, NE, KS, MN, IA, MO)

Joseph A. Marrocco, Kaldi's Coffee Roasting Company, Saint Louis, MO

How are you involved with Coffee? How does this role fit into the BGA? I am the Coffee Educator for Kaldi's Coffee Roasting Company in Saint Louis, Missouri. This means that I head up our barista training program for all seven locations. I also lead the training program for our wholesale customers, of which we have well over 300. I am actively assisting in developing the training programs for some of the larger multi-location companies that use our coffee. I attend and assist with regional BGA sanctioned events and have some great ideas for even more in the future. I am also involved in the Barista Competitions. I have competed at the U.S. level for the last two seasons and hope to three-peat this year.

Why might you be considered leadership material? That is my job. I coordinate our lead baristas. My job is to ensure that our baristas have the tools and skills needed to not only make great coffee, but to love their job, educate their customers and foster a coffee culture here in Saint Louis. As their leader, I work hard to stay abreast of the trends and progress within our industry. I work also to stay current on what is going on in the culinary world outside of coffee, i.e. cocktails, beer, restaurants, etc...

What are some accomplishments you would like to see happen in the future of the BGA and/or SCAA? My leadership style is: example. I work to refine myself, educate myself and grow as a coffee professional, but more as a person. I work to instill a sense of ownership and self-motivation in those I lead. I know that I can add a lot to the Barista Guild as a community builder and link to other parallel industries. Growth Effectiveness within the smaller communities that are part of our larger communities. More community activity at the ground level. More customer service focus. More training and testing opportunities. More certifications, and more recognition for those who have these certifications. More connection to the rest of our culinary world. For instance, I would love it if the BGA had sanctioned event the were coordinated with wine, cheese, beer, baking, cooking, etc... events at the community and national level.

Robbie Britt, Dynamite Espresso, Morley, MO

How are you involved with Coffee? I have been a barista in specialty coffee for 8 years. For Espresso Parts I provide consulting, training, and education to baristas, cafes, roasters, and start-up businesses globally. I also support businesses through equipment sales and our wholesale program. I have competed in regional and national barista competitions for the last 3 years. As Proprietor of Dynamite Espresso, I will be providing specialty coffee and education in non-traditional settings in the Midwest with mobile espresso and catering. I actively pursue ways to strengthen our barista community both nationally and internationally through travel and social media.

How does this role fit into the BGA? Through Espresso Parts, I talk to baristas daily on the phone and in person. Every topic imaginable is discussed: How to make better espresso, how do I improve station maintenance and waste management, what is the best equipment for my application, how can I implement a manual brewing program in my cafe...My job is to pull from my experience when possible and point people to the right resources and places when able. My job is to help baristas make better coffee, period. Through Dynamite Espresso, I want to do my part to contribute to the specialty coffee experience in the Midwest as a barista and business owner.

Why might you be considered leadership material? At this point in my career, I have worked in multiple leadership positions in our industry: Manager, trainer, consultant, cafe design and layout, etc. I have worked in virtually every position possible in the coffee retailer environment. With this experience I can lead by example, and provide help and support to those who are seeking help in these areas. One of my favorite positions is that of barista trainer. I sincerely enjoy helping baristas make better coffee. I have seen this come to fruition numerous times through the simple adage: passion breeds passion. I also understand that I don't know everything and to be a good leader, I must also be constantly learning and growing in my career. I continually pursue ways to sharpen my skills and knowledge through job experience, other culinary arts, events, competitions, literature, and conversations.

What are some accomplishments you would like to see happen in the future of the BGA and/or SCAA?
I would like to see regional offerings of the BGA Certifications to be able to offer this training to as many baristas as possible. I also would like to see events and education responsibilities shared in such a way that the leadership doesn't have to feel responsible for providing everything, every time. A process for the EC to train Regional Reps and then they can train "District Reps" and so on.

Northeast Chapter Representative (NH, VT, ME, MA, RI, CT, NY)

Park Brannen, Cafe Grumpy, Brooklyn, NY

How are you involved with Coffee? How does this role fit into the BGA? I am a barista in the the most literal sense of the word. I work full time for at the very busy Cafe Grumpy serving specialty coffee daily. If the Barista Guild is a place to grow and learn the craft of specialty coffee preparation, I consider myself to be very at home with ideals of mission statement.

Why might you be considered leadership material? I strive to give the best prepared beverages possible in every situation I come across daily, as well as deliver the knowledge I have to the public in every instance perceivable. I aim to be a beacon of knowledge for those who wish to learn. I take no shortcuts in my preparations, or any other efforts for that matter, and consider what I do not only an art, but a privilege. There are so many other participants in the timeline of the specific coffees that I serve everyday and I only hope that I can do them, and most importantly the coffee, justice. This is what I consider to be what makes me a leader.

What are some accomplishments you would like to see happen in the future of the BGA and/or SCAA? I would like to see the BGA and SCAA reach out to those who are not already within the innermost circle of involvement. It is a fantastic thing to see continued participation from those cafes and professionals that have consistently associated with both of our organizations, and to grow it would be fantastic. Specialty coffee is picking up steam every day, and with the continued efforts of the dedicated professionals in the SCAA and BGA we can expect this trend to stretch out to those organizations not like our own. We're able to do good through coffee and it is exciting to think that even more people could get some of this goodness.

Juliet Han, Maglianero Cafe & Coffee Lab, Burlington VT

How are you involved with Coffee? How does this role fit into the BGA? I am currently working as a lab assistant at Coffee Lab International (CLI) and will be an assistant manager for a specialty coffee oriented cafe called Maglianero opening in April here in Vermont. I am very excited to be able to assist in nurturing a better coffee culture here (there is room next to the cheeses and beers Vermonters!). Between CLI's emphasis in education and Maglianero's mission statement about community, I can't see a better fit within BGA's ideals with baristas and its community. Everything I've Iearned and continue to learn as my "role" with coffee evolves, should be shared.

Why might you be considered leadership material? Loving what I do is enough motivation to want to learn more and do it right while sharing that with others! I am self motivated and rather than waiting on others to make it happen, I rather do it myself (call me impatient or the oldest sister of two younger brothers) and learn from those mistakes. I believe communication and honesty is key in any project.

What are some accomplishments you would like to see happen in the future of the BGA and/or SCAA? I attended the 2010 RI Barista Conference and left completely inspired. I would like to see more of those happen. In a very general sense, I would like to see more barista oriented events that provide education/mentors/tools for baristas to take back to teach their peers and customers.

Todd Mackey, New Harvest Roasters, Pawtucket, RI

How are you involved with Coffee? How does this role fit into the BGA? I am a trainer and sales representative for New Harvest Coffee Roasters in Providence, RI. The majority of my time is spent working closely with the folks who are turning our roasted coffee into delicious beverages. My work and passion has been, and will continue to be, exciting, inspiring, learning from, and teaching those who are crafting coffee professionally. I feel that this is directly in line with the goals of the Barista Guild of America; to take seriously the role of the barista as a culinary professional.

Why might you be considered leadership material? I am leadership material because I wash dishes... ...I believe in hard work and 'the journey'...that it is not an arrival in this industry but more so a progression through experiences. These experiences vary individual to individual and our strength is in sharing them in order to learn from one another. I love specialty coffee because it is not structured like a ladder. It is more like a roundabout where we find ourselves spinning around and centered on the bean...growers, roasters, baristas, buyers, etc....not one more or less integral than the other. Leadership in this industry is manifest in the sharing of knowledge and experience; both of which I am committed to doing to whatever degree my learning and experience allow. I have shown this commitment through community organization in my co-founding of the Providence Coffee Society. PCS hosts events, lectures, and social gatherings in order to promote specialty coffee and cafe culture in RI.

What are some accomplishments you would like to see happen in the future of the BGA and/or SCAA? I would love to see an east coast / northeast Pull-a-Shot - I would work hard to make the BGA classes and certifications more widely available in my region - I would like to see more (and regional) events that promote the dialogue between all roles within specialty (roasters, baristas, growers, buyers, etc.).

Southwest Chapter Representative Candidates (NV, AZ, NM)

Steve Kraus, Press Coffee Roasters, Scottsdale, AZ

How are you involved with Coffee? How does this role fit into the BGA? You ask how does this role fit into the BGA, well quite frankly we are on the forefront of a major movement, I witness it daily. I tell my employees each day that if you can educate one customer everyday with just a little bit more knowledge about specialty coffee, then we are one more person closer to creating a movement that will change the outlook on coffee going forward. I take pride in our product and take initiatives to improve where I can, both from a barista level and an educational role. If I can take a larger role going forward, and spread the knowledge I gain from the BGA then its one step closer to increasing the knowledge to those willing to learn.

Why might you be considered leadership material? I started Press Coffee Roasters in 2008 and have developed two retail locations and a roasting operation a year ago. I started my education process by attending the American Barista School and multiple Coffee Fests and SCAA’s. Press Coffee thrives on the continued education of not only our employees but each consumer that comes through the door. We do weekly cupping’s, roasting education and consumer training. Starting some of the first barista jams in Phoenix we’ve also have been featured in Barista Magazine and have collectively started what we believe will be the largest latte art throw-down in the southwest this coming September, being held at Phoenix's largest culinary festival, Phoenix Cooks ( The first event generated 16 baristas however this year we have been given a full on stage to really showcase to the public what true barista craft is!! This event will be open to baristas anywhere and I hope continue to make this an annual event to share with the coffee world. This is a great start but more importantly we continue to make strides with hiring those that want to take on the passion for coffee, learn the “true” skill and spread the word.

What are some accomplishments you would like to see happen in the future of the BGA and/or SCAA? I'd like to see more direct roles by BGA representatives by assisting regional baristas gain more knowledge on how to have a more direct role in creating a larger coffee community. I'd like to see the BGA take more initiative in helping to assist in larger events created by coffee shops in our respective communities, how does this work, it starts with the council and it makes its way to the representatives. Sponsors, sponsorships will assist us in assisting the smaller communities in recognizing that the BGA is truly a group that supports all baristas. If elected one of the first things I'd like to see made available is much easier way to become certified. This may sound as if I'm beating a dead horse, but quite frankly most baristas cant afford to fly and attend these large trade shows, therefore we need to make it available to them locally. Having elected test/class administrators would be a great start.

Brian Clemens, Mulch Coffee, Scottsdale, AZ

How are you involved with Coffee? How does this role fit into the BGA?

I am currently developing a coffee bar concept that will launch in Scottsdale, Arizona this fall. The goal with the concept is to introduce specialty coffee to the community in a fresh/open learning environment. As a partner in Mulch Coffee, I’m continuously learning how to develop training curriculum, develop baristas, and explain our industry to the average Joe. Beyond my role in Mulch Coffee, I’ve worked with four other coffee shops here in Phoenix in various capacities.

This year I took full advantage of my BGA membership, volunteering at the SCAA trade show, taking personal development classes, and judging at this year’s Southwest Barista Competition.

Although I haven’t worked full-time behind an espresso bar for nearly five months, I’ve furthered my craft through classes, holding training programs, and being actively involved in the coffee community here in Arizona. I’m excited to get back behind a bar this fall and represent specialty coffee to the community and beyond.

Why might you be considered leadership material?

When deciding to apply for a position whether vocational or extracurricular, I evaluate all aspects of the role and my current duties. From there I decide if I’m able to rise to the challenge. No matter the role, I’ve always given 110% to an organization, company, or team. I have high expectations for myself and allocate the proper time to fulfill every role I hold.

A leader in the specialty coffee community is personable, honest, engaging, and vulnerable. Yes, I said vulnerable. They know that the only way to further themselves is to admit what they know and what they don’t know. A leader is always a student, honest with the limit of their knowledge, but thirsty to learn more. I possess an optimistic outlook for our industry and craft. I’m open to feedback and desire to further progress our craft through collaborative events, seminars, and training.

What are some accomplishments you would like to see happen in the future of the BGA and/or SCAA?

I’d like to see more streamlined training programs. This year I had the ability to take the BGA Barista 1 exam and the Barista 1 Examiner Certification courses. I drove 400 miles to take the exams and had the side benefit of meeting Heather Perry, Marcus Boni, and Ellie Matuszak. We need to take the knowledge portion of these courses online and certify more representatives in the individual states to administer exams. any smaller localized events using resources available would be more beneficial than one large regional training event. Speaking for Arizona, I’m in the process of organizing “Barista Happy Hour”; where baristas interact outside the walls of their individual shops discussing processes and helping one another grow in knowledge, service, and as coffee ambassadors. The goal is to build relationships within the coffee community and increase our standards and knowledge at the same time. Relationships matter! It is easier to receive feedback from a friend than a stranger. I’d like to see smaller events that bring together both BGA and non-BGA baristas to discuss the craft and ultimately develop camaraderie. These events will help increase BGA membership and retention. One more thing that I would like to see happen in the future of the BGA is a “How to take advantage of your membership” campaign. When you pay into an organization you weigh the opportunity and cost. A “how to take advantage of your membership” campaign would entice prospective members to take their membership development into their own hands.

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