Monday 24 June 2024
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NKG celebrates graduation of the first class of Pace Partners

David M. Neumann, CEO of the company: “While some cautioned that we were taking a big risk with this program, we chose to trust our instinct. We are happy and proud that it worked out so spectacularly. Of course, a lot of that has to do with the quality of the three participants. They were fantastic individuals from the start, and now they’re also highly skilled, with outstanding educations in coffee. Any company in coffee will be very lucky to have them”

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HOBOKEN, USA/HAMBURG, Germany – Neumann Kaffee Gruppe and the Coffee Coalition for Racial Equity announce the graduation of the first class of NKG Pace Partners. The program, developed by NKG and the CCRE to welcome greater diversity into the U.S. coffee industry, offers three individuals each year employment at a Neumann Gruppe USA company, with both QC apprentice work and a comprehensive education in green coffee and the functions of a green coffee importer.

Neumann Kaffee Gruppe and the Coffee Coalition for Racial Equity

The inaugural Partners — Jayy Terrell, Charles Umeano and Porttia Portis — all completed monthly themed coursework, performed daily QC lab responsibilities, studied specialty and commercial coffees and markets, completed the Arabica Q Grader exam, spent time with NKG export company Ceca in Costa Rica, attended a number of industry shows, learned from NKG colleagues from London to Mexico to Papua New Guinea, and overall gained an tremendous education in coffee — while meaningfully contributing to their respective teams. They will be greatly missed.

“While some cautioned that we were taking a big risk with this program, we chose to trust our instinct. We are happy and proud that it worked out so spectacularly,” said David M. Neumann, CEO of Neumann Kaffee Gruppe. “Of course, a lot of that has to do with the quality of the three participants. They were fantastic individuals from the start, and now they’re also highly skilled, with outstanding educations in coffee. Any company in coffee will be very lucky to have them.”

Mr. Neumann continued, “As I was sure they would, everyone at Atlas Coffee Importers, InterAmerican Coffee and Rothfos Corporation welcomed the Partners, created a positive atmosphere and helped to make this an overwhelmingly positive experience. I am proud of our North American (and Costa Rican!) colleagues and friends who were so key to this success.”

Phyllis Johnson, founding director of the CCRE, also offered her congratulations to Porttia, Charles and Jayy on completing the program. “The inaugural class of PACE partners brought value to the workspaces at NKG, offering their trusts, talents and commitments in helping to further diversify the U.S. coffee industry where diversity is lacking,” she said. “I commend David Neumann and NKG for taking action, offering leadership, courage and resources, in order to build a life-changing educational program that speaks to greater diversity. I’m thankful to the CCRE Board, volunteers and sponsors who helped to also make our work possible.”

Ms. Johnson continued, “Inaction is complicity in upholding inequities. We cannot advance through spectatorship. We invite all leaders in the coffee industry to join us in this work. A shift to build a corporate culture that welcomes diverse ideas and individuals is one that will thrive in the future.”

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While the coffee community has been verbally supportive of the program, it’s still in need of financial supporters. “We hope to continue NKG PACE, which has genuinely enriched everyone who connected with it,” said Mr. Neumann. “But we’ve said from the start that it will only be possible with support from the coffee community. We’re still hopeful that will happen.” 

New Beginnings

Charles Umeano has been hired by La Colombe, in New York City, while InterAmerican Coffee has hired Jayy Terrell to be the Quality Specialist in its San Diego office (thus the asterisk). Porttia Portis will begin looking for employment opportunities in July. She brought strong writing and marketing talents with her to Seattle, and while at Atlas Coffee Importers developed not only excellent QC skills but a passion for coffee education.

NKG welcomes any company with a relevant opportunity to either contact them or Porttia directly at porttia.portis@gmail.com.

On April 26, the second class of NKG Partners will join Neumann Gruppe USA and begin their new roles. We look forward to welcoming them in and to the positive ways they’ll no doubt leave their imprints on the program and help to further improve it each year. Congratulations to our incoming Partners and to our NKG PACE Graduates!

CIMBALI

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