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ACE Director Debbie Hill Resigns, Susie Spindler Named Interim

The ACE HQ cupping lab in Portland

The ACE HQ cupping lab in Portland

The Alliance for Coffee Excellence, which organizes the Cup of Excellence competitions at auctions that connect buyers to quality coffees from various countries of origin, has announced the resignation of Debbie Hill as executive director.

According to a letter to ACE supporters written by the group’s board chair, Intelligentsia Coffee’s Geoff Watts, ACE co-founder and longtime director Susie Spindler has agreed to take over as interim executive director, effective immediately. Spindler resigned from ACE over a year ago.

This is the latest in what has been a year full of significant changes for ACE, including last summer’s announcement that the group was suspending COE competitions for several countries while it revamped operations, and the more recent opening of a new Portland headquarters and cupping lab.

Here is more from Watts’ letter:

There is much to be done to prepare for a successful series of Cup of Excellence events in Central America this year. Please know that everyone at ACE, including both staff and board members, will be working vigorously with our origin country partners to ensure that the quality of the program in 2016 will be everything you’ve come to expect and more. There are some exciting developments to look forward to, and we are looking forward to sharing them with you as they come to fruition.

We’d also like to acknowledge that the Cup of Excellence program is based entirely on your support, and our collective desire to discover and reward beauty and craftsmanship in coffee wherever it is found. ACE is a house built by and for its members and the farmers whose individual achievements give us all so much to celebrate.

We understand that sometimes there is not enough dialogue between ACE and its global family of contributors and we are committed to making this change. It begins with ACE being more proactive in reaching out to engage you and solicit your input and ideas. You can be certain that there will be far more communication in the days and months ahead. We need your help and collaboration, because it is only by working together that we can ensure ACE and the Cup of Excellence can continue its mission to enable and catalyze positive changes in our industry.

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