In a move to increase the availability of education and professional development programs, the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) announced today that Ellie Hudson has been hired in a new position as Director of Professional Development. The selection was made after an extensive search and Ms. Hudson will begin work on February 1, 2010.

Ric Rhinehart, Executive Director for SCAA elaborates on the decision, “The addition of a full-time staff position dedicated to professional development will increase availability and enhance development of SCAA’s training and certification programs with the ultimate goal of helping our members successfully differentiate their business with quality.” He continues, “We searched inside and outside of the industry for the right candidate and were fortunate to find someone with knowledge of both coffee and adult education programs and, I can’t think of anyone more dedicated to the mission of SCAA.”

In addition to a variety of training programs, SCAA’s educational roster includes Roaster Certification and Barista Certification, via the Roasters Guild and Barista Guild of America, SCAA’s professional trade guilds, respectively. SCAA plans to increase its offering throughout the U.S. and internationally.

Ms. Hudson’s experience includes serving two terms on the SCAA Board of Directors and as Chair of the SCAA Professional Development and Training Committees. She has participated extensively in many SCAA programs, including the United States Barista Championship; the World Barista Championship, (WBC) including the WBC Board of Directors; launching of the Instructor Development Program; and as a trainer in the Coffee Corps program of the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI), SCAA’s charitable trust. She is a licensed Q-Grader through CQI’s international coffee quality recognition and grading program.

Concurrent with her SCAA volunteer service, Ms. Hudson’s employment experience was as Director of Training and Knowledge for Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea, an SCAA member company in Chicago and Los Angeles; and as Vice President of Training and Operations for Coffee Solutions, a Boston-based SCAA member company. The SCAA Board of Directors will appoint a replacement Director to fill the seat vacated by Ms. Hudson on the Board and the Professional Development Committee in the coming weeks.