Carlos Brando, an engineer who attended the SPURS and PhD programs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is a partner at P&A International Marketing, the firm that manages Pinhalense’s exports and consults or consulted for the International Coffee Organization, the World Bank, the Sustainable Trade Initiative, the Global Coffee Platform and many other companies and institutions.
P&A has coordinated coffee projects in more than 50 producing countries across five continents and all the main coffee areas of Brazil, prepared the Step-by-Step Guide to Promote Coffee Consumption in Producing Countries for the ICO, coordinated the creation of programs to promote coffee consumption in India, Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Colombia and today assists Promecafé’s Program to Promote Coffee Consumption.
Carlos presides the board of the Global Coffee Platform, is a member of the Coffee Quality Institute’s Board of Trustees and of the SPURS (MIT) International Advisory Board, and vice-chairman of the Coffee and Immigration Museums in Brazil. Author of chapters in several coffee books, including recent ones by illycafé and Nespresso, Carlos received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the African Fine Coffees Association (AFCA) in 2017.
Carlos Mera joined Rabobank’s Agri Commodity Market Research team in 2015 as a senior commodity analyst, having spent over seven years at a large coffee trading house.
Carlos has visited over a thousand coffee farms and is an experienced crop forecaster. Carlos holds a BSc economics from University of Buenos Aires and a MSc Finance from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Fernando Soto is currently a Vice President in the Private Banking Latin America team. In his role, he advises individuals and financial institutions on complex matters related to investing. In the past, Mr. Soto worked as a Management Consultant for the banking and securities practice at Deloitte Consulting LLP, served as an Analyst for the corporate banking division at Scotiabank and spent a year as a research fellow at the London School of Economics (LSE) working on value investing. Mr. Soto serves as a board member of Help Peru, a New York-based charity that supports charitable organizations that help underprivileged Peruvians.
He received his B.A. in finance from Syracuse University, a diploma in quantitative finance from the LSE and is a 2019 Global Executive MBA Candidate at the Fuqua School of Business, Duke University.
As CQI’s Senior Director - Technical Services, Mario oversees the technical services and the projects taking place in different coffee producing countries, to ensure that they have technical coherence and are adequately implemented. He led the development of the Q Processing Program. Mario also serves as liaison with the research organizations and enjoys teaching cupping and processing.
His experience includes many different positions along the coffee value chain, but mostly focusing on the factors that affect coffee flavor and quality. Mario combines his experience in the industry with a passion for scientific research about coffee flavor. He holds a PhD degree in Food Science (University of Otago – New Zealand), an MS Food Science (Université de Montpellier II, France), and a BS Food Technology (Universidad de las Américas-Puebla, Mexico).
Matt Saurage, fourth-generation owner of Community Coffee Company, currently serves as the Chairman of the company’s Board of Directors. Matt has been involved with the family business since 1995 in a variety of roles including; coffee selection and roasting, brand marketing, coffeehouse operations, and new product development. Early in his career, he lived in Brazil to better understand the nuances of farming and trading green coffee and continues to travel abroad to visit coffee farming communities. He was elected President in 2005 and Chairman in 2012, becoming the fourth-generation Saurage to take the helm of America’s largest family-owned and operated retail coffee brand.
Matt helps guide the company’s philanthropic activities, including the Community Cash for Schools ® program benefiting education, Military Match program providing coffee for active duty troops, and environmental and sustainability platforms. He serves on the board of several local, national and international organizations focused on public education, coffee health, and sustainable agriculture; currently as Chairman of the National Coffee Association, and is a board member of World Coffee Research. He and his wife, Catherine, enjoy time together raising five children and supporting local, non-profit organizations in his hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
As Chameleon Cold-Brew’s Chief Product Officer, Matt Swenson leads the company’s robust innovation pipeline and oversees all aspects of the coffee-making process for the Austin-based brand. Swenson brings his deep expertise to the meticulous formulation of Chameleon’s coffee products from soil to bean to bottle, while also leading the company’s responsible sourcing practices and managing Chameleon’s core leadership team.
In 2018, Swenson spearheaded the debut of Chameleon's Sustainability Program, establishing projects in Peru, Myanmar, Guatemala and Colombia to directly invest in the regions where Chameleon sources its beans. Under Swenson’s guidance, Chameleon implemented an impactful partnership with the first of its kind female-led co-op in Myanmar, while also spearheading initiatives in Peru, Colombia and Guatemala. These projects aim to forge lasting relationships that empower farmers and producers with skills to implement better agricultural practices that improve their productivity and livelihood.
Prior to joining Chameleon in 2016, Swenson co-founded Nobletree Coffee headquartered in Brooklyn, New York. He is one of only 40 Q Grader Arabica Instructors (akin to a master coffee sommelier) in the world.
Stephen is a multifaceted professional with broad experience who has had many management roles in the international agricultural and food quality sector. He started his career as a horticulture producer working with hydroponics in UK and Spain. He later undertook extensive research and development for the application of biological control methods for Integrated Pest Management in crops. In 1998 he pioneered the promotion of Good Agricultural Practices farm assurance standards and implementation in Spain.
Following two acquisition processes, he became the Quality Director for one of the world leading food safety assurance companies, NSF Certification, and then moved to NSF Global Agriculture Director. He combined these roles with the management of international in-country office networks in Europe, Africa and LatAm supplying services to the agricultural and food supply chain.
He is currently NSF Senior Director for Strategic Alliances and vice-chair of the Governance committee of the coffee variety initiative, WCR-Verified.
He is married with 4 children and has lived in Spain for the last 39 years.