Portland, OR (February 1, 2017) – CQI is pleased to announce that Steve Walls will be honored as the organization’s 2017 Leadership Medal of Merit recipient. CQI is recognizing Mr. Walls for his tireless work to improve the plight of the coffee producers, as well as his innovative approaches and extensive collaborations on development projects. Mr. Walls has worked for many aid organizations, including Canadian International Development Agency, TechnoServe, Chemonics International, and Winrock International. He most currently served as Winrock’s chief of party for USAID-funded Value Chains for Rural Development (VC-RD) project and has recently retired after four decades of development work. CQI Executive Director David Roche explains, “I have had the privilege to work with Steve Walls since 2003 on projects in East Africa and Myanmar and could not be more pleased with this choice to honor him. There is no greater example of an individual using public funds to provide effective assistance to the thousands of lives dependent on coffee production. CQI is very excited to give this award to Steve and highlight the outstanding work done throughout the world by USAID and other development agencies to create sustainable agricultural solutions.”
Mr. Walls began his career as a Peace Corps volunteer in 1976 in Niger. Since then, he has worked on groundnut research in Pakistan, a seed processing facility and seed lab in Cameroon, a small-holder farming systems project in Burundi, a value chain program in northern Tanzania followed by a decade working with coffee producers in East Africa, working on several USAID-funded projects. Most recently in Myanmar, he worked to improve the quality of small-holder coffees and introduce its producers to the specialty coffee industry under USAID’s VC-RD project. One major highlight in his career was supporting the African Fine Coffees Association (AFCA), where he worked with stakeholders to create the annual AFCA Annual Conference and Exhibition that highlighted smallholder specialty coffees. Samuel Kamau, executive director of AFCA, comments, “Steve contributed significantly to the development of AFCA as the premier Regional Coffee Association. His strong leadership and vision ensured key funding in the formative stage by supporting the key programs that make AFCA great today.”
The Leadership Medal of Merit is CQI’s most prestigious honor and has been presented at SCAA’s annual exposition for a decade. It is given to an extraordinary person who embodies CQI’s mission to improve coffee quality and the lives of people who produce it. Past recipients include Sunalini Menon (Coffee Board of India), Timothy Schilling (World Coffee Research), Lindsey Bolger (Keurig Green Mountain), and Willy Foot (Root Capital).