When Carlos De Valdenebro embarked on his journey to Houston to become our new North America Managing Director in January, we were left with the challenging task of finding a new leader for our operations in Colombia and Ecuador. After several months of searching both internally and externally for the right person to replace Carlos, we decided that there was no better candidate than William Ortiz, due to his experience, knowledge, and his commitment to our mission. Many of you may already know him, but for those who do not, or for those would like to know him better, we will tell you more about William and how he arrived where he is today.
Part of a traditional coffee growing family, William was born and raised in Oporapa, a small town tucked between the mountains of Huila in Colombia. Upon graduating high school, he heard about a new company that was now sourcing high-quality coffee in his region. The company was hosting a cupping workshop in Oporapa, so he decided to attend. Shortly afterwards, William was hired by Caravela (then called Virmax), as a lab assistant trainee in Bogota. A few months later he moved to Pitalito just south of his hometown to replace the quality analyst working in this warehouse, who had gone on parental leave. In Pitalito William demonstrated an expertise at the cupping table which belied his age, as well as an impressive level of dedication to the company. Over the next several years, William took on roles of increasing responsibility in part due to his talent, but most importantly owing to his desire for learning and growth.
In 2015 he accepted the position of Quality Director at our Nicaragua office, where his continued excellence saw him rise to Country Manager, expanding the operation and developing a solid and capable team. In 2019, he took a huge step and moved to the UK to serve as Global Quality Director, travelling to all our origins to strengthen our quality teams, ensuring consistency and exacting standards throughout the chain, and providing support to all operations so that they can experience the same success as Nicaragua.
Throughout his life and his career, William has had the opportunity to engage directly with coffee growers in Latin America, developing a clear understanding of their challenges, needs, and aspirations. Additionally, he has met many of our customers around the world, and is keenly attuned to their requirements as roasters, wholesalers, and retailers, providing them with the coffee and quality that suits them best. We are certain that heading up the seasoned teams working in these two origins, he will continue to strengthen relationships with coffee growers, our customers, and the entire team to achieve the ambitious goals we have and continue making coffee better.
William tells us, “Returning to Colombia has really brought my career full circle, and I’m excited to bring my years of experience from elsewhere in Latin America and further abroad to our operations here. Much has changed in the six years I have been gone, and I look forward to tackling the opportunities that still exist while seeing firsthand the progress we have made in Ecuador and Colombia since 2015. I’m also looking forward to reconnecting with old friends Caravela, and motivating all my colleagues – whether they’re producers or team members – to bring Caravela their best.”
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