I first heard about and joined ISBT in 2001, shortly after I moved to the US from my home country, Ireland. Ever since, it has been a truly wonderful experience to freely collaborate with some of the best minds in the global beverage industry, to learn from them and to consider many of them my good friends.
I have since moved back to Ireland and I'm happy to report that with the continued expansion of the society internationally, ISBT continues to be highly relevant and valuable to me and my company globally. The growing influence of the society has been helped by the establishment of regional meetings in Europe and Latin America.
This year, 2012, we held the eighth ISBT European Regional Meeting and the first ISBT Latin America Regional Meeting. The success of these events did not happen by accident. ISBT members are the driving force behind what makes this organization so great.
I have been active in many of the society's technical committees and subcommittees (including Quality, Sweeteners, Global Issues, Water Quality and Beverage Gases), presented to the society (Global Issues paper, panel discussion on Water Sustainability, panel discussion on Food Safety and at Sweetener Committee), and served as Chair of the Quality Technical Committee. I am currently serving as a member of the Board of Directors and on the organizing committees of the European and Latin America regional meetings. These are all great learning experiences. Conference calls are usually scheduled at a time to suit overseas participation.
Additionally, ISBT's voluntary guidelines are highly valuable resources to my company and to the global beverage industry as a whole. They have had a large impact raising the quality standards globally in the areas of carbon dioxide, sugar, HFS, packaging, microbiology and fountain beverage dispensing. These guidelines also foster a common industry approach (e.g. quality limits, test methods, processing standards) which drives efficiency for suppliers and beverage companies alike. For example, China has now adopted the ISBT HFS Quality Guidelines as its legal basis for HFS standards.
From my experience, ISBT continues to be highly relevant and valuable to non-US based ISBT members from both a professional and a personal perspective.
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