QAI Team Members Reflect on the 30th Anniversary Milestone

You know, when we talk about 30 years… I
think about it, and I was probably one or two back then? Okay, we’re not gonna
do that. I can’t do any age jokes. My name’s Susan McCarthy. Hi, I’m Alexis Randolph. My name is Jon Lackie. I’m Lori Hooker I’m Kasey Moctezuma. I’ve been here for thirteen years. I’ve worked for QAI since 1998. I’ve been here for over ten years. Eleven and a half years. Fourteen years this week. We started before the organic
program was actually on the Code of Federal Regulations. So in 1989, we
started as QAI, and then in 1990 is when the Organic Act was begun. QAI is one of
the first certifiers of processed food and retail label packages and back in
the early days you’d only find those in co-ops. I’m really proud that QAI
still certifies our first processor that we certified. I’m really excited that company
has stuck with us through all these years. Yeah, it’s changed a lot. When I initially
started everything was in binders. If you had a client that was a particularly
large operation, they would have up to three or four massive three-ring binders
to store all their documentation. Every day I’d come home and I’m like, “I spent
60% of today like chasing the binders.” When a binder went missing: “hey, have you guys seen this binder? Where…” When it was time for them to get their certificate,
we’d actually printed out, but we had to print it out on the parchment paper, and
then it had to go to a senior that would like stamp it, you know with that
embossed thing. Certification’s changed quite a bit.
When I first started, we had
private standards and now there’s a National Organic Program regulation. The organic industry and working at QAI has kind of been like getting into a
Lamborghini, and you get in close the door, and then all of a sudden just…
it went from 0 to 150 in like two seconds. Everything like…the industry’s
grown so fast, it’s just it’s amazing but you know, it’s “wow.” We’ve come a long way
with the calibration of our staff and our systems, and also the quality and the
qualifications of our team members. We have an amazing team now. QAI was a family-owned company in the beginning, and I think I was
probably the seventh or eighth employee, so we’ve changed quite a bit,
and it’s really great now to be owned by NSF international, which has offices all
around the world and that really changes our dynamic and the services that we can
offer. You know, whether it’s companies like Dave’s Killer Bread or Orgain, they were
all small ten plus years ago, they’re now, you know, a part of much
larger operations, and I played a small role in that. I really enjoy that. I love dealing with clients and customer service. I do like using my languages. “Me encanta hablar espanol con la gente.”
It feeds my brain and soul. Looking towards what the future is going to be and how
we can best service our clients is gonna be a key focus because that’s what
clients looking for, so I’m really excited to be part of that team. It’s
gonna be a great experience and a long road.

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