On July 12th, U.S. Tea Association president Joe Simrany suffered a heart attack and subsequently underwent open heart triple bypass surgery. Joe was able to move out of critical care within a few days, and has subsequently been released to his home. He is reported to be doing well in a message sent from the U.S. Tea Association on July 17th.
For those who wish to send flowers, cards, etc., the address is:
Mr. Joseph Simrany
157 Stephens State Park Road
Hackettstown, NJ 07840
For those who would like to send Joe a message, please email him at [email protected]
At this time, the Association asks that calls to the family be kept to a minimum and that if you do want further information about his progress, please call their office for updates at 212-986-9415.
Joe has been of great service to our industry for over 20 years and is scheduled to retire in January 2014 where he will be succeeded by now current executive vice president and former Unilever executive, Peter Goggi. Joe is still scheduled to be honored in September at this year’s North American Tea Conference in Bermuda for his tenure and leadership for the Association.
Speaking from my personal experience as the founder and director of World Tea Media and having worked with Joe for over a decade, Joe has been a tremendous and undervalued asset to our industry, both the traditional and specialty sides of the business. He has endured two decades of rotating boards and chairpersons each with their own ideas and directives, yet maintained a steady course for the association. Few could have done this as well as Joe.
And when we came up with the concept for creating a tea-only trade show, one of the first trips I made was to Joe’s office in NY. I explained what we were doing, why, and how, and said we can’t do this without the association’s support and he did not hesitate in giving it from day one.
And for those who missed our event last year honoring Joe for his lifetime achievements, here is a short list.
- Joined the Tea Association of the USA in February 1991, and was the first full time executive hired to run the Tea Association and Tea Council.
- Joe took action early in 1991, associating tea consumption with a great many health benefits as a means of raising consumer awareness and revitalizing an otherwise dull performance for the tea industry in the USA
- Established Hot Tea Month in January and Iced Tea Month in June as a means to generate publicity and provide members with a themed promotional event.
- Gradually expanded the concept of marketing tea on the basis of health globally beginning with the Bermuda Accord in 1992: an agreement between the Tea Council’s of the USA, UK, and Canada to cooperate on funding scientific research to uncover the various health benefits of consuming tea.
- Consolidated the Tea Council’s separate efforts against the foodservice, consumer, and tea & health segments into a concerted effort on Tea & Health
- Proposed to the Board of Directors in 1992 and again in 1995 to broaden the mission of the Tea Association by establishing a separate Association for Specialty Tea Retailers.
- Formed the Specialty Tea Registry in 1996 which merged with the American Premium Tea Institute in 2002 to form the Specialty Tea Institute.
- Merged the Tea Association of the USA with the Tea Council of the USA in 2002 to achieve a more equitable funding for both organizations.
- Successfully defended the Tea Industry against numerous attacks over the years including terrorism, the “Great Bacteria Scare” of 1995 & 1996, government allegations of abuses of worker rights in 2002 and many other incidents.
- In cooperation with the UK and Canada, launched the Agricultural Plant Protection initiative into international forums to focus producing countries on the proper use of these substances.
- Arranged a meeting of 12 of the world’s regulatory agencies at a meeting in Paris to seek their support for harmonization of standards for tea.
- Supported the Nepalese concept of a Uniform Code of Conduct for the Tea Industry and remain a staunch advocate for expansion of that concept globally.
- Oversees a generic tea publicity program that regularly generates in excess of 1 billion positive consumer impressions annually for tea.
- Launched a PR campaign 3 years ago designed to attract a younger audience to tea by inviting them to submit a YouTube video about the Health benefits of tea under the Calm-A-Sutra theme.
- Nominated to Chair the London Tea Trade Dinner in May 2010 and to deliver the keynote speech. This was the first time in its 81 year history that a non-British Tea Trade Executive was so honored.
- Is a Director of the International Tea Committee in London and an avid spokesperson for the global tea industry.
- Was elected First Vice Chairperson of the 19th Session of the Intergovernmental Group on tea meeting in May of 2010 in New Delhi, India. Assumed the role of Chairman for the majority of the meeting after the local government official opened the meeting.
- Recently appointed an honorary Ambassador of China Tea by the Organizing Committee of the 2011 International Tea Convention in Hangzhou, China.
We remain grateful for having Joe in our lives and wish him Godspeed in his recovery.