CHICAGO — The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (N.C.B.A.) has announced it would close its office in Chicago on Dec. 30 as it plans to launch a Center for Beef Excellence in Denver, Colo. in the coming year.
Officials say some of the 12 employees of the Chicago office are moving to work in Denver, while others, including Randy Irion, were offered the opportunity to relocate but opted to step down. Mr. Irion worked at the association for approximately nine years, most recently as N.C.B.A.’s director of channel marketing.
The Chicago office, located on Michigan Ave., was once home to the now defunct National Livestock & Meat Board, which was founded in 1922 and represented all red meats, including beef, lamb and pork through research, education and information. In 1996, the Meat Board merged with the National Cattlemen’s Association to form the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
In explaining the office closure, an N.C.B.A. spokeswoman said the association’s senior management determined this past spring the move to Denver made the best financial and business sense and brought the decision to the N.C.B.A. officers, who accepted the recommendation unanimously.
"The current culinary center [located at the Chicago office] is greatly outdated and would require a remodel whether the organization stayed on Michigan Ave. or chose another location," the spokeswoman said. "With the lease expiring [on Dec. 30] and the opportunity to find cheaper real estate and better stretch producers’ dollars, other locations became attractive."
The committee determined the Chicago location was underutilized and relocating the center to Denver will expand the services beyond recipe development and testing by offering new product development, retailer and foodservice training sessions, consumer classes and demonstrations.
Lead staff, Dave Zino and Deb Baughman, will continue to serve state beef councils, beef checkoff-funded programs and participate in the new activities that will be housed in N.C.B.A.’s Center for Beef Excellence. Ellen Gibson, N.C.B.A. executive director, will lead the new center with a team of beef research, culinary and marketing experts.