Welcome CEBA

In an effort to better align with a changing industry and the expanding expertise of its members, the International Association for Cold Storage Construction (IACSC), a Core Partner of the GCCA, has transitioned to a new name – the Controlled Environment Building Association (CEBA). The name change for the 40-year-old trade association was unanimously approved by members during a vote at the annual CEBA Conference & Expo, held in November 2018, in Las Vegas.


“Our new name reflects the full scope of what our members specialize in, and that is the design and construction of controlled environment facilities,” says Tim Nguyen, Regional Vice President of ESI Group USA and Chair of CEBA. “CEBA members have the expertise and experience in designing and building facilities that take into account product integrity, quality, and safety. Our breadth of expertise provides a full service to our global cold chain network consisting of retailers, foodservice, third-party logistics, and processors.” “Our members do so much more than just cold storage and so our old name was a bit misleading,” explains Corey Rosenbusch, President & CEO of GCCA and its Core Partners, including CEBA. “We hear from companies that they hire a general contractor without controlled environment experience and must bring in a CEBA member down the road to fix mistakes. CEBA members are the go-to place for expertise in the thermal envelope.”


The Process

“We felt for some time that the organization had significant potential to grow and increase membership, and not just in raw numbers, but also in the type of members,” says Brian King, President, A.M. King Construction Company and Immediate Past Chair of CEBA. “There are two ways to think about growth – trying to achieve growth and then planning for growth. We thought the organization was going to grow regardless, so we needed to anticipate, and plan for, that growth.” Changing the name wasn’t easy and it didn’t happen overnight, admits Vince Free, Vice President, Thermal Division, SubZero Constructors and Vice Chairman of CEBA. “Tim Nguyen, Brian King and I started talking several years ago about the future of IACSC. We put our heads together at the Board of Director meetings and always seemed to be short on time. So in an effort to develop a strategic plan and a name change while not feeling rushed, we started holding strategic planning retreats over a long weekends at remote locations and it has been very successful.” King agrees that the strategic planning meetings were paramount to the whole process. “The strategic planning retreat allowed us to step away from the day to day and be in an atmosphere where we could just focus on the organization and where we wanted to take it.” King says that GCCA staff were always involved in the meetings and provided facilitation, along with the occasional outside consultant to do market testing and help with planning, but that the consultants were kept to a minimum.

“The Board is pretty self-governing and cohesive,” King acknowledges. “We take pride that the Board members are a very good representation of the membership and they are all committed to making the process work. Once we came together and agreed on goals and initiatives, we worked diligently. Certainly there were conflicting discussions and opinions, but at the end of the day, we found consensus.” Free says that everyone was in agreement that the “cold storage construction” phrasing seemed siloed and limited. “If I’m an end-user with a processing plant that produces juices and required a clean/washdown environment, I wouldn’t necessarily need my building to be a freezer. I might require clean environment rooms because I’m doing heavy washdown. So as the end user, I wouldn’t necessarily go to a cold storage construction tradeshow. However, a majority of the qualified builders that specialize in clean environment/processing rooms attend our show.” Free sums up that capturing the entire market of end users with controlled environment, captures everything. Kings recounts that the Board wanted a name as holistic as possible, that encompassed the entire industry in which they work, was a nice acronym, and rolled off the tongue a little easier. “There was a lot of brainstorming around names, but at end of the day, our group focused on facilities and all aspects of those facilities, while retaining the ‘building industry’ phrasing. We felt ‘controlled environment,’ was reflective of the type of facility in which we’re involved. And we thought it was important that ‘building’ is both verb and noun so – it’s left open to interpretation. “Kings says the Board really believes the new name encompasses who they are and what they do on a daily basis.


Mission and Vision

The CEBA mission, as approved by the Board, is to represent the expert builders who specialize in the design and construction of controlled trolled environment buildings, including cold storage warehouses, food processing facilities, clean rooms, pharmaceutical facilities, and foodservice and retail distribution centers. CEBA’s vision is to be the association where anyone looking to build, renovate, or modernize a first-rate, innovative facility comes to find the most experienced designers, contractors, and manufacturers and suppliers. “We are still in our infancy when it comes to determining what the full CEBA brand will be but we know the direction we want to take is to be the staple of controlled environmentbuildings. When you have CEBA next to your name, end users will know what you want to build,” Free points out.


Next Steps

The association also unveiled a new logo and refreshed strategic plan that focuses on achieving recognition as the authority in designing and building temperature controlled facilities. It also includes objectives to build future talent, offer recruitment and retention programs and explore other opportunities for talent development; and to implement plans for developing expertise and increase engagement with MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) engineers, refrigeration engineers, and customers. “Guiding CEBA to the future, bringing additional value to the CEBA annual conference, getting end users to attend the show and getting them to hire CEBA members, and developing CEBA certification is all an ongoing process. That’s why the majority of the board is still attending these strategic meetings as we continue to chart our course forward,” Free says. King calls on his fellow members to embrace the changes and become evangelists for the new name and the new vision of the association. “We are in a period of growth, both among our members, and in what we have to offer – we have the ability to do some really great things within the industry and it’s a very exciting time to be involved in CEBA,” King notes. “I would say to CEBA members, take on a leadership role, serve on various committees, or recruit new members from among your clients, colleagues or people who work for you. Let’s all do something for the organization and for the industry, and this in turn will benefit each of us individually.”