Proposals, Cold Chains, and Mexican Food

Posted on Friday, Feb 10, 2017

What would you say if you were tasked with assessing the global issue you’re most passionate about and to assist in providing a solution for that issue? This is something that I did not expect to say I would already be working with, but now after a month I can say that I already am involved in work that I care deeply about. Working this last month for the Global Cold Chain Alliance(GCCA), I have really hit the ground running. From writing proposals, to attending negotiations and strategy meetings with the Alliance, I have learned so much about the system of cold chain development, and how this system is associated and interconnected with international development. This has been an exciting experience so far with international development being the career I am working towards.

What is the cold chain you ask? To briefly answer, the cold chain describes the temperature management of perishable products in order to maintain quality and safety from the point of slaughter or harvest through the distribution chain to the final consumer. This system includes linkages (postharvest, transportation, consolidation/warehousing and storage, and retail) that when not cohesive and functioning act to exacerbate food insecurity and food safety issues. With many developing countries relying upon open air markets and simple supply chains without the presence of temperature controlled means to send product to market, consumers and end users reap the consequences. I have been privileged to work with GCCA so far on projects that are working to address these inconsistencies and to establish cold chain presence in areas that have minimal or no cold chain opportunities. It has been incredible getting the opportunity to meet with leaders in the industry and change agents in country who are contributing to addressing this global issue.

While there have been many reasons to celebrate the great opportunities with the internship, there have also been many struggles. Working on a in a very fast paced office with continuous deliverable assignments can be stressful. With projects and due dates, there comes a need to have open communication and reliable work quality. However, accompanying these struggles, there has been the opportunity for me to grow. It has been amazing to see how much I have learned in just this past month about navigating a professional business environment and how to balance my time between efficient, quality work and time for fun.

On to the fun. Finally, right? Being in D.C. there is an overwhelming amount of attention grabbing activities, events, and landmarks. So far I have attended the Presidential Inauguration, numerous monuments/historical sites, and attempted to make a dent in the local food scene (this has proven to be an impossible task). I can only say to any future intern, or interested reader, do not make excuses to limit your time here in D.C. There are way too many things to see and experience to allow for down time to turn into missed out opportunities. Even just the tricky task of finding good Mexican food in D.C. has been one of these opportunities for me. Take every chance you can get to say yes to these experiences, and say yes to the ones that you might not normally say yes to. This has opened up so many doors for me just in this first month!

With all of the time spent at work and trying to enjoy every second of this amazing city I can only say enjoy the little things. It has been the little things in this internship that have been the greatest moments of this internship. I know that the people I will meet here and the opportunities I have to grow will only exponentially send me towards my career goal of working in international development.

So enjoy the little things, and try and answer the question, what can you be doing now to make a greater impact on a topic you’re passionate about?

Joel Taylor
Global Cold Chain Alliance
Washington, D.C.