NBBQA Enters a New Era

Posted By: Vic Clevenger NBBQA Latest News,

One of the most well-known names in BBQ. He was there from the very beginning. Anyone you have heard of from the BBQ world who've been on TV, Podcasts, the moon, he has their phone numbers in is “Rolodex” (do people still have these?) and can call them at the drop of a hat. When he calls them, they all say, Hey Kell! How in the world are you?” You see, Kell Phelps not only knows everyone who is anyone, but they also know him and like him. I am not sure, but I do believe Kell’s blood is a deep color of BBQ sauce. The owner, editor, and janitor of the BBQ News, Kell Phelps is someone who is highly respected in our world.

When it comes to the NBBQA, he has been to every conference we’ve had. Shoot, his dad was one of the founders of our association. A few years ago the idea was tossed around about making the NBBQA a business, run like a business but with the association’s membership always in the forefront. As this idea was floated around COVID hit and everything was shelved. Now, with the pandemic in the rearview mirror, Kell thought the time was right for a new era of leadership in the NBBQA.

 We sat down with Kell and asked him a few questions about the NBBQA and the future of our association. Spoiler alert, things are looking great, and when you read this interview, you’ll smile and agree.


  1. How and why did the founders begin the NBBQA? You are the perfect one to give us a brief history of how the NBBQA got started. This will be helpful to all our new members.  The Association was started to help others get into the BBQ family and help them not make the same mistakes they did.  It was meant to be much like a mentoring group.


  1. It was great to get back together for the conference. What was your favorite part, if you can name just one or two, of this year's conference?  1. Sunny Moody KILLED IT! Her keynote address was perfect.  We can’t wait to share the video next week!   2. I had the opportunity to host the Meet The Masters' panel…and loved chatting with those BBQ Heroes. 3. The High School kids were beyond AWESOME! They stole the show and left everyone with a huge smile on their face!


  1. It was during the conference and in our previous newsletter, that the announcement was made about the NBBQA entering a new era in leadership. Why did you and Janet decide this was the time for a change?  This entire deal was offered to us by President Barbara Latimer and Treasurer Ken Phillips and the entire board unanimously agreed.  After much prayer and discussion among us, Janet and I felt led to accept the offer. We just could not see this organization close without giving one last big swing…and with the recent show of support we have received we feel confident that this swing will result in a home run!  


  1. What is changing within the NBBQA?  We are going to become very consistent and very busy. In the past, we have been on a roller coaster of highs and lows but our main focus is going to make sure every member sees the benefit of being a member and not have to question “Why am I a member?”


  1. Of course, a follow-up to this would be, what is staying the same?  The mission! NBBQA is about helping those who want to know more by networking with those who have been there and done that. The association started with a core group that practiced this daily and this can never go away. We will also continue to have an advisory board made up of different sectors inside the barbecue and grilling industry. Many of these members will consist of past board members for sure.


  1. What do you see the membership looking like moving forward and the benefits of being a part of the new NBBQA?Hopefully, as we grow our benefits will grow as well. We have some 1,2, and 5-year goals already set and those are going to help keep us busy moving forward so we can meet and exceed them. We will have video access to every session


  1. Tell us about plans for future conferences and meet-ups around the country.  The annual conference will continue to happen and we will be trying to avoid using the typical conference centers and will work hard to find those facilities that allow us a little more freedom. We have site visits already slated for the 2023 event and hope to be announcing that location shortly.   

We are planning to have smaller one-day events across the country hosted by our members inside their businesses.  The very first event is planned for August 14-15, 2022, in Catawissa, PA at Big Dan’s BBQ.  Janet and I are working with Dan and Denise Bosworth and their staff to make this event not only about networking but an opportunity for education outside of the conference.


  1. What will the board of advisors look like and, if you can, who will be a part of them?  The advisory board will be made of folks from different sectors of the barbecue world from the backyard to the corporations. 


  1. With this new change, where do you see the NBBQA going in the future? We sure hope it will continue the trend that we are seeing now.  Currently, we have hired our first full-time employee to help us with the massive workload. This is going to allow us to focus on the upcoming events while making sure we dot our i’s and cross our t’s.  

 Member retention will be a must for us to reach our goals so we have got to do things right the first time.


  1. What "top secret" news can we break right here today?  The biggest news at present is the NBBQA Gathering at Big Dan's in August, but there are other similar events that will be coming in other areas of the country.  We are getting all the loose ends tied up from the conference and the changing of the guards and then we will be contacting each member personally to discuss their need as an NBBQA member.  


  1. How can we as members reach you with any questions?  Our office number is 1-800-385-0002 or our direct email: admin@nbbqa.org.


  1. How can we, as members, get the word out about these exciting changes within the NBBQA?  Please share all of the information happening now and coming shortly on our social media channels.  #NBBQA or #NBBQAmember and Tell others about your NBBQA experience.


  1. What other message would you like to send to those reading this?  We want to send a HUGE THANK YOU for the support of this decision.  Please know none of us would be here in the NBBQA if it wasn’t for those hard-working and selfless board members that came before us. THANK YOU TO THAT CREW. They kept NBBQA afloat when it should have drowned like many other associations.


 WOW! Thank you Kell and Janet for taking the time to not only answer our questions, but also your commitment to   BBQ and the NBBQA.


Dear reader, you heard it from our leader, go tell someone about the NBBQA. This association is needed for the information, fellowship, and networking to help everyone grow, from the backyard cook to the most seasoned pitmaster.