Che Ruddell-Tabisola

Che Ruddell-Tabisola (in white) of the BBQ Bus is the new Executive Director of the DCFTA

WASHINGTON DC – The D.C. Food Truck Association held its annual meeting — its first — yesterday, and one of the first orders of business was naming a new executive director. Kristi Whitfield, co-owner of Curbside Cupcakes, decided to step down after a year in the job.

“I would say that it’s important for such a young organization to not get too attached to one executive director,” Whitfield said this afternoon. ”It’s important to draw upon the diverse talents of the organization.”

Besides, she noted, she won’t exactly be sitting on the sidelines now. “I do intend to remain extremely engaged” with the association.

Replacing Whitfield is Che Ruddell-Tabisola, co-owner and operator of the BBQ Bus. Ruddell-Tabisola is a founding member of the association, even though he and his partner didn’t launch their truck until April of last year.

Ruddell-Tabisola says his history of activism — he also worked as acampaigner for the Human Rights Campaign in California — is one of the strengths he brings to his new position.

“I have some very good experience that we can put to use,” Ruddell-Tabisola said during a phone interview. “I offer some experience in terms of the mechanics of the campaign and all the many pieces of the campaign,” including communications and media relations.


Ruddell-Tabisola’s experience could come in handy for the Food Truck Association, a 33-member group that has next to nothing in terms of finances and only a part-time lobbyist to do its bidding. The association is in a dogfight with bricks-and-mortar restaurants and their allies, such as the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, over new vending regulations that will determine the future of food trucks and carts in the District.

The proposed vending regulations, which the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs issued on Jan. 20, are viewed as far more food-truck friendly than the ones published 19 months earlier. Ruddell-Tabisola credits the positive changes to Whitfield and the other first-year executives with the association.

“The conversation around mobile vending has changed dramatically” because of the association, the new executive director noted.

Still, Ruddell-Tabisola pointed out, the proposed regulations are “not perfect.” The association picked apart certain sections of the proposed rules in an online petition.

Find the entire article by Tim Carman from The Washington Post <here>