Get To Know Craig!
Craig began his career as an entrepreneur and opened a bicycle shop in a suburb of Portland, Oregon in the early 1980’s. After a few years, he sold the business and entered the restaurant management sector, working in casual and fine dining. That led him to discover a coffee career in 1993 at the early growth stage of specialty coffee, joining a company known as Seattle’s Best Coffee, formerly Stewart Brothers Coffee. His passion for food and beverage translated very well to the diversity of coffee. He learned about small batches roasted to accentuate unique tastes, and it locked him in forever. The company soon grew and was acquired by Starbucks.
At Starbucks, he had 3 major internal careers: leading operations for Seattle’s Best Coffee, then a transition to Real Estate for US properties and Starbucks Store Operations. Finally, the pinnacle of his career at Starbucks was being asked to oversee Global Coffee Sourcing, Quality and Operations. Now the kid who grew up on a farm in Eastern Washington State was traveling to coffee farms all over the world, and connecting with producers in every coffee region. Having the responsibility and authority to invest in coffee regions, he led the expansion of farmer support centers from one country to eight and a program to provide over 10 million coffee trees to producers in need in 3 countries.
After retiring from Starbucks at the end of 2016, Craig consulted with his friends and colleagues at Mercon Coffee Group, and both agreed on another innovative idea. In 2019, Mercon leadership and Craig formed a partnership and opened Mercon Specialty to bring the finest coffees to roasters who buy typically less than a container. Mercon Specialty strives to expand access to specialty coffee, connecting roasters directly to producers.
Craig is passionate about making an impact and was a board member and interim CEO at FareStart in Seattle, a non-profit with a mission to end the cycle of poverty and homelessness. He is now a board member of Seeds for Progress, a non-profit that ensures access to education in rural coffee communities in Nicaragua and Guatemala. He also enjoys all outdoor activities especially skiing, hiking, fishing, and plenty of time with his family!