After growing up in Philadelphia, Steve has spent most of his adult life in Ann Arbor. He has held a number of positions in a variety of industries (from wholesale to retail), including holding a job as a Senior VP of operations for a furniture manufacturer, prior to coming to Zingerman’s. He has a range of interests and the uncanny ability to spend a ton of time on all of them at once. For example, Steve earned his MBA while working full time, raising his children, and also literally building an addition onto his home.
Steve wouldn’t have guessed that he would end up being a business owner in the coffee industry – when he had his first cup of coffee at age 19, he disliked it so much that he couldn’t swallow it. However, when Steve found his way to the Zingerman’s Coffee Company in 2006 to fill the role as sales manager, his passion, knowledge, and love for coffee grew. In this role, he quickly saw that the Coffee Company could grow by expanding its channels of distribution. During this period of building the business, Steve discovered that the culture, work environment, and values so closely aligned with his own that he decided to fulfill his dream of being an owner in 2008.
Steve has over 35 years of operational experience and is involved in every aspect of the business – from sourcing to roasting to building the wholesale base of customers. He travels to origin regularly, building relationships with producers. In order to build the business, Steve travels to potential wholesale customers to evaluate sales opportunities and to provide training and support to existing customers. He also participates in a number of Zingerman’s Partner’s Group committees.
Staying true to his desire of having multiple ventures going on at once, in 2017, he acquired the Zingerman’s Coffee Company acquired the Zingerman’s Candy Manufactory, so overseeing that merger and aligning staff with business needs has also been a high priority. Most recently, in 2020, Steve “doubled-down” again in Las Vegas and worked with his partners to open two food establishments: a delicatessen and a cafe, both open 27/4/365.
The chance to create opportunities for staff to learn and grow was a big motivator for Steve in becoming a partner at Zingerman’s and in all his ventures, as he strongly believes in followership and servant leadership. The principle of which is that leaders must serve those who choose to follow, not the other way around, as is the case in many organizations. One trip to the Coffee and/or Candy Company, seeing Steve interact with his employees and guests, shows that he lives this. He also loves the thrill of putting theory to work and action. As such he has a great passion for “execution” and has built a considerable operational experience base for doing so.
Steve is also active in a range of activities in the community. Most notably, recently having served on the board of Habitat for Humanity (HFH) of Huron Valley. In 2022, he was named Volunteer of the Year for HFH and currently helps to organize its annual golf outing.