We have a saying around Royal Cup: "It is not the some of us, but the sum of us who make the difference". That being said, we love to feature the different faces around Royal Cup in our monthly employee spotlight, which we call The Sum of Us. This month we talk with Mike Powell, our director of food service and hospitality for the South Central region.
Mike Powell has been with Royal Cup for 20 years (wow!). Get to know him more in the interview below.
Describe your typical work day.
Do we have "typical days" at Royal Cup? As a field sales and operations director, I get to touch so many parts of our business. One minute we’re discussing how to roll out hundreds of new accounts for a regional chain, and the next we’re creating a proprietary, micro-roasted coffee for a James Beard Award winning chef. I joined up and continue to work here because there are no typical days.
Tell us about your journey at Royal Cup.
I met Royal Cup's CEO Emeritus, Hatton Smith, at a United Way fundraiser. Hatton and I talked that night, and his passion for coffee, people, and his family's company was evident. The next day, I woke up with a job in the coffee and tea business -- it was almost that fast.
I am now in my twentieth year with Royal Cup. I started as a management trainee at the corporate office in Birmingham. After about eight months, Ben Pitts moved me up to Washington, D.C., where I took over as an account executive. Then, I moved up to the branch and then district manager positions. In 2011, our 40-year veteran director, Bob Reed, decided to retire. Ben called me again, and I moved home to take over the South Central region.
In your mind, what differentiates Royal Cup from other coffee and tea companies?
Let’s face it, there are A LOT of coffee companies to choose from, but we are different.
We’re family owned since 1896. That’s over 120 years of making great coffee and tea and taking care of our customers. You don’t make it that far unless you love what you do. We’re all about promoting our clients' names, not our own, and we’re there to make their vision happen.
I may be biased, but our H.C. Valentine coffee is some of the best coffee in the world.
Lastly, I know it sounds ridiculous, but it all comes down to our people. These are some of the most passionate, coffee-crazed folks I’ve ever known. There is an old guest service saying at Ritz-Carlton, “radar up, antennae on" -- that’s who we are. We hire for the hospitality personality that is actively looking to make things better for our customers and our team.
What's your favorite Royal Cup product?
Right now, I’m going through a H.C. Valentine Costa Rican Tarrazu phase. It’s bright with heavy citrus notes and one of the cleanest finishes you’ll ever find. Pura Vida!