July 31st will be my last day working for Intelligentsia Coffee. I’m leaving to focus on a new project I’m creating here in Chicago. It’ll be a little while ’til it opens, but in the meantime I’ll be working with some friends in the industry, and spending more time with my family.
Intelligentsia has been an incredible company to work for, and I firmly believe its best days are ahead. Doug Zell created a culture that was inspiring, demanding, and rewarding. He gave a long leash but told you to hustle. He empowered you to succeed and instilled a sense of self-critique that’s impossible to switch off. Intelli’s successes sometimes led to a perception of arrogance, and while there were certainly moments of swagger, there was never anyone more sensitive to our missteps than Doug and the rest of us.
Bolstered by giants like Geoff Watts and an incredible team too many to mention individually, Intelligentsia taught me so much about what coffee can be, and how business works. At a time when exciting coffee things are happening everywhere you look, Intelligentsia has always been the place I felt I could learn the most. A lot of friends have benefitted from this culture and either went on to do other things, or continued the endless pursuit for better at Intelli. I’ll miss my colleagues, but I’m excited to keep drinking the coffee they make for many years to come.