City and state: Seattle, WA
High school attended: Clover Park High School
Graduation year: 1983
Colleges attended/degrees earned:
- North Seattle Community College, associate’s degree in English
- University of Washington
Co-Founder, Top Pot Doughnuts & Coffee Co.
Describe the path you took from high school graduation to where you are today:
I was one of eight children and grew up in Lakewood. When my father passed away in 1991, my mother moved out of her Lakewood home and up to Seattle to be closer to my brothers and sisters. It was at that time that my brother Michael and I took on the task of remodeling the house she would move into. Michael and I had very little construction experience and at best were self-taught. We persevered working side by side and found that we made a good team. Eventually we took on more projects around Seattle as a way to make money. The more we got into construction and design, the more we refined our craft and transitioned into building out commercial spaces such as restaurants and cafes. From this experience, Michael opened his first coffee shop in 1993. In 2000, we partnered in a small Pioneer Square coffee shop. With so much great coffee coming out of Seattle, we felt the need to diversify and bring something different in to complement the overall experience. We both shared a love for doughnuts and knew that combined with coffee could be a great concept. A short time later, we decided to open our first Top Pot Doughnut shop in February 2002 on Capitol Hill in Seattle. The concept proved to be a winner. This past November we opened our 20th café. What started as a café with eight employees has now grown to more than 250.
How did your experiences in Clover Park School District help prepare you for this path?
A lot of what I do comes down to communication and I feel Clover Park High School prepared me well. In have helped when writing press releases and other documents. Clover Park also fostered my ability to put myself out there which I’ve used during television cooking shows and presentations. particular, I enjoyed English and writing classes which
Who was the most influential teacher or administrator to you as a student in the district? Why?
There were a number of individuals who influenced me while attending Clover Park High School. PE teacher Jack Pelander was tough but fair if you did the work and put in the effort. Merle Hagbo and Bruce Brummond also had a positive impact on me during my time at Clover Park.
Do you have any favorite memories from when you attended school in Clover Park School District?
There was a running class we participated in during PE. We would go out as a class and run throughout Lakewood. Back then, we were able to develop our own running routes and it was fun to explore all the nooks and crannies of Lakewood.
What opportunities exist in your career sector for new graduates? Is postsecondary education required for this field?
I would recommend in school pick something you excel at and stick with it. It’s also really important to know how to work with others and carry on a conversation with people. I’ve enjoyed working side by side with my brother. Have a passion for what you do. If you do something you love, the rewards will naturally follow. The rewards can sometimes be financial but more importantly you find a reward in self-fulfillment.