I had the fortune to work with Mike at Coffee Solutions, which was a consulting and training company I founded to service the global coffee industry.  He also was Chief of Staff at SCAA when I was board President.  So, I’ve seen him in action on a number of fronts.  There were a lot of successes, but that’s not what you need to know.  You need to know this:

  • He’s a force multiplier. In addition to the formidable personal skills he brings to your management team, he makes the rest of your team better.  Everyone who works with Mike can tell a personal development story that stems from working with him.
  • He understands that a message, no matter how carefully crafted, is useless unless it connects with its intended target. When your message is right but your target is wrong, he’ll help you fix that.  (And vice-versa, of course)
  • When he tells a story, he doesn’t just convey information. He makes you relate to it as a human.  That’s a gift.
  • If I have an important message to write, whether personal or professional, it never leaves my desk without him reviewing it first. It always ends up better (or not sent) once he’s had a look.
  • If there is a more fundamentally decent and genuine human being on Earth than Mike, we should probably capture them and study them for science’s sake.
  • If you don’t want your personal productivity, message discipline and professional standards improved, then you should probably pass…because he does that stuff.

Rob Stephen / Trader, International Business Development Manager / Olam Coffee

I had the opportunity to work with Mike during my tenure at a company that was experiencing the pitfalls and benefits of growing up. Together we plodded through the redesign of the company’s most successful website to date, moved an entire production facility, rocked a pretty good party for several hundred of our closest clients and friends, and did our best to infuse passion and order to the chaos of a company going through rapid change. I consider Mike as much of a mentor as I do a friend, and as a young person, found that his trust and confidence in me has inspired me later in life to show the same to others. Mike is a thoughtful leader, an inspirer, and a genuinely good person (he’s also a bit of a clown and a magician too). Now, as a business owner, I find that much of what I learned from Mike is part of my everyday life- and his continued support as a friend, mentor, and fellow marketing/coffee geek is the reason it’s so easy to say such nice things.

Wes Buckwalter  / currently owner of SeaMonster Studios

I believe Mike’s tremendous success and enormous contribution to SCAA sprang from his innate ability to personally identify with and connect to the coffee industry and the unique role in which it is served by SCAA.  Not only did he enjoy the product, becoming one of specialty coffee’s most prolific advocates, he also became close personal friends with many of SCAA’s members.  Their concerns became his concerns; their worries became his worries; and their success became his stories about them.  He managed a very inter-connected and inter-active marketing communications program with great success.

Ted Lingle / Former Executive Director SCAA

Mike was one of the best supervisors I’ve ever had. He is smart, calculated, knowledgeable, passionate and sincerely cares for his employees. He was always approachable and would always take time to teach and mentor. During my time in the coffee industry, I learned the most from Mike – he has so much to offer to his employees and his company.

Nikki LaRochelle  / currently owner of Nikki LaRochelle Design

Mike Ferguson’s coffee experience and industry relationships paired with his ability to connect with people may be unparalleled. He is insightful and leads by example. He connects with folks through social media using humor. When he’s trying to have fun he nails it. When he’s making a point nobody misses it. I learned more from Mike than anyone I’ve ever worked with.

Ren Doughty / Outreach and Customer Support at Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters

I’ve known Mike for more than a dozen years. I first knew him as the face of the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCCA), where he had the thankless task of being the affable and unflappable host of several thousand conference and exposition participants – folk from more than 40 countries and comprising every sort of social and political strata: smallholder farmers, coffee cooperative unions, plantation owners, C-level “Mr. Big” types from some of the largest conglomerates in the world – and he did it with grace, a great story, and a (sometimes weary) smile.

Mike had the foresight, even while he was host to all of the above, to engage the emerging “prosumer” class of coffee enthusiasts like me… folks who weren’t in the trade, but who were enthusiastic, inventive, curious and highly active in the nascent social channels afforded by the Internet. We became known as “Fergie’s C-Members,” and, with Mike’s support, we helped bring about a new chapter in the Specialty Coffee canon that was far more focused on the consumer experience.

I’ve known Mike as a passionate board-member and tireless advocate for the nonprofit, Coffee Kids,  which, singularly among many NPOs operating in coffee growing communities – and in no small part because of Mike’s influence – has long been recognized as a highly collaborative partner of farmers and farmer organizations, where other organizations tend to be highly prescriptive and formulaic.

Most recently I’ve worked with Mike in a professional capacity in his role as Director of Business Development at Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters. In that role I have consistently found Mike to be not only a creative, collaborative and engaged storyteller, but the well from which others draw to discern and affirm the values and identity of the Batdorf brand.

Doug Cadmus /  IT Director, eCommerce, The Orvis Company

It is rare to enjoy a sense of autonomy in the workplace. I have had the privilege of working under the guidance of Mike Ferguson for the past seven years at Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters. He led our team with a management style based on mutual respect and collaboration. His passion was excellence- excellence in service, excellence in delivered product.  This passion brought out the excellence in those who worked with him. His belief in us brought out our best. Mike is a writer and it is in his writing that his creativity, wit, and thoughtful intellect shine.  He used his talent to highlight those of his colleagues. I will miss working alongside him.

Jennifer Dalmy / Regional Sales Manager at Batdorf & Bronson

Ferguson is a storyteller- someone who understands that great companies need the right story to be told. I am so proud AND humbled that I got to work with him for several years learning how we talk about what we do best. His ability to look across a company and choose the right tales to tell, and how to help the right people tell them, has been a benefit to my professional development. Also, he is funny.

Joshua Russert / Outreach and Customer Support at Batdorf & Bronson