In 1972, Dave Buck was like many college students, just trying to determine what he wanted to do in life. Mid-way through his junior year, he decided to make a change. So he hitch-hiked from Detroit to San Francisco via Route 66 and finally back to Cleveland to be closer to his twin brother. He soon heard (from his now sister-in-law) about a new company holding open interviews. He showed up, interviewed and was hired as the 15th employee of an unknown start-up, created under North American Systems (NAS) owned by Samuel Glazer and Vincent Marotta, called Mr. Coffee. It was launched to recreate the coffee house experience at home using an automatic drip coffeemaker patented by Edmund Able, a self-taught engineer who became a mentor to Dave in the early years of his career.
In his first position, before there was a production line, Dave spent two weeks hand-molding and bending 5,000 heating coils that went into the first Mr. Coffee home brewing machines. Fast forward 45 years - Dave has since held positions in production, procurement, sourcing and product development, just to name a few, all in support of the Mr. Coffee brand.
“And it’s been an adventure ever since,” Dave said. From the first cup of “high test” coffee in the morning to riding his bike into the office, he’s always remained enthusiastic about a career that speaks to his passion: sharing a cup of coffee with the people in his life.
“[Riding my bike to work] keeps the blood flowing, keeps you active,” he said. “It puts the energy that you get from that first cup of coffee to use.”
Dave’s had the opportunity to watch the company grow from a single production line in a small building, to a 900,000 sq. ft. space in northeast Ohio. Shortly before Christmas in 1972, Mr. Coffee set a record by producing 1000 coffee makers a day. By the end of 1975, they were producing 40,000 a day.
I saw the effort of so many people working to one common goal. When you build something, when you’re a part of that, and know you are among the first to come on board, you become part of this story. And being a part of that success has always fired me up.
In 2000, Dave moved to South Florida after Mr. Coffee was acquired by Sunbeam. “Some of the best, most rewarding years of my career have been here in South Florida,” he said.
Today, Dave loves that his position as a Senior Manager in Product Development Engineering allows him to collaborate with other teams like Brand Marketing and Industrial Design to concept, execute and bring a product to our consumers.
“There are some really sharp, energetic, enthusiastic young people here. There’s an energy you get by being in that kind of environment,” he said. “Sometimes when you know what you know, you get a little stuck until somebody says, ‘What if we did this?’ and it kind of wakes you up a bit and you think to yourself, ‘Yeah, why not!’”
Maintaining that enthusiasm and always moving forward through innovation, design and staying ahead of the competition has contributed to the success of the brand and Dave’s loyalty to the company.
“It all has to do with the continued embrace of the consumer to coffee,” he said. “That’s what seems to have the fairy dust sprinkled on it.”
Since Mr. Coffee has become a part of Newell Brands, there’s been a whole new level of excitement in his career, Dave shared.
“When I think about retiring, things seem to get more exciting, another layer of fun is added on” he said. “We’re just at the start of this new adventure.”