Almost 3 years ago I came to work for Rogers Family Company and one of the first people I met was Juan Flores. He was gracious, kind, helpful and so knowledgeable. Juan made my on-boarding with the company a memorable experience, and I still thank him for it.
Recently, Juan hit a huge milestone with the company. A milestone that most folks will never reach in their careers. Juan is celebrating 25 years with the Rogers Family Company.
25 years on the job means Juan has a unique insight into the history of our company and we had to ask him some questions about the early days, learn why he has stayed with the company so long and where he goes from here.
How old were you when you started working for the company?
I was 23 years old when I started working for JBR Coffee & Tea, now San Francisco Bay Coffee.
What was your first job with the company?
I was hired to build displays for coffee bags which were made out of wood and metal pieces. There were 15 of us working on those displays at the time, only 2 of us still work for the company.
15 years ago - Juan moving pallets of coffee.
What is your job now?
Plant Supervisor, but I've worked almost every position in the company, including Quality Control. I'm a certified Q-Grader.
What’s the first thing you remember from the beginning of your career with the company?
Back then there were only about 20 employees working for the company, it was nowhere near the size it is today. I remember roasting from 5am to 8pm, grinding from 9am to 11pm, and packing the coffee from 11am to 2pm.
The scale we used to weigh the coffee bags is now listed under "Antique platform scale" when you Google it.
It's amazing to look at the old equipment we had back then and compare it to what we have now. It's great seeing those machines out on display here at the company for the tours, they remind me of my beginnings with this company.
Old Equipment Display
What is your best memory from the last 25 years working for the company?
I can honestly tell you it's been working with the Rogers family. I have the utmost respect for Jon and Barbara Rogers who have always been genuine people. You don’t always get to see a family start a small business and turn it into a growing, successful company.
What has been the biggest change in the last 25 years?
The biggest change would be moving from the San Leandro, CA to Lincoln,CA. The company outgrew the building it was in, so it needed to move. The new location has allowed the company to continue to grow as well as employ more people, which is always good to see. I think it’s a milestone for a company that started with very few employees.
Your two children now work for the company. How does that make you feel?
It feels good to see them work here. I will share a short story; Pete Rogers brought in his son Johnny and asked me to show him how to roast coffee during his summer vacation. I remember Pete picked him up and said something like, "It would be a great thing to see my kids and your kids work for this company one day while me and you are retired."
I remember this every time I see my kids around the office. My son works for the IT department and my daughter works as a Sales Administrator which I feel very proud of. As a parent you want your kids to do better.
JUAN WITH GRANDKIDS
Why have you stayed so long?
I've learned to love coffee. I've developed a passion for coffee and the process it goes through from its beginnings high up on a mountain to our packaging machines. I've learned a lot through the opportunities I was given. Like I mentioned before I've worked almost every position here at the company which means there was a lot of room to grow. Besides, coffee is one of nature's greatest delights!
Anything you would like to add to this interview?
I feel privileged to have shared the company's growth throughout the 25 years I've been here. I'd love to retire here. It's been a long journey with a lot of good memories with the Rogers and all the people I've worked with.