We’re a small team, but you’ll find that if you’ve been doing business with us there are familiar names, a wealth of industry experience, and some energetic new comers. It’s with great pleasure that we present our team.
Kent Bakke | CEO
Kent’s interest in coffee started at a young age. Growing up in a small town in Central California, both of his parents were avid coffee drinkers. Kent’s mother often told the story of Kent, as a small child, going around the house after his parents’ friends had been over for coffee, sipping any last drops that may have been left in their cups.In 1970 Kent migrated from California to Seattle to attend Seattle Pacific College. In 1977, after college, Kent met a couple with whom he purchased a soup and sandwich shop in the Pioneer Square neighborhood of Seattle called Hibble and Hyde. Tucked into the back of the restaurant, Kent found a vertical, brass coffee maker – an “expresso” machine, as they called them back then. This marked the start of Kent Bakke’s espresso career.
With the help of a few friends, Kent became connected to the approximately seven other espresso machines in Seattle at the time. Kent soon began servicing and repairing these machines (learning as he went along). In 1978, a friend suggested that together they import machines and sell them; this lead to Kent and two others taking their first trip to Italy. They met La Marzocco and CMA, and returned home with both brands in hand, ready to bring espresso to the Northwest.
In the beginning years, Kent and his team would sell, install, repair, and teach people about the machines. Today, things aren’t too much different; Kent is still making trips to the La Marzocco factory in Italy, bridging the gap in cultures and continuing communication across seas.
What Kent Does at La Marzocco USA:
Kent is the CEO of La Marzocco International. He oversees the US and Italian offices, as well as business throughout the world. He travels internationally quite often to visit our customers around the world, but when in Seattle, he always makes a point of seeing our local customers and building new relationships.
Email: kent (at) lamarzocco (dot) com
Joe Monaghan | President
Joe is a lifelong Washingtonian. He’s worked with coffee since 1977, beginning at the Wet Whisker (a precursor to Seattle’s Best Coffee), where he roasted coffee. It was during those years that Joe met Kent Bakke, through whom he was introduced to espresso brewing. It was from those years that the coffee business got in Joe’s blood – hooking him for life.In 1980 Joe started working with La Marzocco (and Kent) with the company, Vision Espresso Sales. And really, outside of a few side projects, he has been working in coffee ever since.
Joe’s hobbies include fly fishing, fly fishing, and well – fly fishing! He also enjoys cooking and anything related to food. As a side project, he’s currently researching raising chickens.
What Joe Does at La Marzocco USA:
Joe is the president of La Marzocco USA, managing an incredible group of staff members. He spends most of his time working with them, but also appreciates any chance to interact with our customers and individuals within the coffee community.
Email: Joe (at) lamarzoccousa (dot) com
John Blackwell | Product Management
John Blackwell is a 34-year veteran of the specialty coffee world, working with La Marzocco for the entirety of those years. John helped build the first espresso cart in Seattle and since then has been responsible for many developments in espresso brewing and grinding.John has an advanced, formal education that he utilizes to common-sensibly solve problems. He has dabbled in almost every industry one could imagine, including teaching 4th graders at an elementary school.
When you can pry a coffee cup from his hands, John will replace it with a wrench or binoculars and act as a race car engineer or a master birder, with a life list that stretches to thousands.
What John Does at La Marzocco USA:
John is a partner in La Marzocco and was responsible for the La Marzocco U.S. manufacturing facility (during the period that LM manufactured machines in the States). He is a member of the Underwriter Laboratories (UL) review board that regulates espresso machines.
Email: John (at) lamarzoccousa (dot) com