Global CEO Excellence Awards 2022

CEO MONTHLY / Global CEO Excellence Awards 2022 26 Coffee Roasting CEO of theYear (North America): Craig James For the last 88 years, the team at Barrie House Coffee Company have been developing delicious coffee beans to tantalise tastebuds from all backgrounds. Now a third generation business, owned by three brothers, we take a look to see how the current CEO, Craig James, has pushed the organisation forward, earning acclaim in CEO Monthly’s Global CEO Excellence Awards 2022. Barrie House is a business based on quality and taste. Their reputation within coffee circles is legendary, with the team producing coffee for brands across North America. When Craig James stepped into the CEO position, he saw a business that has an amazing foundation from which he could produce stunning results. Now, a few years later, he has seen the firm launch its own Barrie House branded product line in the middle of the pandemic and quickly gain traction across the United States. Craig’s background is in Culinary Arts and International Management, with his career beginning with graduation from The Culinary Institute of America. After five years as a pastry chef, where he was awarded Best of Philly for Wedding Cakes, he went back to school for a business degree. In his first semester, he was hired by Mobil Oil, going on to spend 22 years working with ExxonMobil in their downstream and corporate divisions. Here, he had the opportunity to undertake a robust leadership development including an MBA in International Management from Kenan-Flagler at the University of North Carolina and through the firm’s Leadership Development Program which consisted of classes at Kenan-Flagler (UNC), Thunderbird School of Management, and Kellogg business schools. This strong business acumen put him in good stead for his time at Barrie House. Every day is different, and the role calls upon the diverse set of skills he has developed over nearly thirty years. At the heart of his approach, however, is a desire to listen to employees and partners to ensure harmony in all areas. Business leaders fail because they do not understand the challenges facing their teams. Craig knows all of his employees by name and knows their situations so that he can support them to the best that he can. Craig’s desire to ensure that Barrie House stands apart as a premier coffee provider has driven him to explore new and different ways of working. Not only has he established Barrie House as a coffee brand in its own right, now available in over a thousand locations in 32 states, he has considered how to make the company more sustainable in its efforts. Working with industry partners, the team are planting genetically pure seedlings, obtained from CATIE University to acquire the best practices that ensure the development of longterm, sustainable crops. Two farming partners in Costa Rica are the pilots for this new scheme, both of which are women-owned farms and are well-known leaders in Costa Rica for gender equity, environmental efforts and excellent cup profiles. The recent industry challenges have obviously affected Craig and his team’s ability to thrive, but whilst hospitality suffered during the pandemic, he found ways to pivot the business to focus on retail and eCommerce to offset the downturn. This additional revenue stream has been a major boon to the team and allowed them more control over their futures. Craig is a strong believer in open communication and when he first arrived at Barrie House, he took the door off his office. It was a clear sign that he was always going to be available to the people he worked for. Barrie House had been a traditional family business when he arrived, essentially run by two people. Now it’s a thriving organisation, with an enviable portfolio and a management team that is second to none. Every experience to date has guided Craig’s approach to the firm, and it’s an approach which makes people feel safe and empowered so that they do their best work. Through tough times, and the last few years have been tough for all of us, it’s an approach which has been proven to pay off. Company: Barrie House Coffee Company Name: Craig M. James Email: [email protected] Web Address: “Craig’s desire to ensure that Barrie House stands apart as a premier coffee provider has driven him to explore new and different ways of working” “ “