TJ Semanchin found his way to coffee in 1999 after working and traveling in Latin America, focusing on sustainable development. Convinced that fair trade, organic coffee was the best bet for farmers in Latin America, TJ returned to the States and has been involved in the coffee industry working for social change ever since. He is married with two children and likes to hit the trail on his mountain bike or x-country skis depending on the season.
For most of his adult life, Caleb Nicholes has been a professional gourmand, including three years as an importer of boutique European wines and nine years as a coffee roaster. His work in the wine industry took him all over France, Italy, and Spain where he learned that "if you run fast enough, you don't actually run with the bulls." Caleb is married with four children.
Director of Operations
Though he has not yet achieved his lifelong ambition of being the frontman of a T-Rex cover band, Luke Brekke enjoys living anyway. Kickapoo Coffee’s most veteran staffer, Luke sticks around because whatever he's doing--whether roasting, bagging coffee, or working on the big picture stuff--being at Kickapoo rarely feels like work. Of course, access to good coffee doesn't hurt either. Luke is a sucker for coffees from Kenya but is always on the lookout for those occasional knock-out lots from Honduras. He lives in La Crosse with his wife and two daughters.
Director of Marketing
Jamie Lamonde feels grateful to have worked in the organic and cooperative movements for her entire career. As a marketer, she has a deep commitment to nurturing positive social change through values-driven, education-based outreach. Her personal mission is to build bridges between family farmers and eaters to change the food system for the better. Jamie spends as much time playing outside as possible and lives nearby the beautiful Kickapoo Valley Reserve in rural Southwest Wisconsin with her husband, David and two sons, River and Ezra.
Cafe Sales & Education Manager
Lissy Matthews first became interested in specialty coffee while caffeinating her way through college. Her passion for sustainable development, human rights, and global trade made a long term commitment to the industry a natural fit. Lissy has experience in customer service, café and staff management, and as a trained Barista. She is also a SCAA certified Instructor, SCAA certified Level 1 Barista, and is an active member of the Barista Guild of America. She and her husband live in Viroqua with an incorrigible canine.
Grocery Sales Coordinator
Alex Stoffregen has been home roasting coffee since he was 17 and soon after began roasting professionally in his hometown of La Crosse, Wisconsin. He continued to refine his coffee knowledge while attending UW-La Crosse. His senior research thesis focused on the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange for which he spent a month traveling in rural Ethiopia before starting with Kickapoo Coffee. As a foodie who is interested in travel and socially conscious trade models, coffee is a natural fit. Alex can be found in cafes, in restaurants, and around cupping tables around the world.
Customer Support Coordinator
Havvah Spicer's love of food and fine beverages was nurtured from a young age and has continued throughout her career in the foodservice industry. Add in Havvah's enjoyment of working and connecting with people, and it's the perfect combination for her role as Kickapoo Coffee's customer support coordinator. Havvah is also a yoga instructor, dancer and mother of two beautiful children.
Before Jay Skrede joined the production team, he braved teaching middle schoolers for a decade and then worked in the food industry as a sales representative for nearly as long. When Jay isn't pulling espresso shots at home, you can find him on two wheels. Whether it be road, mountain or his favorite, cyclocross, Jay loves cycling around Vernon County, Wis. - a place his family has called home for four generations.
Akram Abed moved to the Driftless from the Philadelphia area. He earned an International Relations degree from Brown University and continued on to work with youth-focused organizations that supported and improved communities. New to the coffee industry, Akram is exuberant as he learns about coffee sourcing, roasting, brewing, and its ability to nourish coffee-growing communities abroad. Encouraged by the landscape, Akram, his partner Nora, and their dog Copper take hikes, paddles, and bike rides year-round.
Production & Roasting Assistant
Ryan Matthews began his career at Kickapoo Coffee as our delivery driver and production assistant, transitioning to roasting in summer 2016. What he enjoys most about coffee roasting is the constant problem solving, the pursuit of excellence and the 450°F adrenaline rush of standing beside an angry cast-iron dragon. When Ryan’s not roasting coffee, he’s working on an MFA in creative writing, relearning guitar or taking walks with his wife, Lissy, and their pup, Lando. He’s shorter than Akram but every bit as handsome.
Milwaukee Cafe Co-owner & Manager
Scott Lucey has been a barista since 2002 and enjoys so much about working with coffee. He's been a leading member of the Specialty Coffee Association, most specifically with the Barista Guild of America (BGA). He served on the BGA's executive council for 7 years to help develop the extensive educational program that exists today as well as Barista Camp--both of which serve as milestones in many baristas’ careers. Scott has also been a barista competitor for numerous years, winning the 2009 Great Lakes Regional and that same year placing 3rd in the United States Barista Competition. Having a cafe of his own has long been a dream for Scott, and today you can find him in our Milwaukee cafe happily steering the ship.
Viroqua Cafe Co-owner & Manager
Allison Sandbeck joined the team to jump into production and get her hands on the roaster. After a lifetime of working in commercial kitchens, catering, cooking and baking, Allison decided to switch things up and learn the art of coffee. She's a New Yorker born and raised but has worn many hats and called many places home. Viroqua has provided a beautiful landscape to raise her 4 children, practice being athletic and literally fiddle around. Very soon you’ll find her managing our new cafe in Viroqua, serving up the perfect hometown experience.