Mike Woitach is a co-founder of Confluence Coffee with Terry Darcy. He brings a background in business, with training in accounting and experience with some of the largest companies in the field. His major roles in the company are working with numbers, logistics, and viewing the big picture and trends. Check out what he’s up to in the city:
What’s a typical day for you?
I usually try to get up around 5:30am-6:30am to carve out some time to think and read before the craziness begins. I’m usually a zombie so I have one of our nitro cans, which allows me to be functional again. I just finished Elon Musk’s biography and it’s phenomenal. If anyone is interested in entrepreneurship or how a high-achiever operates, I would recommend it.
I get to the shared kitchen space (ScratchDC’s TaseLab) anywhere from 7:30am-9am and check orders, follow up with emails, get any kind of paperwork stuff done and then I usually spend a good chunk of the day brewing, bottling and kegging the coffee.
I often grab lunch at the Mom’s Organic Market at NY Ave (we also just started selling product there) because it’s very close to our space and then head back to work. In the afternoon I’ll schedule any meetings I have with suppliers or potential retailers where we want to sell our coffee. I’m usually horrific with estimating how long things are going to take so even though I usually plan on being home by 6pm I usually end up home by 7pm or 8pm, I’ll grab dinner with friends or my girlfriend (I usually like to cook but haven’t had much time lately) and then I’ll try and work out, plan my day for tomorrow, and read once again.
What or who is your biggest influence?
I wouldn’t be where I am now without my parents. They spent a lot of money and time on raising me and I think they gave me the best possible start I could get. They laid the foundation for everything. In terms of what I’m doing now, I would say my girlfriend Hannah has been a huge influence on me. Before I met her I was prepping to go be a public accountant and just setting myself up for a miserable life that just wasn’t my style. Where everyone else said things that were mainly positive and unthinking about the career choice like: “Oh, yeah, public accounting is a great start. Good pay. They’ll always need accountants.” Hannah instead asked, “Why do you want to do that? Is that really what you’re interested in?” She helped me realize that I was really in it for the money, not because it’s where my interests were. She really has this zest for life and prioritizes what’s important better than I ever could. She made me assess where I was and go after what I really wanted to do.
What neighborhood do you live in?
In between DuPont and Logan Circle, a couple blocks from the 14th St Corridor. I just moved here and it’s the bomb.
What is your biggest DC pet peeve?
How it seems like there’s no real progress on the situation for the homeless here. It’s really horrible that people have to live their lives under that kind of stress and uncertainty, right next to incredible wealth. Once Confluence grows to the point where I can afford to put a meaningful amount of money elsewhere, that’s definitely something I’d like to help solve.
Favorite music artist of all time?
I don’t listen to them much anymore but when I was a kid I loved the Red Hot Chili Peppers. They just had this great crazy energy about them and it always fascinated me how much their style changed over the course of their musical careers.
Favorite DC haunt?
When I lived over in Capitol Hill it was Acqua Al 2, what I think is the best Italian food in the city. Now that I live near 14th St. I often go to Church Key. Whenever I’m meeting up with a friend I haven’t seen in a while, I bring them there because of the epic beer selection and good bar food.
What’s your favorite thing to do on a Sunday afternoon?
I work on more Sunday afternoons than I would care to admit, but if I really have some free time and no plans, I’d probably head over to The Coffee Bar (TCB) and read a book, followed by a good bike ride on the path past Georgetown.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
DC! I moved here after college for a reason.
If you couldn’t be a…, what would you be?
I think I’m exactly where I want to be. I see what I’m doing now as part of a grander life plan. I have belief that the way the food system operates is creating a lot of illness, environmental stresses and aiding to lost productivity and competitiveness for Americans. My goal is to create businesses that change the paradigm of the food system by creating demand for products that are low in sugar, have no additives, and are more nutritious than their mono-culture counterparts. That’s why our coffee is shade grown, all our ingredients are organic, and our Mocha only has 4g of sugar per bottle (versus the 15g-40g+ you normally see in other sugary drinks).
This is phase one in a series of business that will help do this. Why not start with a drink that 83% of U.S. adults start their day with?
I find it hard to watch a movie more than once, so I don’t really have “favorites” but here’s a few I’ve liked recently:
Going Clear, Man on Wire and Big Eyes
Name five people, alive or dead, you’d love to invite to a dinner party.
Tim Ferriss (I listen to his podcast religiously), Seth Godin, Anthony Bourdain, Elon Musk, and Michael Pollan.
Most embarrassing moment?
I once lost a bet and had to get my chest waxed as the three victors stood around and watched me writhe in pain, Steve Carell in 40-Year Old Virgin style.