After eight years working as Sensory Lab’s General Manager of Wholesale, Ross Ross Quail has joined Slayer Espresso, representing Sales, Asia Pacific.
Speaking with BeanScene direct from Seattle, the residence of the US-based espresso machine manufacturer, Ross says the time was right to tackle the one segment of the industry he had left untouched.
“I haven’t been deeply involved in machinery before,” Ross says. “I started out as a barista, worked in barista competitions and continue to do so, tried coffee roasting, worked in business and infrastructure with St Ali to push specialty coffee on a large scale, but have never really worked with equipment until now. If I want to be dedicated to coffee as a whole and say that I’ve explored the entire industry within my career, then this is the next big step.”
The former St Ali part owner has sold his share of the business, cutting all financial ties with the company.
“I’m no longer financially invested in St Ali, just emotionally invested,” Ross says. “I loved working with Sal (Salvatore Malatesta, St Ali Founder). I’ll always be part of the furniture at St Ali and Sensory Lab. I didn’t leave a hole there. There’s a lot of talented people ready to step up, and I’ll continue to smile whenever I see the brand.”
Ross is the first Slayer Espresso employee to be hired outside of the US. Slayer has been handcrafting espresso machines in Seattle, Washington for the past decade.
Ross flew himself to Seattle to meet with the Slayer team and ensure the company was the right fit. He has spent the past four weeks immersing himself with the Slayer brand, product, sales and operations team.
“I didn’t want to just work anywhere. I wanted to know that I was investing into a company that shared similar values to what I believe in, and that I could give value to,” Ross says.
“St Ali is about coffee for rock and rollers but it believes in growth and being disruptors in the industry. Similarly, Slayer Espresso is a business that has lots of potential. It’s an authentic and radical brand that has always believed in doing things different. It’s a company that has failed in the past but owns its mistakes and wants to live, learn, be customer focused, and pursue its mission to make coffee better. This is something I value and something [Slayer Espresso Founder & CEO] Jason Prefontaine and the Slayer team are relentless and passionate about.”
Ross will be based in Melbourne and act as a conduit to connect Asia Pacific partners with Slayer’s Seattle base.
“I’ll be a resource for them,” Ross says. “I’ll use my knowledge, contacts and expertise to connect my clients closer to Slayer and guide them towards success. If you buy a Slayer it’s not just buying a machine but a commitment.
The company wants to innovate, so I need to be beside our Asia Pacific clients (Australia, India and China) to support them every step of the way. I want to help them love coffee even more.”
Since the announcement of Ross’s role transition this week, he says it’s been humbling to receive so many well wishes from the Australian – and world – coffee community.
“There’s a great camaraderie and spirit in the coffee industry we need to treasure,” Ross says. “Australia should be proud that it is positioned as a mecca for world coffee: the place where trends begin and are set for the rest of the world to follow.”
After one month spent in the US, Ross will return home for the Melbourne International Coffee Expo before embarking on his new venue.
“I know I’ll get a lot of fulfillment out of this new role. I’m excited that Slayer are going to do things that will make people take notice – what that is I can’t reveal just yet,” he says.
“I have to pinch myself. I live a privileged life and I work in a progressive industry. I’m excited this tall, Australian, blue-suit wearing guy will get to share what he loves about coffee with many people around the world.”
For more information, visit www.slayerespresso.com