Director, Global Agronomy - Starbucks
Carlos Mario Rodriguez is the guy helping make sure your morning cup of coffee isn’t going anywhere. Immediately after Starbucks hired him in 2004, Rodriguez started making noises about starting a Starbucks-owned farm. He even brought it up with CEO Howard Schultz the first time they met. Rodriguez got his wish last year in May when Starbucks bought a working farm in his native Costa Rica.
Here, he and a team are working on developing 50 new bean varietals that are resistant to coffee rust, a fungus that devastates coffee plants. The company will distribute seedlings of the successful ones to coffee growers for free. Rodriguez, whose family has always worked in coffee and sugar cane, also works with farmers to help them figure out how to produce higher quality coffee and get better yields.