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SELF on the Road Blog - Day 1: Seattle

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

SELF On the Road began the week with a visit to Starbucks’ Kent Flexible Plant (KFP). Located in Kent, WA, this processing plant is considered “flexible” as it houses three separate manufacturing processes: Coffee, Tea and Solubles. Further, it produces these products in quantities ranging from the 6 oz. retail size to 1000 lb. large bags for bulk transport.

We were lucky to be accompanied to the plant by KU alumus Jack Rodgers, who along with being a successful restaurant franchiser, was a founding partner and executive of Starbucks. Mr. Rodgers was a close friend and business partner with Starbucks CEO and founder Howard Schultz and shared a variety of his experiences from his long career with the company.

Our day continued with a visit to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research center, a beautiful research facility situated on the south end of Lake Union. A presentation from Dr. Corey Casper, the head of Global Oncology for the Research Center, began the visit. He shared stories from his time working with the Ugandan Cancer Institute (UCI) to investigate and mitigate infectious disease as a cause of cancer. Dr. Casper described the need for engineering to help provide innovative solutions to the health care problems faced in third-world countries. Further, Dr. Casper reminded us of the importance of working in areas which we feel passionate. The visit concluded with a tour of their state of the art facilities and laboratory space.

The day ended with a tour of the Google’s Fremont offices. The complex houses close to 1000 employees, the bulk of which are software engineers (fun fact: Google Hangouts was originally created at this office). We were able to see many of the perks of a Google employee, including valet parking, fully stocked coffee bars and cafeterias and a impressive game room (shuffleboard, anyone?).



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