It’s no secret that Seattle University produces some amazing individuals, who excel academically as students and achieve success post-graduation in careers as varied and multidimensional as their backgrounds and majors.
We asked some how they got to where they are. We found fate and serendipity, ambition and drive all played roles. There’s the financial manager who does wonders managing wealth and a side career as a magician. And there’s a baker who has found sweet success with her sweet treats and a NASA atmospheric physicist who knows what’s really causing harm to the ozone layer. Others provide useful advice such as how to write a resume and cover letter to land that dream job or what it takes to start and run a new business.
These are just a few of the unique and inspiring alumni who offer a window into their professional lives shaped by their SU education. Take a look for yourself.
Michael Hart was just 5 years old when he received his first magic kit.
Today, he’s a financial adviser and Certified Financial Planner for Morgan Stanley with a flourish that surprises unsuspecting new clients at his Federal Way office. As he introduces himself and draws a business card from his wallet, it catches fire.
If you’re a regular at the annual Albers School of Business and Economics Alumni Crab Feed, you might be accustomed to this 1998 MBA graduate’s tomfooleries. Hart is a member of the Albers Alumni Board so it’s not unusual for him to bring some of his magic tricks with him to this fundraiser. (He totes his capers to faraway places, too, like the Rotary International Convention in Sydney, Australia, last spring.)
“As a financial adviser and when I give talks, a little magic keeps them riveted so they won’t fall asleep.”
Prior to his current work as a financial—and magical—whiz, Hart was a TV cameraman for three years in Dayton, Ohio, his hometown. At the University of Dayton, where he received his undergraduate degree in Communication Arts in 1974, he was in ROTC. For three years he served at Fort Lewis and flew “Huey” helicopters (model UH1-H). After that he worked for the old Pacific Northwest Bell and US West, where he found magic useful when he led training sessions.
OK, so let’s go back to the beginning. Why magic? Hart offers some helpful tips for those who seek a little magic in their own lives.
WHAT HAPPENED TO KEEP THE MAGIC ALIVE?
HART: I had a second grade teacher in Dayton who put on an hour-long talent show. They got wind of it at the University of Dayton and thought it might be helpful for teachers in training to see what kids age 7 could do. There I was with magic tricks and an audience. Soon I was reading books on magic. Then one day I met a fellow on my newspaper route who turned out to be a magician. He showed me a magic trick. So I went back and showed him some of mine the next day. We’re still friends, too.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF BEING A MAGICIAN?
HART: For a child just starting out, it’s like getting involved in any of the performing arts. Once you speak in front of an audience, you
can give a book report in school, for example.
I’m in my element to be in front of a group. As a financial adviser and when I give talks, a little magic keeps them riveted so they won’t fall asleep. Just one unusual thing that catches their attention— flaming or vanishing something inconsequential, for instance—gets them wondering how it happened. Then they don’t want to miss anything. With clients, I don’t always do magic, but I’ll show them a trick and they certainly won’t forget it.
YOU SAY MAGIC INVOLVES ITS OWN UNIQUE SKILLS?
HART: Magic has helped patients with their physical and mental rehabilitation. If you can do something others can’t, you build self-esteem. The engineering aspect of magic also sets it apart from other performing arts.
And with magic, you need to have a story. That’s what makes it personal so your audience isn’t just passively watching it. That’s what we’re all about as people. Watch Hart do a magic trick that you can learn as well.
THE COOKIE MAKER
What drove Robin Wehl Martin, ’95, to make coconut curry cookies evokes a stream-of-consciousness recollection of a curry recipe she spotted in Bon Appétit magazine one night. She woke up the next morning thinking how wonderful it would be to dabble with coconut and curry for her next baked treat.
Her husband Clay Martin suggested she might be trying too hard. Nevertheless, this graduate of the Master of Student Development Administration program forged ahead, much like she did with her distinctive habanero and orange chocolate chip cookie. She has an uncanny knack for knowing when to follow her instincts.
Wehl Martin and her husband—he does the accounting and the dishes— operate Hello Robin cookie and coffee shop at 19th and Mercer on Capitol Hill. The small business with five employees opened last December and already has a loyal following. There’s a group of three women who meet up every Tuesday mid-morning for coffee and a treat. Moms and grandmas bring toddlers crazy for cookies with sprinkles. One woman routinely drives from Sea-Tac just for a couple chocolate chip cookies and a cup of hot chocolate. Hello Robin’s ice cream “sammies”—her creations paired with Molly Moon ice cream—draw quite a crowd.
HOW DID YOU KNOW YOUR CALLING WAS COOKIES?
WEHL MARTIN: I’ve always been totally passionate about baking, especially cookies. I knew I had something good going when I would buy 50-pound bags of flour, make cookies at home all the time and give them away to my neighbors, friends and relatives.
WHAT ROLE DID YOUR SEATTLE UNIVERSITY EDUCATION PLAY IN YOUR BUSINESS?
WEHL MARTIN: The Student Development Administration program was amazing. I’ve been using the psychology and negotiating skills I learned ever since. It also was invaluable and supportive to work with the International Student Center where I developed good organizational skills. That led to travel abroad, working in Austria with nonprofits and picking up more ideas for my baking. I developed my chocolate chip cookie recipe while I was in Vienna.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO COMBINE SUCH INTERESTING AND UNLIKELY INGREDIENTS IN YOUR COOKIES?
WEHL MARTIN: I’m always aware of flavors that might make interesting combinations and ask myself, ‘Oooo, how would that be for a cookie?’ I made pickled blueberry chicken the other night for dinner and I tried to imagine how pickled blueberries would be in a cookie. I also read The Flavor Thesaurus (by Niki Segnit) late at night for inspiration. I’m constantly thinking about the business and flavors and I find deep, deep pleasure in it.
DO YOU HAVE SOME TIPS FOR COOKIE BAKERS?
WEHL MARTIN: Start with really good ingredients. I use Shepherd’s Grain flour, the low gluten kind. I only use Diamond kosher salt and good salted butter. I always weigh the flour and butter for greater accuracy. I never-ever use imitation vanilla. A customer recommended Singing Dog vanilla, which is great. And I bake my cookies on parchment paper.
WHAT KIND OF RECONNAISSANCE DID YOU DO BEFORE STARTING HELLO ROBIN?
WEHL MARTIN: First we went to every bakery and coffee shop in Seattle and Portland. Then we did a lot of research on chocolate chips with taste tests, because they’re the most expensive cookie ingredient. The best we discovered were from Blommer Chocolate Company in Chicago. They’re smooth, not waxy. We also use other kinds—mini chips, white ones, dark ones. We plan to use chips from Theo Chocolates for our Mackles’more, my take on s’mores.
DO YOUR COOKIES HAVE ANY OTHER UNUSUAL DISTINCTIONS?
WEHL MARTIN: I always say when my kids get old enough to go out on dates, I’ll give their dates one of my habanero orange chocolate chip cookies. If they like that cookie, I’ll know my kids have found a good match.
THE FASHION STYLIST
To Sarah Butler, ’10, ’12 MFA, fashion always has been an outlet for self-expression.
As an undergraduate, she was the founder of the Seattle University Fashion Club and describes her leadership role as her greatest test, one that turned out to be her most rewarding as well.
When she recognized she was both creative and a business-minded entrepreneur Butler recognized her next step was to earn a MFA in arts leadership so she could learn the business skills needed to run a creative organization.
She is now a fashion stylist and marketing consultant at Sarah Styles Seattle, where she offers services in creative direction and branding, marketing and digital strategy and special events for brands and companies in the creative sector. Clients range from corporations to local arts organizations.
YOU SAY BOTH CREATIVITY AND STRATEGY ARE THE KEYS TO SUCCESS IN FASHION STYLING AND MARKETING. HOW SO?
BUTLER: Today, marketing requires more than how to write a marketing plan. If you can write the plan, design the visuals, produce the photo shoot, film and edit the movie, implement the social media plan and organize a launch party all before lunch...then you know what you are doing and you are valuable.
STYLING FOR FASHION BRANDS AND PUBLICATIONS SOUNDS GLAMOROUS. IS IT?
BUTLER: Although the job sounds beyond glamorous, let me tell you this: you may be surrounded by diamonds but you're probably on your hands and knees fixing the model’s gown and shoes! It’s a lot of work but totally worth it for the beautiful end product.
WHAT ABOUT BRIDAL FASHION SETS IT APART FOR A STYLIST?
BUTLER: Bridal is always a dream to style because you’re able to create such breathtaking looks that have an air of fantasy to them. However, they are also the most challenging because the gowns can be so large to transport. On these types of photo shoots I need many assistants, just to carry the gowns as the model walks to the location. It often looks like a wedding procession.
WHAT’S THE FASHION FORECAST FOR FALL? TIPS AND TRENDS?
BUTLER: Big trends for fall include robe coats and dusters, western/cowboy/prairie inspiration, dresses layered over pants, ’60s mod and red as a major statement color.
THE ATMOSPHERIC PHYSICIST
The ozone layer commands the full attention of Paul Newman, ’78.
Today, Newman is an atmospheric physicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., where climate and ozone interactions are his life’s work. Newman, who earned a degree in physics from SU before going on to get his PhD at Iowa State University, arrived at NASA Goddard in 1984. The 2012 Alumni Award winner is chief scientist for atmospheres. As one of four co-chairs to the United Nations Science Assessment Panel for the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, he’s considered NASA Goddard’s most diplomatic scientist.
Back in the 1970s, scientists first realized that man-made substances such as chloro- fluorocarbons (CFCs) in spray cans, freons in refrigeration and halons in fire extinguishers had a substantial impact on the ozone layer. It wasn’t until the mid-1980s—with the development of the Antarctic ozone hole—that it became clear just how destructive these substances were.
Newman is from a family of SU graduates. His daughter Mary graduated with a BA in English in 2002. His dad Jerry graduated with a BS in mechanical engineering in 1958. His brother Stephen earned a BA in foreign languages in 1981 and his sister Joyce Griffin received her BCJ criminal justice degree in 1980.
WHAT LED YOU TO BECOME A PHYSICIST?
NEWMAN: I went to a career fair at SU with a friend who wanted to talk to someone at the math table. The math table had a line, but the physics table next to it had no one, so I went there. It was almost by luck that I became a physicist. Although I loved history, living in Seattle I knew that scientists could easily find jobs and I loved science too.
THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO STILL FEAR SPRAY CANS MIGHT BE DEPLETING THE OZONE LAYER. IS THAT TRUE?
NEWMAN: Turns out ozone-depleting substances such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in spray cans were considered a great technological advancement when they were first developed as refrigerants in the 1930s. These gases—including freons and halons—are now globally banned. Atmospheric measurements show that the levels of these CFCs are now decreasing in our atmosphere. Unfortunately, CFCs have long atmospheric lifetimes (50 to 100 years), so it will take a long, long time for the ozone layer to fully recover.
WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED HAD THEY NOT BEEN BANNED?
NEWMAN: If they had not been banned, by 2065 two-thirds of the ozone layer would have been destroyed. It still will be 2065 or 2070 before the ozone layer will be back to the level it was in the 1980s.
WHY IS THE OZONE LAYER IMPORTANT?
NEWMAN: Ozone absorbs the ultraviolet radiation that causes skin cancers, suppressed immune systems and eye problems such as cataracts.
WHAT CAN PEOPLE DO TO HELP?
NEWMAN: When you replace an air conditioner, be sure it has an ozone-friendly gas. When you recycle a refrigerator, make sure the CFCs are removed and recycled properly. Pay attention to issues. Scientists have to be nonpartisan. Citizens and policy makers have to make the changes to preserve the Earth’s ozone layer.
NASA’s Elizabeth Jarrell contributed to this story.
THE PERSONAL TRAINER
Brandon Holt, ’12, a certified personal trainer for nearly three years at the William F. Eisiminger Fitness Center, has the positive energy that motivates students and alumni, faculty and staff of all ages to achieve their fitness goals.
Holt offers the following tips to improve health and wellness regardless of age or current physical fitness status.
WHAT FITNESS GOALS WOULD YOU RECOMMEND FOR THOSE IN THEIR 20S AND 30S?
HOLT: Fat loss and muscle gain top the list, sometimes in the 40s as well. Developing self-esteem, too.
AND FROM THE 40S INTO THE 70S?
HOLT: As we get older the focus is more on lifestyle. Your overall health lifts your mood, especially in your 40s, 50s and 60s. Starting in your late 60s, balance and mobility are important. We’ll start by just walking a straight line.
WHAT GENERAL TIPS DO YOU RECOMMEND?
HOLT: Balance, mobility and flexibility are important for everyone, so is always warming up first with cardio and always stretching at the end of your workout. You have to drink enough water and eat the right foods, too.
HOW DO YOU KEEP THEM MOTIVATED?
HOLT: Finding the root of your goal will keep you motivated a lot longer. I tell them they’re training for the future, not for immediate results. It takes mental fortitude. Training isn’t just about improving your body but your mind as well.
IS A HARD WORKOUT A GOOD THING?
HOLT: There was a time when I worked out hard but not smart. I didn’t understand the concepts of volume, intensity and range to get to where I wanted to be. You want to facilitate muscle growth, not annihilate it.
You have to work out smart, which means you can’t push it too soon after an injury, either.
WHAT ABOUT INJURIES?
HOLT: Remember the word RICE—rest, ice, compress and elevate.
YOU’RE A TRAINER WITH A POCKETFUL OF MOTIVATIONAL APHORISMS THAT KEEP YOU AND YOUR CLIENTS GOING. CAN YOU SHARE A FEW?
HOLT: “Challenge yourself to change yourself.”
“I’m not saying change will be easy, but I am saying it will be worth it” “The body can do more than the mind thinks it can.” One of his favorites is from his Fitness Center boss Kristen Carstens: “The best workout is the workout that gets done.”
THE FINANCIAL ADVISER
Dan Nicholson, ’03, (accounting and E-Commerce Information Systems), founded Nth Degree CPAs six years ago. Nth Degree is a boutique, high-value accounting firm based in Seattle and provides integrated tax planning and preparation with accounting, bookkeeping and controller-level financial guidance for the small business community.
Looking to start a business? Nicholson offers his top three tips to stay in the black. Not a business owner? No worries as he offers tips for saving for now and the future.
1. FOR BUSINESS OWNERS
If you don’t have a strong accounting background, hire a CPA. “I’m biased, but accounting is one of the things that can take your business down. Plus, accounting is a non-revenue generating task. If it’s not your strength, outsource it to some-one well qualified and get to work on doing what you do best.
2. TACKLE BOOKKEEPING WEEKLY
“We provide high value bookkeeping as a service and it’s concerning how many Seattle small business owners come to us with their books a mess and having been hit with tax penalties as a result of it. These are things that cost time, stress and money. When it comes to bookkeeping, don’t delay.”
3. ANALYZE YOUR FINANCIAL REPORTS MONTHLY (AT LEAST)
“There’s a point in time when as a small business, a line is crossed and there’s no turning back—the business is going down. Analyzing your financial reports consistently and frequently helps you identify that line and make strategic decisions of change before you get too close to it.”
WHAT ARE THE COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN TRYING TO SAVE FOR A SHORT-TERM GOAL AND LONG-TERM?
Not setting goals and not doing the math to understand your numbers is the roadblock most people face.
• Set a goal for yourself with a timeline.
• If you really understand the difference between your income and your outgo—this applies to both individuals and businesses— then you know how much you have available to save and if you have enough to match your savings goal.
• If that number is not large enough, then you need to increase your income, decrease your outgo, or both.
Learn more about Nth Degree CPAs at www.nthdegreecpas.com.
Wendy Liu, ’14, is an entrepreneur on the rise.
The recent graduate of Albers’ MBA program is the owner of Sport Clips, a men’s-only barbershop-meets- salon where patrons can watch a little baseball, basketball or football—on one of the many flat screen TVs—while getting a haircut or beard trim.
So why did Liu, who has no prior experience running a business and is not a barber or hairstylist, decide to open a Sport Clips?
“I wanted to be a business owner to have more control of my destiny,” says Liu, who earlier last year opened her first Sport Clips in Shoreline; a second is planned for Lynnwood. “What drew me to Sport Clips is their concept. I believe they provide a unique experience for guys when getting a haircut. Sports Clips is a sports-themed environment where guys come in to watch sports while we cut their hair.”
Although this is her first foray into the world of running a company, she did glean tips from her business owner dad. For Liu, managing a new business while hitting the books as a grad student required some strategic planning—and striving for just the right work-life balance.
“The joy of being a business owner is that everyday is different. Sometimes I will receive great news and be ecstatic and the next minute I have to handle bad news,” she says. “I try not to ride the emotional roller coaster because it can happen easily when you have a new business. I work on schoolwork when I have down time. Thank goodness for to-do lists and setting priorities. Balancing both work and school has really sharpened my time management skills.”
As an entrepreneur, finding a business that is the right match and making it successful involves building the right team and navigating challenges.
Liu says that the biggest challenge she faces as an entrepreneur is developing leaders from within the company. But she turns this challenge into a positive by helping others find and nurture their strengths so they can step up into a leadership role.
“The reward is seeing people start believing that they can do more than they think they can,” she says. “There is also reward [as an entrepreneur] in that you hopefully become wiser and learn how to have fun while running a business.”
THE CAREER COUNSELOR
After spending 30 years in corporate America, including 12 years at Hewlett Packard, Lea McLeod, '09, knows a thing or two about what it takes to land the job, from drafting a resume that will get noticed to a cover letter that will get you an interview.
She is sharing her tricks of the trade in The Resume Coloring Book, released earlier this year, that offers important tips and useful templates for building a resume and cover letter, along with how to prepare for an interview.
Think of the cover letter as the “why” and the resume as the “what,” says McLeod, a graduate of SU’s Organization Systems Renewal program, who has built a post-corporate career helping others realize their potential and secure that dream job.
After she graduated from SU McLeod worked with young adults who wanted guidance in how to make the transition from college to the workplace. This led to speaking engagements, creating a college hiring program for her former employer and assisting clients with job search strategies such as resume writing and networking through online sites such as LinkedIn.
“The challenges young adults have coming out of school are that they don’t know what employers are looking for and don’t know how to create a value statement,” explains McLeod. “For young adults, it’s very hard for them to describe themselves to other people. They tend to list tasks. If you don’t tell the employer how you are going to add value they have a difficult time differentiating you from other candidates.”
When it came time to share her knowledge with the masses—particularly other young adults looking to advance their careers—McLeod came up with the concept for the book, which is unlike your typical resume-writing manual.
“I went with a coloring-book style as I knew it had to be visual for this audience,” she says. “The young adult world is very visual and infotainment-oriented, which is reflected in the book.”
How to write a winning resume is central to The Resume Coloring Book. So what’s the #1 mistake made when it comes to resumes?
“The biggest single mistake is young adults don’t really understand what they are trying to do with the resume. They mistakenly think it’s about ‘listing activities’ rather than providing evidence of their capabilities,” says McLeod. “Resumes are used as a sorting hat by the employer. If they don’t customize their resume, employers are more likely to eliminate them from the hiring pool.”
HERE ARE OTHER TIPS FROM MCLEOD ON HOW TO GET THE JOB:
- “Most look at an interview as a Q&A session,” says McLeod. “Break that model. Go in with as much information possible about the company.”
- Instead of sitting and waiting for the employer to pose all the questions, ask questions that show your knowledge and interest in the position. "Make it a collaborative conversation," says McLeod.
- People underestimate the value of preparation. Show you are a student of that organization. “I encourage people to dig deeper,” she says. “Check out the company’s website and annual report, for example, so you go into the interview well prepared.”
- “Think of a cover letter as a way to make an emotional connection with an employer. You draw them in with the first sentence you write.”
- “Resumes are critical in whether you get the interview or not.”
With a resume, make the most of less: McLeod cautions against lengthy resumes that are just lists upon lists. Highlight education, strengths, job skills and references.
- She also suggests choosing a design that will set your resume apart from the pack. While you can dazzle with your personality and skills set, a little razzle on the resume never hurt.
For as long as she can remember, Elizabeth Hungerford, ’04, dreamed of a future in musical theater. It was the path she intended to pursue in higher education.
“Had I thought a professional singing career was a real option for me I would have pursued it but it seemed so far fetched,” she says. “I decided that studying something I found interesting, like social work, would allow me to support myself and I figured I could continue singing in my spare time.”
She was a regular performer at Seattle’s St. James Cathedral, a venue that was her first professional singing job. “I absolutely loved singing there,” recalls Hungerford, who is a soprano range and performed with two choirs at St. James, was a cantor and sang the weekly Taize services. (Technically, her very first performance goes way back: “My first public performance was ‘One Two Three, Jesus Loves Me’ as a kindergartner at the school talent show.”)
At St. James she met her future husband Jason Hungerford, whom she moved east with to the other Washington while he went to law school at Georgetown. In D.C., she finished her social work degree internship with Catholic Charities before landing a job at an adoption agency. All the while she kept signing, most notably as a regular at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
“When the Basilica offered me a job singing the weekday Masses, in addition to my duties as choir librarian and singing the weekend services as cantor and with the choir, I couldn’t refuse,” says Hungerford. “I left my social work job and began signing nearly full time. Once it became clear that a career in music was a real possibility for me, my ever supportive husband encouraged me to pursue a degree in music.”
In 2004, she was accepted into the Peabody Conservatory at John Hopkins and graduated with a degree in early music.
These days Hungerford, who lives in London with her husband and two children, is known as an accomplished singer who has performed at some of the world’s most celebrated and sacred spaces.
A few years ago she got to showcase her voice in a performance with 50 lutenists from England and Italy at a concert at Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza, Italy. The venue was built in the 16th century and one of only three Renaissance theaters that is still in existence. Another highlight was a performance at Hampton Court Palace in London.
“When I think of all of the interesting and amazing opportunities I’ve had because of my career I can’t help but feel overwhelmed and grateful,” says Hungerford. “There are very few people in the world who truly love their jobs and I feel privileged to be one of them.”
The healing power of music was an impetus for Hungerford to elevate her music career above social work.
“The most rewarding part of what I do is to see how my music making helps others. People turn to music to help them pray, celebrate, relax and grieve and I love being part of that relationship,” says Hungerford.
She shares a story about a monk who approached her following a performance after singing a Mass at the Basilica in D.C. The man lost his parent some 20 years ago and recently lost his twin brother. He shared with Hungerford how he hasn’t been able to grieve these losses. “He was sad, but just couldn’t get to a place where he could really grieve them,” she says. “He told me how the moment I started singing, tears came to his eyes for the first time since his parents passed away and he was finally able to cry for them and for his brother. That was the day I decided to leave social work and pursue a degree in music.”
THE WINE SCIENTIST
In 2012, Taylor Fannin was a senior in the College of Science and Engineering, studying biology, when she landed an internship at The Hogue Cellars in the Yakima Valley.
It was all part of a class requirement. “I had to create a resume to apply for a lab job and I sent my resume to Hogue Cellars and got the internship,” she recalls. “What a great assignment!”
That internship turned into a full-time position as production lab tech specialist for the winemakers. While part of her job requires her to actually taste the finished wine, that’s not the bulk of her responsibilities. Before it ends up at a restaurant or on your kitchen table she is at the forefront of the processing, in the lab making sure that finished product is a fine one.
“Most of the time when people go wine tasting they just see the pretty tasting room, positioned in a beautiful vineyard.” she says. “I get to experience the entire winemaking process—literally from grape to bottle. I get my hands dirty!”
Now for the technical stuff: Daily, Fannin samples tanks and barrels to test for pH, alcohol and sugar content, carbon dioxide and more. For quality assurance she tests to ensure that no unwanted bacteria or yeast have made it into the bottled wine.
During the peak of harvest season Fannin samples and runs Brix (aka sugar content) testing on nearly 150 tanks. Testing wine at this stage in the process is not as glamorous as it may seem—especially when it involves a smell test. It’s her job to flag any wines that may be a bit—or a lot—“off.”
“In simplest terms, the sample smells stinky if the yeast in the fermenting wine is hungry,” she says. “If the yeast are hungry the wine gives off a sulfur-like odor. Yummy, right? Nothing like rotten egg smell while tasting wine at 10 a.m.”
How specialized is this field? According to Fannin, there are many diverse educational backgrounds in the industry, with many having degrees
in chemistry, microbiology or viticulture and enology.
“A lot of successful people in the wine industry just go off of experience. Learning about it in school is very helpful but hands-on experience is critical.”
For research, or as she calls it “homework,” Fannin goes wine tasting at other local wineries. During the last harvest she made her own wine, a dry- style Riesling. “It was an adventure! I picked my own grapes, crushed and pressed, fermented and bottled all at home, which is hard to do when you are use to all the fancy equipment at work,” she says. “Some of my favorite wines are blends.”
Fannin’s faves at Hogue: the Genesis Marsanne-Roussanne- Viognier blend and the Genesis Meritage.
The best part of her job is the process behind it—not surprising considering her science-based background.
“I love the ability to see fruit come in and leave as wine in a bottle. It’s so amazing to see the fruit transform in so many different ways. There isn’t one way to make wine, which makes it an art.