Member Spotlight: Richard Muhl

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Richard has been a service technician since 1984 when at 17 years of age, he commenced his apprenticeship in the Australian Navy as a Weapons Electronics Specialist. He served for 11 years, spending the last 3 years as a Metrology technician seconded to the Air Force repairing and calibrating electronic test equipment. After the Navy, he spent 15 years as the Service Manager for Kodak Australasia Service and Support where he led a team of Field Engineers working with cutting edge advanced digital imaging and radiology products. After the Kodak closed down in Australia, he began a new career in the coffee industry as the founding technician – soon after as the Service Manger – at Five Senses Coffee. He is a life-long, hands-on service technician with a passion for developing teams and individuals, increasing the level of professionalism, competence and most importantly, safety.

In the Industry Since: February 2007.

Drinking Coffee Since: February 2007. I had never even tried coffee until I started working in coffee. 

Favorite Coffee Origin: Our Geisha from Columbia, La Esperanza, natural process, grown at 1800m.

Favorite Tools: Anything that is well-designed with quality manufacturing. I abhor cheap tools.

Hometown: Perth, Western Australia. The most isolated city in the world, 2700Km from the nearest large city.

Tell us something about yourself: Married 33 years with 6 Children (5 boys, 1 girl) aged between 18 and 32, 3 of whom work in the coffee industry around Australia.  

How did you start working in espresso machine service? I was the Service Manager at Kodak Australia throughout their years of downsizing and eventually, it became my turn to go. As I arrived home on my last day after 14 years I received a call from a friend of mine who owned a Coffee Roasting Company saying he needed to start a service department.

What field were you in before coffee? I’ve been a service tech since I started my apprenticeship in the Australian Navy 36 years ago. I was trained as an Electronic Weapons Systems Tech working on radar and other electronic gear and later ran the west coast Metrology Department (Test Equipment Calibration). After I got tired of being at sea all the time I left and joined Kodak.

What is gratifying to you about working in coffee? Definitely the people. The coffee industry seems to attract the most amazing people, passionate and talented, innovative people who care about the industry and care about the world generally.

What’s are the favorite aspects of the job? Diagnosing and resolving difficult or unusual technical issues. I really enjoy the practice of applying logical thought to a series of symptoms, choosing a meaningful test and nailing the answer without hardly touching the machine. Most faults are routine of course so I’m always on the lookout for a tricky one.

What drives you to do great work? I think its largely that I personally believe in the ethos and vision of the company I work for which is “Positive, Ethical, Excellent and Caring.” Being part of a team working together to create something with lasting impact and value. Sounds corny I know.

Favorite repair trick? I don’t know too many tricks as such, but I’m always willing to learn.