Dave Brauer: Robert Morris University Dave Brauer | Robert Morris University

Changing Lives

DAVE_BRAUER See Recent Update!

And then it hit me. Why not start a new kind of company? “What? A company that always reaches out to the community, that’s always giving back, are you nuts?

“No, not nuts. Coffee beans. I knew I could make it work. I knew it because of my engaged learning experience at RMU while I was doing my graduate work. My advisor suggested I get involved in what was a five year sustainability study, and it literally changed my direction.

Today, my company, Beecher’s Coffee, roasts fair trade and organic coffees, we use cellulose packaging and 100-percent recycled paper, and a major share of sales goes to the Glad Run Foundation.

My next goal is a doctorate in sustainable

  Oh, I might write another children’s book based on
sustainability, I’ve just published my first one,
dedicated to my son.

No kidding, you never know where engaged learning
will take you. Like the rest of your life, for instance.”

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Besides managing the daily business of Beecher's Coffee & Premium Tea, Dave is now pursuing a Ph.D. in Sustainable Development from Durham University in England. It's a split program with Fudan University in Shanghai, that requires Dave to travel to China every eight weeks. Currently he's ranked number one in his class and is president of his academic class. He expects to graduate in early 2014.

   In addition to that, he's also actively involved in
   helping the poor of Haiti by working to reestablish
   the country's once thriving coffee industry. Recently
   he was asked to join the board of directors of the
   Friends of Hôpital Albert Schweitzer (friendsofhas.org),
   which supports projects in collaboration with the
   hospital's mission to improve the health and
   well-being of the people in Haiti's Artibonite Valley.
   Now he's working with the hospital to launch an
   exclusive, $100/pound Haitian coffee known as
   the "Pearl of the Antillies", the sales of which will help support the Haiti Timber Reintroduction Project.


Dave received his Doctor of Business Administration from Durham University in Spring 2015, where he commuted from Wexford, PA to the UK for over four and a half years. Yes, you read that correctly. Every six weeks Dave would make the 12-hour trip to Durham and spent two weeks studying and attending classes. He focused on strategy and consumer behavior theory and his research was about how and why a strategy of sustainability can be used for graduate business schools in the U.S. to gain competitive advantage. Upon completion he was hired as a lecturer in RMU’s School of Business, where he teaches strategic management and management, theory, and practice. 

Dave is still changing lives through his business by serving Haitian communities. "We work with an organization called Haiti Friends, who planted 20,000 coffee trees last year in the mountains of Haiti. This demand for coffee gives the people on the ground there viable opportunities to take their skill sets and make money with them.” unnamed-1

As an alum of Robert Morris, Dave says he's excited to be back at his alma mater. "A big part of my research found that students cared more about their return on investment and their job prospects than the cost of education. This is something Robert Morris has done particularly well and is one of the reasons I was really interested in coming back here, because of their engaged learning and their relationships with local businesses."