I am very happy to meet you and yes, Rocky (Rockne) Rhodes is my real name. I grew up on Vashon Island next to Seattle, Washington. The island was a safe place where kids could run around and be safe. Parents looked out for all the children and sent us home before dark. I wanted that environment for my kids, which is why we moved to Simi Valley.
When I was 9 my family moved off that island and into the ‘big city’. My mother made a living soldering eyelets on fishing lures and we lived in a single-wide trailer sustained on powdered milk, pancake mix, and bulk cereal. I started working at 9 with my own paper route and have worked ever since.
I went through the Public-School system, however, due to my mother’s sacrifices and thriftiness, she was able to send me to a private High School with a great education program. She believed that a good education would be key to breaking our family’s poverty cycle.
I attended Seattle University and completed my bachelor’s degree in Humanities 2 years early. It was then I was called by ‘Corporate America’ to work for IBM and a spinoff company NYNEX. I stayed in the computer industry and found my way to California in 1991.
In 1996 I married my wonderful wife, Kimberly. Kimberly is the most remarkable person I know. She grounds me, encourages me and supports me. She is my rock.
1996 is the same year I transitioned from working in the computer industry to pursue my passion working as a small business owner in the coffee industry. We mortgaged our house to open ‘Rocky Roaster’ coffee shop and roasting company in Canoga Park, CA. The business struggled for several years to make ends meet. We worked out the model and had several years of success. In 2010 we sold the shop to move our family to Simi Valley.
Currently, I own and run International Coffee Consulting. I get to travel the world to improve the coffee supply chain. A guiding principle for me is – If you can improve the quality of coffee, you can improve the lives of the people that produce it. By employing compassionate capitalism, I have participated in life changing successes realized by the farmers producing the crop to the servers pouring the cup!
Kimberly and I have two wonderful kids. My daughter, Tulane Rhodes went to Sycamore, Sinaloa, Santa Susana HS and finished at Monte Vista HS. This year she started her sophomore year at University of Tennessee- Martin pursuing her dream of being a Veterinarian. My son, Dane Jerris Rhodes attended Sycamore, Madera, Sinaloa, and is in his senior year at Royal HS. He is enjoying ROTC and may have military service in his future.
We love our life in Simi Valley, and we love our community. Simi Valley provided a place where my kids got to grow up with similar experiences as I had growing up on that Island in Washington and offers the educational foundation enabling students with opportunities to pursue their passions and succeed.