Meet the Team

Mike Walter photo

Mike Walter, CEO

As CEO of Stirlini Coffee Company, Mike Walter is responsible for leading all facets of a rapidly growing RTD (ready-to-drink) coffee cocktail beverage company. A self-described coffee addict, Mike dreamed of owning his own craft coffee and cocktail bar. And in 2021, Mike turned his dream of owning his own business into reality when he co-founded Stirlini Coffee Company, and the shop became a popular gathering place for everyone who enjoys excellent coffee. While operating the coffee shop, Mike and his team perfected the company’s signature cocktail — the Stirlini Martini®. Today, Stirlini Coffee Company has a growing list of wholesale customers, including multiple Colorado Costco stores, world-class resorts, luxury hotels, golf courses, restaurants, and liquor stores.

Prior to founding Stirlini, Mike worked in the political arena in D.C., where he got his start serving as a Congressional staffer in the U.S. House of Representatives and then the U.S. Senate. After leaving the Hill, he held several senior political positions, developing a thorough understanding of the private sector environment. Mike provided counsel to numerous Fortune 500 companies and trade association clients. During Mike’s time in politics, he gained valuable experience that he leverages every day as CEO of Stirlini.

A native of Erie, PA, Mike graduated with honors from Mercyhurst University with a bachelor’s degree in political science and applied politics. He also graduated with honors from George Washington University with a master’s degree in political management.

In his spare time, Mike enjoys skiing, cheering on the Buffalo Bills and Sabres (let’s go Buffalo!), and visiting local coffee shops and breweries. Mike resides in Erie, CO, with his husband Evan and two lovable (and sometimes wild!) beagles, Sterling (Stirlini) and Angelica.

Evan Kaufman, Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer

Evan Kaufman brings a background in robotics engineering, getting his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from Bucknell University and his PhD mechanical and aerospace engineering from George Washington University. While working as an autonomy software engineer at the startup autonomous mowing company, Scythe Robotics, Evan got involved as the supporting husband to a coffee shop owner, but became obsessed with the delicious Stirlini Martini, spotting a huge business opportunity with a unique product line in the ready-to-drink (RTD) canned cocktail market. When not making autonomous robots or strategizing for Stirlini Coffee Company’s success, Evan enjoys skiing, hiking, racquetball, landscape design, and playing with those silly dogs, Sterling (nicknamed “Stirlini”) and Angelica (nicknamed “Jelly”).

Ben Wilson, VP of Operations & Business Development

Having grown up on the front range of Colorado (and having thoroughly explored most of the 50 states throughout his childhood via epic road trips with his family), Ben opted for a new sense of adventure when he reached adulthood.  He joined the United States Marine Corps, where he trained as an Anti-Tank Missileman and deployed to places such as Afghanistan, Japan, and the Korean Peninsula.  After eating his way around the world while in uniform, Ben moved home and married his beautiful childhood crush.  Fast forward through years of schooling, having four awesome but crazy kiddos, and developing a knowledge of business and an affinity for brand development & entrepreneurship, Ben joined the Stirlini team early on to help bring Stirlini Coffee’s delicious martinis to market and to your fridge at home.  When not entrenched in coffee, chocolate, chai, and whiskey, Ben enjoys watching sports, hanging out with his family, and dreaming about traveling the world again someday.

Daina Penn, Marketing Manager

With 30 years experience in design and marketing, Daina found her niche in specializing in strategic and creative graphic design for manufacturing and small businesses. Daina loves to dig in and create both internal and external communications, company branding, package design, POP and all types of retail marketing. An award-winning designer, she has successfully worked with marketing and sales teams, Creative Directors, Marketing Directors, Brand Managers, and Business Owners to reach customers, engage audiences, and bring a clear message to the customer building confidence in the brand.

Daina is a creative, fun and passionate designer with a love for creating and solving those tough design problems. She loves to spend time with friends and family and enjoys some of the finer things in life — a gourmet meal, an outdoor summer concert in the park, and a Vanilla Chai Stirlini Martini on the patio watching the sunset on another glorious day.

Amelia Sears, Marketing & Social Media Coordinator

Amelia is a Colorado native and a recent graduate from the University of Colorado with a B.S. in Marketing and Strategy/Entrepreneurship. She enjoys spending time with her family, friends and pets. Amelia loves to listen to country music, especially Luke Combs. She is so excited to be a part of the Stirlini team and help Stirlini Coffee Company be the best canned coffee cocktail brand in the market!

Cindy Tayler, Wholesale Director

After a long and enjoyable career as a District Manager for Panera Bread, and finding herself retired and loving the coffee as a “regular” at the shop, Cindy Tayler became a part-time barista bartender at our former coffee bar in Firestone. As Cindy learned (and loved) the cocktail recipes and created them for our wonderful guests, she was inspired to continue to support the company as wholesale director as Stirlini Coffee embarked on this new RTD (ready to drink) canned cocktail adventure.

Cindy’s experience in the hospitality field from bartending to multi-unit leadership enabled her to introduce our premium coffeehouse cocktails to our customers with skill and passion. She is loving her position with Stirlini as it allows her to share our exceptional products while engaging food and beverage professionals in nearly every genre of the industry.

Cindy and her husband Todd enjoy games with family and friends, traveling in their RV, and cuddling with their fur babies! She also enjoys painting and crocheting.

Cindy is excited to see Stirlini’s current growth and cannot wait until the company is a nationally recognized premium brand! Way to GROW Stirlini Martinis!