Mike Lashua

My day job is supervisor for substation maintenance for MGE. I supervise the teams who manage MGE’s 50 substations. You’ve probably seen them around town—they look like a big box and are usually set off in fenced-in areas. The substations are a critical part of the power supply: they’re where voltage is stepped up or down so it can be transmitted or distributed and I’m part of a team on call 24/7 to make sure they’re up and running.

For fun I’m part of the Sh*tty Barn Sessions team. I handle sound and book acts and am also a co-producer. We host musical acts out of a barn in Spring Green and I’ve been involved since 2012. Our performances run from May through October—working around the realities of Wisconsin weather!—and the venue is BYOC (bring your own chair!). We offer food and drink on site—you’re welcome to bring a picnic but we ask people to buy their beverages from us to help pay the bills.

I’ve always loved music and this has been a fun way to be part of the local music scene and create community. Each of our three bookers has quite diverse tastes, which means an eclectic mix of musical styles—everything from folk to jazz, electronica to rap. Tickets sell out quickly and our line-up is usually in place by the end of February. Between APT (American Players Theatre), Taliesin and Sh*tty Barn, Spring Green has become quite the hub for the arts.

My dream band to play the Barn: Justin Vernon and Bon Iver (just in case you’re reading!).

My most memorable caffeine was my first coffee, which I had when I was 12 or 13 years old. I grew up in Neenah and came to Madison on a family trip. My uncle thought I might enjoy trying a cup of coffee and got me a cappuccino. My reaction: It was disgusting!

I started really drinking coffee when I came to UW to go to school. I lived off of State Street and would walk by a Starbucks on my way to class. My routine was to get a Grande Mocha on the way and I found that I was remarkably productive from 8-10 because of that.

My current caffeine of choice is some sort of medium roast, nothing too acidic—I especially like Colectivo’s Blue Heeler.

My favorite places for caffeine are the Colectivo’s on the Square and I also like Crescendo on Monroe Street.

The person I’d love to share a cup of caffeine with is Dave Grohl from Foo Fighters. He just seems like he would be a fun guy to hang out with and be buddies with. And, apparently, he’s a huge coffee drinker.

 I’d also like to have coffee with my dad. He died when I was 13 and it would be wonderful to sit down and reconnect with him.

 World problem that could be solved with the right amount of caffeine:  homelessness. I just wish there was some way we could take a bite out of this problem in Madison. I volunteer with a number of groups that provide services to the homeless population, including The Road Home and Porchlight and I just went through volunteer training for the new day shelter downtown, The Beacon.

It seems as if there are more and more people needing these services—I coordinate a monthly breakfast for Porchlight and it seems like we need more food every time. This is a systemic problem and there are so many underlying issues contributing to it. We need to have more community involvement to try to address this.