A 4th generation Washingtonian, Steuart “Stu” Martens has business in the blood. His great grandfather L.P. Steuart started a successful chain of car dealerships that began with a cart, a mule, and the eventual blessing of Henry Ford. Stu is already primed to continue the legacy with three growing companies, 2 world records, and a winning attitude that brought him all the way to Donald Trump’s The Apprentice.
Stu’s first taste of excellence was in the pool. Growing up, he won races across the D.C. area which eventually earned him a swimming scholarship on the Purdue University men’s varsity swim team. He is an Olympic trial qualifier in long distance freestyle events, a three time consecutive winner of the Chesapeake Bay swim, and a world record holder for San Francisco’s Alcatraz Swim. He raises money annually for Athletes Without Limits, a charity support high performance athletes with intellectual disability, through 15km “Big Swim” across the Northumberland Strait in Canada.
After a brief stint selling insurance after college, Stu realized that his independent spirit and self-starting abilities were best suited to the entrepreneurial world. He challenged himself to follow his changing passions day-to-day and not settle for life in a 9 to 5 cubicle. His love of cuisine that had developed during stints in the catering business throughout high school and college was reignited when Stu accepted a position as the R&D Chef for a major food manufacturer. Soon after, the CEO of the company offered to back Stu’s first operation, and his gourmet food distribution company, CSI Express was born. The relationships Steuart fostered over the first couple years eventually led to the creation of Tradewinds, a wine importing and distributing company, and On the Fly, an eight cart organic mobile food vending, catering and cafe operation.
In 2010, Stu beat out an estimated 25,000 people to gain one of sixteen spots on NBC’s 10th Season of The Apprentice. Stu had to traverse the complexities of his tasks, teammates and Donald Trump’s boardroom in an attempt to become Mr. Trump’s Apprentice.
Taste of DC and Drink the District were ignited in 2011 when Steuart decided to focus his attention with his business partner Dan Kirner on Social Event experiences. Taste of DC is now the preeminent food festival on the East Coast and Drink the District is poised to take several of its brands on nationwide tours. His main focus day-to-day is building and managing key partnerships in the business, expansion plans and working closely with the leadership team.
He continues to be driven by athleticism, seeking out obscure races not only to stay fit but to remain challenged physically and mentally. When not working, you’ll find Stu at home with his wife Jessica and their two dogs or spending time with family.