We caught wind a few months back that Jeff Hantman, a Bay Area artist and veteran of ARTCRANK San Francisco 2009, was working at Clif Bar in a capacity so monumentally awesome, we had to get the full story. We’re glad we did.
The curatorial force behind the art-infused workspace, Hantman isn’t your typical HR guy. Makes sense considering the organic energy and nutrition foods maker isn’t your typical company.
A self-described bike addict, Hantman left New Jersey for the riding possibilities of Northern California in 1995, where he’s been “racing and finishing gloriously in the mid-pack with friends” ever since.
During his first few years in the Bay Area, Jeff put his printmaking degree to use working in a variety of print shops—including a stint at Paulson Bott Press, working on specialized Intaglio printing projects with the likes of renowned artists Squeak Carnwath, Radcliffe Bailey, and Caio Fonseca.
Putting full-time ink aside for a bit, Jeff turned his focus to bikes, spending a year running a mobile bike repair program and working for the Marin chapter of the youth cycling non-profit Trips for Kids.
In 2001, Jeff made his way to Clif Bar, where he spent the next six years as a jack of all trades at the family-run company, doing everything from PR and branding to assisting with trade shows.
Returning to the print studio full-time once again in 2008, Jeff took part in a number of gallery exhibitions, including creating a poster for ARTCRANK’s San Francisco debut in 2009.
“I fondly remember that day as being awesome,” said Hantman. “It was one of those quintessential days. Some friends and I finished a cross ride, grabbed burritos and beers, and went to the show to cap it all off.”
In 2010, Jeff was back at Clif in an HR temp position when the company relocated from the hills of Berkeley to a newly remodeled space in nearby Emeryville.
The new location boasted everything you could ask for in an office and then some—café, gym, barber, and even an in-house movie theatre. But after several months in the space, something was still a bit off.
The 115,000-square-foot former manufacturing plant had some serious empty wall space. Co-owner Kit Crawford knew she needn’t look far to find the solution. Jeff’s artistic pedigree was no secret to his coworkers at Clif, and in March of 2011, Crawford approached him with an idea for a new spin on his HR role. In short time it was decided that Hantman would put his artistic sensibilities to use as an in-house curator.
Whether with fine art or athlete art, Jeff has found a way to take the already incredible space to the next level—something that neither he nor the 300+ other Clif Bar employees take for granted.
“I have to pinch myself every morning,” said Hantman. “I can’t believe I get to do what I’m doing at Clif Bar.”
While he still schedules interviews for prospective hires, things have come full circle, as curating has become the primary responsibility for Hantman, the son of an art teacher.
As time has gone on, Jeff has added new elements to his unique role within the organization. Although there isn’t a conventional gallery space on-site, he still manages to orchestrate an in-house art show every quarter by pairing an exhibit with other events going on at Clif.
As if being an in-house curator weren’t enough, Hantman has also managed to channel his passion for bikes into his role at Clif, by heading up the company’s renowned Cool Commute program.
Among the range of benefits enjoyed by the 25% of Clif employees active in the commute-incentive program, our personal favorite is the $500 Clif offers towards the purchase or retrofitting of a commuter bike. Not too shabby along with the free massages when you get to the office. And we imagine there’s probably no shortage of recovery snacks lying around either.
So, say what you will about there being no such thing as a dream job. Just know that Jeff Hantman will kindly disagree.