Retiring COO Tim Horgan predicts more growth for Pacific Seafood
Tim Horgan, Pacific Seafoods’ longtime chief operating officer, announced his retirement last month after more than 25 years with the Clackamas, Oregon, U.S.A.-based company. Horgan, whose family in Astoria, Oregon, owned Ocean Foods, also served as president of Ocean Beauty Seafoods prior to his time at Pacific.
In the 1990’s, when Pacific began its expansion, Horgan was in charge of processing, the division responsible for much of the growth the company enjoyed at that time. He said the lessons the company learned then continue to serve it now that it records more than USD 1 billion (EUR 922 million) in annual sales.
“When I joined, which was in 1994, it was really a small, regional company. I think we had four operating entities at the time,” he recounted. “[Pacific Seafood President and CEO] Frank [Dulcich] has always had vision and so we were able to match up vision for the future with focusing on today. And doing that, we turned a small, regional company to a large, global company. It was a strategy of growing and attracting resource-share and continuing to grow.”
Horgan credited Pacific’s dedication to its fleet as well as penchant for creating opportunity both for vessels and customers, which allowed it to “deliver the healthiest protein on the planet to [consumers].”
Going forward, Horgan said one of the challenges that the industry faces is attracting talented young people who are interested in joining the field.
“It’s probably just because it is hard work,” he said. “It’s not typical to deal with the variables that we deal with in seafood, with the oceans and with all that comes with a wild resource. I’ve done some work in other industries and the variables in the seafood business are far more complex than anything else I’ve encountered.”
But “people power” is what Horgan believes will give Pacific an advantage over its domestic and international competitors in the coming years. Given Pacific’s stature, Horgan knows that they’re no longer competing only regionally, but on a global stage. And though it’s difficult, Horgan said he believes that to compete with the rest of the world’s seafood, an excellent team provides the added edge.
“Competition from the rest of the world is very [strong]. We’ve got competition from countries like Russia who are very focused in developed fisheries, very focused on the marketplace, and very focused on value-added [products] and automation,” he said. “That’s where it comes down to people. If we continue to have the right people like we’ve had build this industry, the vessels that we have can compete with anybody in the world.”
At the same time, Horgan said he sees room for improvement.
“Where we’re going to have to get better [when it comes to] our plants, automation, and answering consumer demands,” he said. “A lot of our foreign competitors are consolidating and growing and the world is getting smaller.”
But Horgan still sees great opportunity for Pacific and the U.S. industry, as long as it is able to keep up with the pace set by an increasingly global set of competition.
“The [West Coast fishery] is incredibly well-managed on a sustainable basis, and the oceans are alive with fish,” he said. “The rest of the world is moving at a very fast rate and we have to continue to grow and expand and automate and innovate to keep up with the rest of the world.”
Horgan predicted Pacific would expand both regionally and into new sectors. And he sees no reason that Pacific shouldn’t continue to grow and improve.
“Pacific is doing a phenomenal job on the West Coast. I think Pacific will look to grow in Alaska, [and] I think they’re going to look to grow in aquaculture,” he said. “Pacific has always been a strategic company, they’re very smart in what they do, they do have an incredibly talented employee base, so really it’s continuing to do what made them successful in the past – not losing focus.”
Though he’s leaving his full-time position at Pacific, Horgan doesn’t plan to fully step away from the seafood industry. Retirement will allow him to travel with his wife and spend more time with his family, but he plans to more into consulting work, including for Pacific.
In a press release, Pacific Seafoods President and CEO Frank Dulcich said he hoped to continue working with Horgan even past his official retirement.
“We thank Tim for his years of service during which he oversaw a period of tremendous growth and change in our industry,” Dulcich said. “Fortunately, Tim will still be available to help lend his expertise and support the leaders in our processing division as we continue to innovate and grow in the new decade ahead.”
Photo courtesy of Tim Horgan