Grobest Co-President Ron Risher using roots in Alaska to aid company’s growth, acquisition plans
For two decades, Ron Risher has been a key figure in the Alaskan seafood industry, with experience at Icicle Seafoods and OBI Seafoods.
Risher’s knowledge of the Alaska market has led to him becoming a regular presence on the Global Seafood Market Conference’s salmon panel, where he annually provides updates on the U.S. state's salmon harvest and market.
Now, Risher is taking that knowledge to a new company in a new country as the co-president of Grobest, a Taiwanese aquafeed and aquaculture conglomerate. Discussing the move with SeafoodSource during Seafood Expo Asia, which ran from 11 to 13 September in Singapore, Risher said despite the change from wild-caught fisheries to aquaculture and the shift in geography, much of his previous work experience remains relevant in his new job.
“The primary overlap between my role with OBI and Grobest Seafood is in sales and managing our operating and logistics costs for both operations,” Risher said. “Many sectors of both the wild capture and farmed-raised seafood industry are facing similar global challenges with cyclical supply and demand.”
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic normalized working remotely, Risher said his travel schedule often necessitated it, smoothing the transition to working for a Taiwanese company.
“To be honest, I don’t feel like there’s been much of a change in my routine since the transition from nearly 20 years of Icicle and OBI back to working with aquaculture-based products,” he said. “Even before the pandemic, with my travel schedule, I’ve worked remotely and made myself available as much as possible.”
Risher said he’s worked with other family-based companies like Grobest, and the company has given him a “warm welcome.”
“Of course, I also feel a huge weight or responsibility to grow our mutual business operations throughout Asia as well as supporting our partners and maintain my connection to Alaska,” he said.
Risher isn’t stepping into the role on his own. Longtime Grobest President Ron Patton has stayed on as co-president, and Risher said Patton has already begun sharing his knowledge.
“Patton has been a wealth of information from his 20 years with Grobest and many years in the feed and agricultural industries,” Risher said. “He has given me more insight and stories than I can fully appreciate now, and hope to be able to call on him once he retires from the day-to-day operations.”
Grobest's current focus is on expanding its U.S. and E.U. sales of tilapia, warmwater shrimp, and yellowfin tuna. The company is also hoping to capitalize on Risher's knowledge of ...
Photo by Chris Chase/SeafoodSource