Written by Jen Finn
September 4, 2012
I've met with Ray Riutta many times over the years. But my first meeting with him in my official capacity as editor of the magazine was at Seattle's Pacific Marine Expo in November 2010. Jerry Fraser, my predecessor as editor and the current publisher of the magazine, was introducing me in my new role and Ray was introducing the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute's new communications director, Tyson Fick.
I will never forget how approachable and receptive Ray was then. I was feeling overwhelmed by some of the prospects of my new job and being marched around the show floor next to Jerry, who is deeply connected to the industry. But Ray seemed to think everything would be fantastic going forward, and his ease and confidence brought me a level of comfort in the transition.
Ever since then, I've noticed that this is just Ray's way. He is a giant of a man, like so many residents of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska (I think Viking blood carries the urge to roam and must need vast corporeal margins to be content), and he's got that military stiffness in his posture. But the moment Ray makes eye contact with you and the two of you start chatting about anything — seafood, travel, kids and grandchildren — you feel like you're talking to your neighbor over a picket fence.
And so it was when I called Ray to talk about his dual careers (first the Coast Guard and then 10 years with ASMI), his family life and the future of Alaska seafood. I feel honored to have had the opportunity to interview him for the magazine as he makes his way toward a second retirement (p. 20).
I can't think of a better person to be the face of ASMI. I'm sure the incoming executive director will inevitably feel some of the trepidation I had in taking over my new post. It's difficult to take the reins from a thoroughly respected leader in the industry. But I am also sure that Ray, like Jerry, will do his best to make it a smooth transition for his successor.
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Getting back to Pacific Marine Expo, this year the dates have changed, so it falls toward the end of the month — Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 27-29. But we've also added a new format for Profitable Harvest on Thursday morning (the last day of the show) that includes breakfast with the editors of National Fisherman. The rest of the three-hour program is geared toward fuel-saving strategies, including alternative fuels, design and rebuild features that reduce fuel consumption and operating techniques to maximize efficiency. Your ticket is a bargain at $50 and will be limited to the first 100 registrants, so sign up today!
— Jessica Hathaway
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