Despite a Difficult Year, There Are Still Plenty of Reasons to Be Thankful

By Doug Hanchett

Can you believe that there are still five weeks to go in 2020?

The worst year in recent memory has also seemed like one of the longest. Even the most optimistic among us have taken to X-ing out days on the calendar like jailbirds marking time from their prison cells. Simply put, 2021 can’t get here fast enough.

The good news is that we’re in the midst of Thanksgiving season here in North America – Canadians celebrated it a few weeks back and the U.S. follows suit next week – and it couldn’t come at a better time. The annual holiday serves as a reminder that if you look hard enough – somewhat ironic in the year 2020 – you can always find something to be grateful for.

So we decided to ask around the company to see what positives the Innovasea team has been able to take away from a year turned upside down by COVID-19 and other misfortunes. Here’s what they had to say.

Juan Pablo Barrales, managing director, Chile – Aquaculture is a passion and Innovasea is developing cutting edge solutions all around the globe, so it’s been crazy exciting for me to join the company this year. It´s amazing and I feel lucky to be part of it.

Rafi Cordero, vice president of engineering – The way our field teams in Panama and Mexico responded to COVID-19 was amazing. Using the utmost care to stay safe, they immediately went into a “you can count on us” mode to not only keep the lights on but to actually advance the cause of open ocean aquaculture for our clients. It was a huge sacrifice that involved staying away from their families for extended periods of time to get things accomplished. We are extremely grateful for this.

Mark Jollymore, president – I am grateful for the openness and willingness of the entire Innovasea team to step up to the plate to devise entirely new ways of doing things that allowed us to keep the organization running while also staying safe during COVID-19. And I’m grateful to our customers for their continued support and understanding as we worked through the unknowns during the first weeks and months of the pandemic.

George Nardi, vice president of aquaculture services – I am thankful to be working in a field I am passionate about – seafood and aquaculture – and I hope the next 30 years are as rewarding as the last 30. I’m also thankful that, despite the challenges of 2020, there is resilience in this industry, which produces the healthiest protein available. Things may have slowed but we know they will pick up. People need food and seafood is in demand – and aquaculture is needed to satiate that demand.

Felipe Ramirez, business development manager – I’m thankful for the continued push for aquaculture in United States. This year engagement with regulatory officials noticeably improved. Some of our clients have seen forward progress on their pre-application and application processes. There are still some challenges, like engagement with stakeholders, but in a year with so much doom and gloom the slivers of hope and small victories are much appreciated.

Tyler Sclodnick, senior scientist – I’m excited that we managed to deliver expert consulting services to open ocean customers in four different countries this year despite the global pandemic. This is a big part of how Innovasea supports our clients. We are partners more than just equipment vendors as we work with clients for months before anything is put in the water, helping them with business planning, spatial modeling, permit acquisition and all the other aspects of starting a fish farm.

Tor Espen Skoglund, managing director, Norway – Unfortunately, this year has not been very good for me personally, but I try to stay positive and focus on the good things in life and hope that this has a positive effect on people around me. I’m grateful that no one in my family has been infected with COVID-19 and that we’ve stayed safe and healthy. And I’m grateful to Innovasea for giving me the chance to grow as a leader and manager in Norway.

Tim Stone, vice president of product development – I’m thankful for the successes we’ve had this year in Aquaculture Intelligence, including the introduction of the industry’s first completely digital control panel for aeration and oxygen injection. I’m also proud of the establishment of our office in Chile and the highly qualified staff we brought on to run it.    

Richard Vallee, vice president of fish tracking sales – When the pandemic hit and many of us were faced with adapting to working from home and locking down, there were a number of employees who needed to continue to work in our facilities. This meant some of our staff had to muster tremendous courage to leave home and report to work. Without these courageous Innovasea team members, our manufacturing processes would have ground to a halt and our revenues would have plummeted. So they are truly deserving of our profound thanks.

Dale Webber, marine biologist – I am thankful that our research community has continued to support us through these challenging times and that researchers have continued to be safe while conducting their field research programs. I’m also thankful that we continue to develop new exciting telemetry hardware products for our research customers, like our 307 kHz technology.

About the Author

Formerly an award-winning journalist, Doug Hanchett is Innovasea’s director of communications and editor of the Innovasea Insights blog. Early in his career he spent more than a decade working as a newspaper reporter and covered transportation for the Boston Herald before becoming Director of Media Relations for the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority and Boston’s “Big Dig,” the largest public works project in U.S. history. Since then he has served in various PR and corporate marketing roles, helping Fortune 500 companies and small- and medium-sized firms tell their stories in creative, compelling ways.


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