Mac is the Sustainability Coordinator and Buyer at Seattle Fish Company. He works to ensure that the company is sustainably sourcing their products, which includes reducing carbon emissions by transporting their products via trucks rather than planes, purchasing more sustainable fish from accredited sources, investing in aquaculture to sell the most sustainable animal protein on earth, and helping educate the public on the sustainable aspects of the fishing industry. Additionally, he helps to make daily operations more sustainable through reducing waste at the facility, recycling, and reducing water consumption.
What led you to a natural resources education/career?
A passion for the environment, first and foremost, led me to a career in natural resources. Initially, my reasons were to work outside everyday, but now I work in an office surrounded by fish every day. Curiosity was what really fueled my true passion, watching a lot of TED talks, attending seminars and symposiums. Really just listening to real people's stories of what they were doing to make change happen, even in this political climate. My true passion for choosing Ecosystem Science and Sustainability is because land-based proteins will not be enough to feed our growing population. With the help of passionate people in the food industry and the sustainability of aquaculture, fish-based proteins can and will feed this growing population.
What do you identify as your 'big break?'
I knew the owner (a CSU alumnus) of Seattle Fish Company through a connection, so I was able to sit down and have coffee with him. After one cup of coffee, he reached out to me later and offered me an internship. I worked very hard at Seattle Fish Company and was lucky enough to be able to turn that opportunity into a career. The biggest thing was that I was passionate about something he cares about too. I’m not saying that you have to have connections to make a name for yourself, but to make a name for yourself, you need an opportunity and the rest is up to you.
What are you up to now in your job? Any noteworthy projects to discuss (or any recently completed etc.)?
I am currently working on an educational project to help consumers better understand what fish they are buying from us. This was a project I have been working on for about a year now, which started when I was an intern and a student at CSU.
Can you reflect on your time and experiences at CSU and how it benefited you?
The best experiences I had at CSU that have helped me in my professional career were my professors, Drs, Ed Hall and Chris Myrick, as well as as my advisor, Nikki Foxley. They allowed me to really exceed on my own terms as a Senior at CSU. Dr. Hall was my professor during my practicum and capstone projects. He is not only brilliant, but also a great facilitator for creative thinking and ideas. Dr. Myrick, my professor for Fisheries Biology, sparked a passion inside me for fish and also constantly pushed me in directions I never knew existed. Nikki was the one that allowed me to do an independent study course with Dr. Myrick and without that help I would have never been able to achieve my goals and be where I am now. These three set me up for success at CSU.
What advice do you have for current students or recent grads?
Go to the extra events like seminars, guest speakers, workshops, watch TED talks that interest you, etc. These will help to fuel your passion for the environment (or whatever it might be that you’re interested in) far more than your classes. Seeing real world examples of how people are working to create change is a great way to start thinking about what you want to do after college. The industry of environmental stewardship is growing. You don’t have to be an ecologist or a research scientist to conduct change. You can make the world your own; think about green business.
Any recent awards or distinctions you may have received?
No awards or distinctions were given to me, but the Seattle Fish Company was the 2017 Environmental Leadership Partnership Winner this past year in Colorado, so that’s pretty neat.