February 13, 2019 • Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites – Bellingham Airport • Bellingham, Washington


Mike Babcock

Oregon Seafoods

Mike grew up on a farm in the middle of the Willamette Valley. After spending four years in the military and a few years raising and farming elk, he started playing with small logs and eventually founded Goshen Forrest Products (one of the fastest small log sawmills in the US). Having a desire to be in the food business, he left the sawmill behind in 2010 to start up Oregon Seafoods to specialize in processing Albacore tuna into cans and pouches. After working with several local fishermen to help package their fish into new types of food service pouch packages, the business launched the brand ‘Sea Fare Pacific’ with the idea of marketing US sustainably caught Albacore to markets beyond the West Coast. The business has continued to grow into other value-added seafood-based products like soups and chowders. Mike feels the time is right for farmers, ranchers, and fishermen as consumers demand more transparency and want to know how their food is handled and where it comes from.

Kurt Beardslee

Wild Fish Conservancy

Kurt Beardslee is a co-founder of the Wild Fish Conservancy and has been the organization’s executive director for the past 27 years. Kurt manages a professional staff of 19 individuals with a wide variety of technical and scientific disciplines. He has worked on a variety of West Coast wild fish issues, from California to Alaska. He enjoys boating, fishing and exploring the remote coastal fjords of northern Canada with his wife Candace and his dog Wally.

Alan Birdsall

Port of Bellingham

Alan is the manager of marinas for the Port of Bellingham. He has more than 30 years of experience working for the Port, including positions as the Blaine harbormaster, aviation fueling manager, stormwater manager, and strategic project manager. His years of experience encompass marina operations, financial management, infrastructure development, and working with marine-related businesses and the local boating community with a strong commitment towards customer service.


Alan is currently responsible for the management of more than 2,000 permanent moorage slips and support facilities for recreational, commercial fishing, and charter vessels at Blaine Harbor and Squalicum Harbor. His responsibilities range from managing marina personnel and budgeting to supporting the local commercial fishing industry and other marine-related businesses through the development of infrastructure upgrades, programs, and business-friendly policies.

Jeremy Brown

F/V Barcarole

Since 1981 Jeremy Brown has fished from the Bering Sea to the South Pacific. Trolling and longlining are his mainstays, and he now concentrates on bringing fresh, seasonal fish from our immediate ocean waters directly to the region’s restaurants and consumers.


“If we catch fish one at a time, and seafood is served one plate at a time, it stands to reason that it is worth pursuing those markets, even if it means selling your catch one fish at a time.”

Nicole Curry

F/V Karen L

Nicole has commercially fished since she was 11 years old. With her sisters, she crewed on her dad John Curry’s purse seiner both in Southeast Alaska and in Puget Sound. She has operated her own troller, the F/V Karen L, for the last four years. She enjoys trolling, catching one fish at a time and selling directly to chefs.

Paul Dye

Washington Sea Grant

Washington Sea Grant supports applied research and delivers technical services for people who live and work along the state’s coasts or rely on its marine resources. As the assistant director for outreach, Paul leads a team of 18 specialists providing science, expert advice and training on topics of interest to coastal communities and marine-related industries.


Paul is a biologist with a master’s degree. Before coming to Sea Grant in 2016, he spent 30 years in the conservation field, working on the protection and restoration of bottomland hardwood forests in Illinois, subtropical coral reefs in Florida and the Caribbean, and coastal and marine habitats in the Pacific Northwest. He and his wife, Robin, moved to Washington in 2000 and live in Suquamish.

Chef Doug Elliott

Keenan’s at the Pier

Doug’s lifelong passion for food was born in Victoria, BC, where he lived most of his early years. However, his career began at the age of 15 when he started working for Chef Stephen LaFontaine, catering weddings and specialty banquets, at the Rock Creek Golf and Country Club in Portland, OR. He then moved to Tigard, OR to work at The Stockpot as the sous chef under Chef Saeed. At The Stockpot he honed his skills juggling multiple banquets and outside caterings on the course while maintaining the highest quality of an upscale, open kitchen.


In 1999, he moved to Bellingham, WA working for Emerald Bay Events, catering to upwards of 10,000 people. He switched gears from large catered events when he began in the kitchen at Keenan’s in 2014. With his experience and hard work he was promoted to executive chef in 2017, where he continued to focus on improving guest services and managing a strong crew. His main focus has been working with local suppliers to not only showcase their lovely products but also to create a tighter community surrounding the Bellingham area. He has been very thankful for his opportunity at Keenan’s, being able to harness his love for Northwest food and culture, embracing the wonderful seafood and produce grown and harvested here that embodies the Northwest food scene. Doug and his crew continue to embrace their love for food to create the best possible flavors to excite guests as they overlook the beautiful Bellingham Bay.

Chef Christy Fox

Evolve Chocolate Truffles

After graduating from San Francisco’s California Culinary Academy in 1992, Chef Christy Fox traveled all over the USA to learn regional cuisine, including San Francisco’s One Market alongside Bradley Ogden, garde manger at Pebble Beach Co. in Carmel, CA; Telluride’s The Excelsior Café with Jake Linzinmeir; Cajun Creole catering in New Orleans, LA; and Pacific Northwest wild game foraged in Sun Valley and Boise, ID. Being featured in 2008 NW Palate magazine brought Christy out to the Pacific Northwest, in love and inspired!


Chef Christy’s flavorful 22 years in the savory world has ended up on a sweet note. Chef Christy, owner/chef/chocolatier of Evolve Chocolate Truffles in Bellingham, WA continues her passion for flavor profiles through chocolate infusions with a deep passion for local collaborations.

Pete Granger

Legoe Bay Fisheries

Pete recently retired as program leader – marine advisory services for the Washington Sea Grant Program, a professional staff position at the University of Washington, Seattle.


Granger has extensive background in the commercial seafood industry, having fished commercially in Puget Sound and Alaska, and processed and marketed seafood products for several companies. He was sales director for Seafood Producers Cooperative in Bellingham 1989-1993.  Additionally, he served as executive director for several fisheries trade associations working on government relations and policies regarding the fishing industry. He also served on the board of the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association from 1997-2001.  He currently serves on the Whatcom County Marine Resources Committee.


Granger has a BS in oceanography and an MBA in international business from the University of Washington. He continues to fish commercially on Puget Sound as a reef-net fisherman at Lummi Island near Bellingham.  Pete and his wife, Debbie, live in Bellingham.

J R Johnson

Blue Heron Marketplace

JR Johnson is a former math educator and economist working in the marine trade for the past half decade. He was introduced to the Direct Market Movement in 2014 and has since worked to help promote fishermen and their movement by establishing Blue Heron International and its online Marketplace. With marketing, logistical and transactional support, the Blue Heron Marketplace supports the fishermen’s entrepreneurial spirit through peer-to-peer marketing that connects fishermen with wholesale buyers to allow the independent fishermen to promote their own label and take ownership of their product, bringing them a more equitable share of the wholesale market and incentives to bring quality over quantity and promote sustainability. The Blue Heron Fishboard beta phase launched earlier this year. JR and his team are seeking feedback and participants to this free community service. You can post your products at www.blueheronintl.com/fishboard which is reviewed by our network of restaurants nationwide.

Chef Shota Nakajima


Chef Shota began his culinary journey at the age of sixteen, working for a well-acclaimed sushi restaurant in his hometown of Seattle, WA. At the age of eighteen, Nakajima moved to Osaka, Japan to learn about the art of Japanese cuisine. In Japan, Nakajima had the opportunity to work for Michelin star rated Chef Yasuhiko Sakamoto. As one would expect, this experience changed Chef Shota’s perspective on cooking.


Since returning to Seattle, it has been Nakajima’s dream to convey Chef Sakamoto’s approach to hospitality and Japanese cuisine in the United States.


In the journey to creating Adana Chef Shota has had the opportunity to get to know the community surrounding his restaurant through his food and the experiences shared between guests, staff and himself. The community fostered by doing so has been rewarding and allowed for unprecedented growth in building lasting relationships with guests that are a part of a dialogue that spurs creativity, love of craftsmanship, artistry, and dedication. Pushing to be better with a relentless drive for beauty in detail Chef Shota has supported a team of individuals to hone their unique skill sets to move toward their goals.

Julian O’Reilley

Neighborhood Farmers Markets, Seattle

Julian O’Reilley earned an MBA focused on sustainability and food systems in 2009. She’s worked for the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance since 2010 as associate director and director of operations. Prior to that, she worked in food manufacturing as a sustainability planner for Nature’s Path Foods, founded an environmental organization for members of the lgbtq community, ran a catering kitchen, and served as a nonprofit manager for ten years. She never gets tired of kale.

Peter Philips

Philips Publishing Group

Peter is the president of Philips Publishing Group, publishers of trade journals for the maritime and transportation industries. In the years since Philips Publishing was founded by Peter’s father in 1983, the company has grown to become the largest maritime and transportation publishing house on the West Coast. Titles include Pacific Maritime Magazine, aimed at West Coast commercial vessel and terminal operators, FOGHORN, the official publication of the Passenger Vessel Association, Clipper Vacations Magazine, published for Seattle’s Clipper Navigation, Catalina Express Magazine, published for Catalina Express, Pacific Fisheries Review and Fishermen’s News, the oldest commercial fishing publication on the Pacific Coast.


In addition to publishing trade journals, Philips Publishing also specializes in creative design services for the maritime and transportation industries, with clients across the country. Peter is the immediate past president of the Seattle Marine Business Coalition, which represents the interests of marine industrial land users. Peter is past president of the Port of Seattle Chapter of the Propeller Club, and past regional vice president, West Coast, of the International Propeller Club. Peter has a BA in history from Whitman College, and has been employed in the maritime publishing field since 1985.

Kevin Scribner

Forever Wild Fish USA

Kevin Scribner has extensive experience in natural resource planning and management, community cultural development, alternative food systems, ecological restoration and commercial fishing. Kevin commercially fished for salmon in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska from 1976 to 1996. He is developing Forever Wild Seafood, an e-commerce seafood business, joins many colleagues in nurturing Slow Fish USA, and serves on the Slow Fish USA Policy Steering Committee. Kevin serves on the Policy Council of the Marine Fish Conservation Network, currently serves as the manager of Vinea Sustainable Trust, a vineyard & winery organization in the Walla Walla Valley, and works with Salmon-Safe, a third-party certifier of sustainable and fish friendly land management practices. Currently, Kevin calls Portland, Oregon home.

Riley Starks

Lummi Island Wild

Riley graduated from Western Washington University in 1972 and bought his first fishing boat the following spring, with virtually no experience in fishing or in running a boat. He never looked back though and has been a commercial fisherman for 45 years. When he moved to Lummi Island in 1992, he bought reefnet gear and helped start Lummi Island Wild. He also created Nettles Farm and the Willows Inn. While taking an active role in the farm-to-table movement, he worked to weave the sustainable fishery into the Willows Inn and was a delegate to the first Slow Food Terra Madre in Italy, 2004. He now works full time marketing for Lummi Island Wild Co-op and promoting sustainable fishing methods.