Q&A with Mark Fouty, Our New VP, Sales

Having joined our team last April, we thought it would be good to sit down with Mark and get his impressions of his first few months working with E&E Foods and the seafood industry.

EEF: Mark, you came to E&E Foods following a long career in the financial services industry; what enticed you to get involved with the seafood industry in general and with E&E Foods specifically?

MF: I have a number of friends in the seafood business, across the industry spectrum, and they all seem to have a sense of energy that is sometimes missing from other walks of life. In fact, it was a childhood friend in the seafood business that thought I might be interested in E&E and things moved pretty quickly after that. Specific to E&E Foods, I was attracted to the people I met; there is clearly an entrepreneurial spirit here, and given my extensive background in dealing with the Japanese market, it seemed like a great fit.

EEF: You have over 25 years of experience working in New York, Princeton, Tokyo and London at Goldman Sachs, BlackRock and The Bank of Tokyo. How would you compare the finance and seafood industries?

MF: The financial services industry is a competitive, global market that is highly regulated, where customers are very sensitive to price, and relationships often determine success or failure. This describes the seafood business as well, so I think there is more overlap than may seem to be the case at first. But it is a lot easier to move money than it is fish!

EEF: What’s your approach as VP of Sales?

MF: I see my job here as twofold: use my experience and background to support the Sales Team to increase sales and our customer base; and to help devise and implement new business development opportunities for senior management. I have a lot of experience across the complete sales and marketing process around the globe and I am considered fluent in Japanese. I hope to be able to bring some of the lessons I have learned to the sales team here. I have also been involved in a number of entrepreneurial ventures, and the urgency at getting things done in those situations I think will transfer well to E&E. Finally, I hope to be able to lend some of my product management and development experience in whatever way helps drive the business forward.

EEF: What are you most excited about in your new position?

MF: I am excited about the fact that the seafood business has so much variety and forces you to be adaptive and creative on a daily basis. I enjoy the opportunity to not only help on the day-to-day side of the business, but also to be involved strategically in some other projects that Tab and Randy have going.

EEF: What has surprised you or impressed you most over the past few months?

MF: Two things that have both surprised and impressed me is how many people have been in this business for decades and how utterly dependent the business is on the vagaries of the fish and the weather.

EEF: I understand that you spent a summer working in fish canning plant; what was your job?

MF: Yes! I spent a summer at an Icicle Seafoods canning plant in Petersburg, Alaska when I was going into college. Part of my job was to climb under the cannery when the shift was over to clean off the head and guts from the gangplanks—so that’s what H&G means to me!