Sorry I forgot to blog yesterday! I was caught up with getting my rental car and hotel squared away, confirming interviews, and driving up to Portland to start my trip. Last week was spent revising my interview questions for producers and finalizing interview questions for other industry players. I felt it was important to formulate two different sets of questions because of the diverse roles that the people I have been interviewing– this way I could encompass more of the marketing and shipping side of the industry. At the same time, I’ve found it’s helpful to mix and match questions meant for producers and those meant for NOAA, ODA, freight forwarders, etc.
Another big part of the last week was looking around for more contacts in Seattle, which I’m happy to report came through. I was able to get in touch with someone at Express Northwest, which is a freight forwarder that works a lot in international shipping. I was excited especially because I was told that it wouldn’t necessarily be easy to get freight forwarders in Seattle to speak with me because it’s a busy shipping season. I was also advised that FedEx would be good to get in touch with because they are the middle man for a lot of producers. Unfortunately I haven’t gotten a solid response from anyone there yet, but hope that I can at least have a phone interview with someone by the end of the week.
On Friday I drove up to Tillamook to meet with the manager of the only shellfish hatchery in Oregon. I was surprised to see the process of breeding oyster larvae involved the production of algae. This was definitely an interview that contained a lot more biology than I’m used to talking about, but it was really interesting to learn the process. Overall, our conversation was really productive in that we touched on all of the main issues facing the seafood industry. I also appreciated his perspective as someone who is not directly involved in internationally shipping, but is undoubtedly affected by the industry. After the formal interview we got a chance to talk about our experiences in China and I was able to talk jobs with him. I was excited to find out that one of my contacts for this week is someone pretty crucial in the whole industry and that speaking with her could lead to other opportunities. After the interview I went up to the Tillamook Cheese Factory for a little tour before heading back to Newport.
Most of the weekend was spent relaxing, but also trying to plan the schedule for this week. I felt a little nervous about going on a business trip, so I wanted to make sure I had everything together. On Sunday some of us headed up to Alsea to go swimming at Clemens Park (at a VERY cold spot on the Alsea River). While I’m already done with my first day of interviews, I think that I’ll save recapping the whole week for my next post. I can’t believe the end of the program is almost here, but I’m excited to put all of my work together and present it soon!