As we look back into the early years of Troutlodge, we can see the developments and growth the company has made. Throughout the years, many innovations have taken place within the trout industry. Tom Elliot, VP of Incubation and Safety, knows these developments best, as he has been working for Troutlodge for over 40 years. Originally from Ohio, Tom moved to Minnesota to pursue degrees in both Biology and Botany. After completing his education, he ventured to Washington for a change of pace and found a Labtech position at Troutlodge shortly after.
Beginning his role in 1980, working in the ponds, Tom was a natural working with aquaculture and was asked to move to a role in incubation and hatching. Responsible for placing, incubating and processing all the eggs at the facility, 40 years later Tom’s role has evolved dramatically. He now oversees managing a team of workers in incubation operations which involves taking care of all eggs coming into incubation, processing, and shipping worldwide.
Reminiscing upon the early years of Troutlodge and the expansion that has since happened, Tom recalls, “When I first started, I was processing around 250 million, and now we’ve almost doubled the amount of eggs we are putting through. Now, I can proudly say I’ve processed billions of eggs.” With Troutlodge growing operations ever since to include more ponds, hatcheries, and infrastructures, our capacity and ability to raise more fish and eggs has more than tripled.
“Automation has helped us progress and has changed the course of fish farming. With current technology there are machines that can help assist in processing and counting eggs, whereas in the past this was all done manually.” Not only, has automation improved throughout the years but also the genetics we provide are also of superior quality. From developments made through genetic improvements we are able to select the best fish for future generations.
Dedicated to continuous growth and improvements, Troutlodge has come a long way on the science side of breeding. With improved nutrition and feed quality combined with fish who are able to utilize the feed better, we can produce more eggs with fewer resources. Helping to feed the world in a more sustainable way.
Although the company has more than doubled in size since Tom was hired in 1980, Troutlodge is unique in the way it still feels like a small, family owned business. An aspect founder Ed McCleary would be proud to hear. Having every employee carry on the high quality standards of Troutlodge ensures a successful future. Tom says, “You don’t have to be the strongest or smartest to be successful in fish farming. Success comes from hard work, dedication and responsibility. It’s important to have a team of people who want to learn and do the right thing, even when no one is watching.”
With many innovations and developments leading Troutlodge to the success achieved today, it’s humbling to remember the roots where we began. As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of Troutlodge we are grateful for the past and look forward to playing a significant role towards creating a brighter future for the trout industry.