Future Leaders Trip to Washington, D.C.

Buyer Drew Breece heads to Washington, D.C. as part of NFI's Future Leaders Program

As part of our commitment to sustainability and the future of the industry, we are excited to join NFI’s Future Leader Program. Future Leaders is a year-long program designed to enhance the knowledge and leadership skills of rising industry leaders through a unique hands-on program focused on production, sales, companies, and the seafood industry. No other setting combines this kind of in-depth exposure to such a diversity of issues along with the opportunity to network and learn with a small group of industry peers representing the leaders of today and tomorrow.

This year, Catanese Classics nominated Drew Breece, our Fresh Seafood Buyer, to attend the Future Leaders Program.  Drew gets to visit Washington, D.C. for Session 1, Los Angeles, CA for Session 2, Portland, ME for Session 3 and Seattle, WA for his final trip in August.  Each session is designed to enhance knowledge and leadership skills in the areas of government relations, production, sales, marketing, and the industry in general.

Details from Session 1: Washington D.C.

The Future Leaders Washington trip was designed for the future leaders class to better understand how public policy impacts the everyday operations of the seafood industry. In D.C., they get the opportunity to visit lawmakers in the house and senate to discuss issues affecting the seafood community. The Future Leaders get first hand insight into how important it is for industry executives to connect with policy makers, regulators and embassy’s all making an impact on a local level. In additional to a day on the Hill, Future Leaders will get to visit a local family run seafood distributor, tour the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology, and visit a couple tourist attractions.

Notes from Drew:

Night One: We went to the Pentagon and had a private tour with the class. This was such a great opportunity to experience it on our first night of the trip.

Day Two: We volunteered at DC Central Kitchen. While this was such a great opportunity to volunteer and give back to the community, this was also a great chance to work alongside the 2024 class and get to know everyone.  (Side note- I don’t think I have ever made/ seen so much Ranch in my life.)

After volunteering, we then went back to our home base to learn more about the NFI, as well as practicing our Capital hill pitches. After, we had the opportunity to visit the Embassy of Indonesia and met the ambassador and some of his staff. The NFI has a strong working relationship with them. It great to see their place and hear their perspective on seafood from more of an exporting point of view.

Day Three: Tuesday was our day on Capitol Hill! Here, we met with lawmakers and their staff to spread the word and push our requests….

  1. Look for opportunities within the Farm Bill to promote seafood consumption into various USDA programs, such as the establishment of an Office of Seafood Policy and Program Integration in the USDA Office of the Chief Economist.
  2. Support trade policies that endure Americans can have access to seafood products that they need for their long-term health and well-being.

We got to go to the National Republican Club of Capital Hill afterwards, of which the NFI is a member.

Day Four: On Wednesday we got a private tour of the National Archives Museum. It was pretty cool to see the Magna Carta and Declaration of Independence.

We then walked over to IMET (Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology). We watched a presentation about what they do and programs they have helped develop. We then took a tour and checked out their research on RAS systems. They have multiple systems in the lab with trout, salmon, shrimp and more. They are helping to develop more sustainable fish feed opportunities using meal worms or mayflies sometimes along with and sometimes in place of wild fishery sourced protein.

Day Five: We took a trip back to Maryland and toured JJ McDonnell as well as had a presentation given by their CEO, buyer, and director of operations. It was great to see a similar company as Classic who has maintained family values and a small business mindset. It truly showed through their presentations, and the passion showed through everyone I met at the facility.  Up Next>> Los Angeles, California

Call a Classic sales representative today to check on availability!