MEET OUR SPEAKERS
Meet our Speakers
Mike Freeze is co-owner of Keo Fish Farm, Inc., the largest hybrid striped bass hatchery in the world and one of the largest triploid grass carp producers in the United States. He is currently the President of the National Aquaculture Association, a member of the Board of Directors of Arkansas Farm Bureau, Chairman of the Arkansas Farm Bureau Aquaculture Commodity Division, a member of the Arkansas FSA State Committee and a member of the Board of Directors of the Catfish Farmers of Arkansas. Previously, he served as a member and Chairman of the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission and on numerous USDA National Advisory Boards. Mr. Freeze has over thirty years of experience as a private aquaculture producer and is an American Fisheries Society' Certified Fisheries Scientist. He received his B.S. from Arkansas Tech University and his M.S. from Murray State University. Mr. Freeze's family was named Lonoke County Farm Family of the year in 2004 and he has received numerous individual aquaculture related awards as well as having a state wildlife management area and a community fishing pond named after him.
S. Gary Bullen is an extension associate in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at North Carolina State University. His work focuses on educational programs in agribusiness management and marketing. He has developed extension personnel training in finance analysis, marketing, and business development. He assists farmers and other business people evaluate new markets and enterprises. He has M.S. degrees from the University of Tennessee in Extension Education and Agricultural Economics. He has taught numerous business development and marketing classes in Eastern Europe and across Africa. Gary grew up on a vegetable farm in Kentucky where he provided free labor.
Long time friends, Ryan Speckman and Lin Peterson started Locals Seafood in 2010 with a cooler full of Stumpy Point shrimp and a pick-up truck. Both Fisheries and Wildlife Science majors from NC State University, their love for the coast, the outdoors, and good seafood started early.
The foundation of our business is to supply inland chefs with a fresh, local catch as fast as possible. Three key factors distinguish us from our local competitors: traceability, turnaround time, and in-house operations. We value the people and places behind the items we sell. Our staff drives to the coast 2-3 times each week to hand select the best catch from fishermen and fish houses on the coast. Personal relationships with our sources result in a better product for our customers. Our business model depends on a variety of sales outlets, both retail and wholesale. As a result, we are able to move our product from the coast to the customer quickly, typically within 2 days after the product is caught or harvested. We buy whole fish and have a full time cutting staff who process our seafood in our 3000 sq ft HACCP processing facility in Raleigh.
Dr. Peter R. Ferket is a Williams Neal Reynold's Distinguished Professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at North Carolina State University. He is a professor of Nutrition and Biotechnology in the Department of Poultry Science, conducting research and education programs related to the formulation and manufacture of quality feeds, and enhancing growth performance and welfare of poultry. Dr. Ferket is a frequent speaker at animal and poultry conferences and has authored over 500 publications and 6 patents.
Dr. Bill Walton is an Associate Professor in Auburn University's School of Fisheries, Aquaculture & Aquatic Sciences and a marine fisheries & aquaculture Extension Specialist for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. In this position, Bill works with shellfish farmers, commercial fishermen and natural resource managers. In his research, he emphasizes the use of controlled field experiments to solve applied problems and to answer questions posed by the public. In particular, his research focuses on issues related to marine invertebrate aquaculture, fisheries management and restoration. Within the Gulf of Mexico, species of interest include the eastern oyster, blue crabs and shrimp, which form the basis for important commercial and recreational fisheries. Since 2009, he has worked with collaborators to develop off-bottom oyster farming throughout the southern US (casom.org).