Photo courtesy of Pacific Fishermen

Ballard's Pacific Fishermen company recognized by Mayor

Mayor Mike McGinn had a lot to say about Ballard's Pacific Fishermen company when he recognized it as part of the Seattle Jobs Plan's "In Good Company" program. Read the whole press release below:


Today Mayor Mike McGinn recognized Seattle-based Pacific Fishermen for its resiliency, design innovation, and environmental stewardship, all accomplished while simultaneously preserving Seattle's maritime legacy and representing Seattle's rich heritage.

"In order for Seattle's economy to continue to grow, we need to nurture different types of businesses across a diverse array of industry sectors. Pacific Fishermen is an example of a company that is dedicated to maintaining the heritage of its industry and its owners," said Mayor Mike McGinn. "Implementing innovative new designs to protect and enhance the environment not only creates a sustainable future for the industry, but also demonstrates a commitment to environmental stewardship."

A part of the Seattle Jobs Plan, the In Good Company program is an ongoing showcase of businesses that spotlights one locally-owned business every month for being unconventional, transformative, and exemplary. There are a lot of incredible businesses in Seattle, and if your business is recognized here, you know that you're in good company.

Pacific Fishermen Shipyard and Electric was founded in 1946 by 400 Norwegian heritage fishermen and their wives as a co-operative style shipyard on the site of the 1870s Ballard Marine Railway. Historically significant ships built there include: Joshua Green's Bailey Gatzert, the world's largest diesel tug Mahoe for Hawaiian Tug and Barge, John Wayne's Wild Goose and Jacques Cousteau's Calypso.

Today Pacific Fishermen services tugboats, passenger cruise boats, charter boats, yachts, and traditional fishing vessels through fine craftsmanship and a dedicated workforce. The company's three drydocks are equipped for hull cleaning, high-pressure washing and sandblasting, and are designed for full environmental containment and on-site shipyard run-off wastewater treatment. While many other shipyards have closed over the last decade, Pacific Fishermen is still in business due to its ability to change with the times and regulations in order to serve its customers.

"Pacific Fishermen's shipyard maintains experienced shipwrights, machinists, and boilermakers at its ship canal facility. The experienced caulkers on staff in the oakum loft are a diminishing resource in the wooden boat trades," said Doug Dixon, general manager of Pacific Fishermen.

"Today the shipyard specializes in repair and consists of three haul-out facilities and docks on the freshwater side of the ship canal locks. The Board has directed management to make the capital investments necessary to ensure the long-term continued operation of the business."

Currently, Pacific Fishermen employs 70 local workers, a notable achievement for a relatively small blue-collar shipyard in the heart of an ever-growing and ever-changing Ballard. Pacific Fishermen has hired additional skilled union workers and administrative employees, increasing the core employee level by 20 percent, up from the previous 45 employees. Their subsidiary PFI Marine Electric, formed with their purchase of Lunde Electric Company in 2004, provides not only marine electrical service, but industrial controls as well for Seattle's emerging companies like socially-responsible Theo's Chocolates.

"Commitment to environmental protection issues is extremely important to our local waters as well as our shipyard and shareholders, who are fishermen, and their livelihoods," said Dixon. "We were first to install an industrial process water treatment plant for our drydocks in the 1980s. Now we have installed a rainwater processing system to treat our industrial storm water, as well as a system to discharge cleaned upwater into the shop canal with less copper content than drinking water, all at our expense."

Pacific Fishermen also believes in being socially responsible. Pacific Fishermen works with the community, donating alder-smoked salmon and cod barbeques for numerous charity functions, including: the Fall Fishermen's Festival, the Fishermen's Memorial, the Nordic Heritage Museum, and the Ballard Chamber of Commerce Seafood Fest.

The company actively donates manpower, equipment, materials, and funding to civic projects, charities, and non-profits. Donations have been made to the following: Market Street Holiday Decorations, Ballard City Hall Bell, Bergen Place Flagstaff (now at American West), Bergen Place Flag Poles (Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Icelandic, Finish, and American), Bergen Lance Mural, 24th Street Pier, Sea Scout Ship "Yankee Clipper" (maintenance and repairs), Sea Scout Ship "Propeller" (maintenance and repairs), "SS Virginia V" (maintenance and repairs), Ballard Food Bank (freezer grating and donations), Foss Home, Norse Home, Youth Maritime Training Association K-12, Ballard Maritime Academy at Ballard High School, Nordic Heritage Museum, and Norwegian Commercial Club Scholarship Program.

The company has demonstrated commitment to the community by utilizing a stimulus grant to install a 70-foot-long spray paint booth to reduce its environmental footprint. Pacific Fishermen has also installed a new sandblast booth with a steel-grit recycling floor, which has reduced the annual number of landfill trips and reduced the total tons hauled by more than 90 percent. These efforts have reduced carbon dioxide emissions associated with the company's work.

Pacific Fishermen also collaborates with the community by offering MBA students an opportunity to impact the local economy by developing marketing strategies for Pacific

Fishermen through a partnership with the University of Washington's Foster School of Business. MBA students have developed plans to help Pacific Fishermen fill its booth with business, great jobs, and opportunity.

"The Chamber strongly supports our maritime industry and is proud to have this opportunity to recognize an innovative industry leader like Pacific Fishermen," said Maud Daudon, president & CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. "We applaud their long-term vision and their community and environmental stewardship."

Businesses recognized in the In Good Company program receive several meaningful prizes to help their business grow and celebrate their employees, including a mayor proclamation; a high-quality video profile featured on the Seattle Channel; a one-year membership or an upgraded tier of membership at the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber; and a special gift basket for employees containing food, drinks and prizes from some of Seattle's most beloved local companies.

The highlighted businesses are chosen by the City of Seattle's Office of Economic Development and the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce by a committee of staff members who meet quarterly to select businesses to recognize. Individuals and businesses may also suggest recommendations via the Office of Economic Development.

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