We are always happy to find inspiring and unique Aquaculture Stories. Every person pursues a different dream and every organization has different alternatives to help them achieve this. Some of the stories we have shared with you have been of people dedicating their careers to the growth of the industry in their home countries. And others have been about people exploiting their talents in multiple nations. Today I want to share with you Hideyoshi Segovia's Aquaculture Story. Hideyoshi is the General Manager for Benchmark Genetics USA Inc. Spring Genetics a Benchmark Holdings business unit for Tilapia development and commercialization.
Hideyoshi has international written in his DNA and has harvested an international experience worthy of his background. He Graduated as an Aquaculture Engineer from Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara(UAG). Hideyoshi then started his career in El Salvador and has developed and nourished it in The United States by the hand of Spring Genetics. How did he get to the Aquaculture Industry in the first place? What has his growth in Spring Genetics been like? Let's dive into Hideyoshi's story!
When I first started university, something we would often say was the only constant in Humans is change. I have found, in Aquaculture that the uniqueness of every story is the only constant among all of them. For Hideyoshi it is no different, his story is as unique as any other. He started studying Environmental Biotechnology Engineering, however, and this is part of his international DNA, growing up he would always talk about fish with his Japanese Grand Father. His Grandpa was a great chef and they would go early in the morning to the fish market in Mexico, an experience he always enjoyed.
"From a young age, I was always interested in anything sea-related. I originally wanted to study Marine Biology, but I also wanted to Study at UAG and they did not have that major. So I went on for Environmental Engineering which shared the first 7 semesters with Aquaculture Engineering".
But Hideyoshi did not need 7 semesters to realize his true calling was in Aquaculture. There was not of course a thing that singlehandedly made him choose this path, but a bundle of things. And since he always had his passion for the sea, it all made sense to him. But one of the things that did catch his attention more than the rest was the impact he would be able to make by dedicating his work to this industry. "The production and scientific part was of course interesting and a great deal for me. However, coming from developing countries, the fact that Aquaculture translates into food security and food production, was definitely an aspect that made me not look back ever again".
Spring Genetics was established in 2009, offering a breeding program of Nile Tilapia in Miami, Florida. Tilapia consumption has grown exponentially globally over the years, translating into incremental production of the fish. And this growth meant several expansions for Spring Genetics, offering Spring Tilapia not only in Latin America, where it started but in global markets. It came as no surprise, that spring fell under the radar of big Genetics Organizations around the world.
It is in 2015 that Benchmark Genetics Acquires Springs Genetics. And this acquisition has meant a lot of change within the team and within the commercialization side of Spring Tilapia. Currently, Hideyoshi is at the head of a team of 9 people. You may think it's a small team, but they run large operations all around the world. They define themselves as a highly efficient and productive team.
Hideyoshi was a bit surprised when the opportunity to work with Spring Genetics arose back in 2012. He was not actively looking for a job or an international climb within his career. He had been working in the Salvadorian Aquaculture industry for some years now. "Coming from Mexico, but especially with a career in El Salvador, it came as a surprise in a way. I went to a congress in Veracruz in 2009, where I met Doctor Morten Rye from Akvaforsk. The company I had been working with was gaining some interest in the genetics field, and I was trying to get some guidance from them. We kept in touch after that, and in 2012, they asked me if I wanted to join their team and operations in Miami and Mazatlan".
"Spring, and now with Benchmark has such an important global impact. My team and I all share the Genetic Core and Commercial Side of the area. We send breeders to Africa, Bangladesh, Latinamerica. Places in which we know millions of people will be benefited from those fishes. Making their situations better". But besides the ability to make a global impact on communities in need he has enjoyed the opportunity to share with other cultures and learn from other people. "These communities probably don't mind about the salmon business, they probably have never tasted salmon in their lifetime. However, when we talk about Tilapia, we have the fortune to help millions of people".
Hideyoshi says he is lucky everyone at Spring Genetics and Benchmark Holdings is passionate about Aquaculture and about what they all do. He says he has a strong team. After Spring was acquired by Benchmark they were all very nervous, naturally, what did the future hold for them? But he is happy where it has led them, he feels really comfortable in this organization "When I talk with the CEO or the CFO I can tell they have a lot of people focus, the humane side of the industry, and this is something very valuable. However, I also like that they invest in animal wellbeing and new technologies, which makes our operations a lot more interesting. I know I can keep growing and learning here at Benchmark and I am confident the future holds good things for the organization and me".
"I started from the bottom, having to lift food sacks and feeding the fishes. Something that is really important for coming talent to know is they should not expect to start from the top. The Aquaculture industry and everything we do within can be extremely rewarding, but every step needs to be taken effectively. Growth within the industry is important, it is important to understand where and how everything happens. You can only reach the top of the building if you take all the steps. Understanding each of the roles within the industry is important and valuable. Understanding the human behind each role".
We are in a world of relationships.
"My Salvadorian grandpa used to say: You can have all the titles and degrees you want. But what really matters is the human relationships we are able to seed and harvest. We can be skilled and capable of doing things, but if we are nice humans we will go even further. We need to be charismatic, but also humble, and only then can we be successful in what we do".