As humans, the Aquaculture industry has given us a lot. And this includes especially unique opportunities rising all around the world for different talent. Recently, for our Talent View, I had the chance to have a chat with Andri Quevedo Aldama. He was recently hired by Saudi Fish Company as their Farm Manager for one of their Shrimp Facilities. This opportunity at SFC represented a big one for Andri. So I wanted to share his story in Aquaculture and about getting his most recent job in the industry! Let’s dive in!
How it all Started
So, Andri graduated from Universidad Nacional Experimental Francisco de Miranda in Venezuela as a Fisheries engineer. How he got there is a story in itself. It starts when he graduated from high school he did some vocational courses at an institute for three years. There he gained experience at some of Venezuela’s biggest oil refineries. Felt passionate about the industry and wanted to become a mechanical engineer. He applied and got accepted, and then when he signed up for his course they messed his paperwork and signed him for Fisheries Engineering.
“Life takes strange turns. So, I was told I had to wait at least 3 semesters of studying Fisheries engineering in order to apply for a transfer. But being honest, there I found professors and teachers that made me not want to change”. He says he completely fell in love, then graduated as the second in his class and was called straight away to join a Shrimp Farming company.
This very first opportunity was one that opened a lot more doors for Andri throughout his career. His experience opened job opportunities in Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, and now in Saudi Arabia.
About Saudi Fish Company
Saudi Fish Company was established in 1980 with the objective of growing Aquatic Animal Production for internal consumption as well as for Exports. They are one of the first companies in the country specializing in Fishing, Aquaculture, Logistics, and Seafood. Their focus is on providing food security and continuous development for Saudi Arabia.
Owning shrimp and fish farms, as well as production and storage plants, the company is committed to offering a work environment where everyone feels welcomed. Encouraging constant learning, development, and individual realization for each of their employees. Ensuring their employees’ comfort translate into satisfied customers.
Andri Quevedo: Working in the Middle East
After more than 15 years in the Shrimp Farming Industry in Latin America, with excellent experiences and opportunities, there comes this opportunity. SFC is looking for a Farm Manager and Andri is a good fit for the position. One of the most difficult things he has had to deal with is being far from his family, and now he is all across the globe from his family in Venezuela. The selection process was not very smooth, especially being in the middle of the pandemic. But here he is.
“It can be complicated sometimes. I have had to adapt to a different country, with different ways and cultures. But is one rich experience, being able to work alongside people from all over the world. So I went from not being able to fend myself with my English to having to learn words in a lot of languages to be able to communicate with all my team”. SFC just finished its first harvest and is now starting a second cycle on this farm. For Andri, this has been a challenging experience. But also a big opportunity to prove to himself and the industry that this project is feasible.
“The environment, the water quality, everything is different, and it has been having to teach people new ways, new technologies. But the pandemic has complicated things with personnel”. Learning to do things in such extreme conditions, Andri feels like it provides him with tools to deal with things anywhere.
What is Aquaculture for Andri Quevedo
For Andri, Aquaculture is the future at the palm of our hands. “Every industry has been facing challenges. Anywhere from food production, to oil and gas, to technology. But what is amazing about Aquaculture is how we have been able to overcome any challenge we have faced. And we have to because we are the most effective way to feed a whole world. Not only because of the fish we produce. But for the jobs we are able to provide to different people with different backgrounds and stories”.
The Aquaculture industry has enormous potential, not only in an economical sense. And I believe every one of us, involved in the industry, can agree with Andri’s perception of things. So many people rely on this industry. But also, so many other industries rely on our products and byproducts in order to thrive. The aquaculture industry has not stopped. And cannot afford to stop at any point, because is constantly building the future while providing a present for everyone.
Andri’s Biggest Aquaculture Challenge
“The biggest challenge I have faced is sometimes people can be reluctant to change. The Aquaculture that was practiced 30-40 years ago is a lot different from the one in the early 2000s. And there is a world of difference between that one and the one we are doing today. However, you can find people still wanting to do things the traditional way, but having modern results, and that is not possible in any form”.
Andri says that a maximum return and result requires a maximum investment, of time and resources. He has had to wake up at 1 am and go to bed at 5 am because the fish doesn’t sleep. because the farm needs tending and caring. Aquaculture is a conjunction of different factors, and one of them is sacrificing as well as pulling up your sleeves. He believes sometimes people are not willing to do what needs to be done and go the extra mile in order to succeed. And that is another challenge he has faced.
What Makes You Want To Stay?
So, facing challenges of all sorts, personal and professional, what makes Andri want to stay in Aquaculture? He says family, and not only his birth family but the one he has built over his career. “Of course I have to sustain my family. But there is a lot of commitment and passion for this industry, that after all these years, I would not just let them go”
“Everything can be taught, except for commitment. If you find a committed employee, then you can teach them anything you need them to learn”.