Hoopers Island Oyster Co. announced that Bill West will serve as design and engineering advisor to the company’s equipment manufacturing division in Cambridge.
West will assist Hoopers to redesign several of its popular oyster aquaculture equipment models for new use by clam and scallop farmers.
“Our reputation for producing durable, high-quality equipment for the oyster industry, has led to multiple inquiries from North American clam farmers seeking sorters, washers and other machinery to increase speed and production for their operations,” said Ricky Fitzhugh, Hoopers Island Oyster Co. owner. “We will begin to take on those requests and tap into Bill’s expertise in designing processes and solutions that have never been automated.”
In addition, West will work with Hoopers Senior Fabrication Manager John Tall to streamline equipment operations, including production of the company’s Pearlception 3.0, a third generation high-speed, laser-guided oyster processing system, first introduced to the U.S. market in 2019. Initial orders for Pearlception 3.0 have been received from oyster farms in New York, North Carolina, Virginia and Washington State.
West has worked in Dorchester County for nearly 40 years designing turnkey custom metal and woodworking processes for various industries and continues with his present company, Pokeberry Cove Millworks, LLC. Earlier in his career as Vice President of Engineering for Maryland Wire Belts, West and team members earned multiple patents for machines and processes.
“I’m always excited to design processes for new industries,” said West. “Despite being in Dorchester County all my life, I didn’t know much about oystering. I’m learning fast and happy to be supporting a local company.”
West has an agricultural engineering degree from the University of Delaware.