With deep roots in Dorchester County’s iconic seafood industry, Ricky's business savvy was born on the docks of his family’s fish company. After a decade as a commercial fisherman on the Chesapeake Bay, he harnessed his entrepreneurial skills to launch a successful wholesale fish operation on Hoopers Island. In addition to running our business, manufacturing and sales operations, Ricky owns one of the Mid Atlantic’s largest ice companies serving hundreds of clients in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and D.C.
A third-generation watermen from Hoopers Island, Johnny crabbed and oystered on the Chesapeake for 30 years. Intrigued by the opportunities surrounding aquaculture, he launched our company with a vision to create a sustainable oyster population. Today Johnny oversees hatchery, nursery and farm operations in Crocheron and Fishing Creek. An aquaculture evangelist, he’s lining up industry partners, policy makers and watermen to lead an oyster revolution on the Chesapeake Bay.
Innovator, investor and executive, Heather’s business acumen and financial prowess were forged on Wall Street as a leading ‘all-star’ equity research analyst.’ After co-founding Nevada’s first non-profit cancer treatment and research facility, she now invests in emerging technologies and traditional industries that save lives, renew the environment, create jobs, and make the world safer. A native Marylander with roots on the Eastern Shore, Heather’s business interests and passions led her to partner with Ricky and Johnny to seek a globally thriving, sustainable oyster industry.
Our talented team of oyster farming experts is dedicated to growing premium oysters and being the number one resource for aquaculture equipment, seed and advice.
Growing up around the seafood industry, Jimmy honed his craft working the waters aboard his commercial crab boat. He and his wife operated J&T Seafood - a soft and hard shell processing business - from the early 80's until 2000, when he joined founder Ricky Fitzhugh's Terrapin Fish Company. Jimmy was Hoopers' first employee when we opened our doors in 2010. Today, he is a key member of our fabrication team creating equipment the 'watermen's way.'
Upon earning her B.S. in Marine Biology from Old Dominion University, Imani cut her oyster teeth at VIMS’ elite aquaculture training program. She returned to the Eastern Shore to work as a Field Specialist for MES’s Poplar Island restoration project. Today, this Chestertown native has traded her daily commute by boat for the leisurely drive to Fishing Bay where she combines her passion for the environment, aquaculture and the Shore as a Hoopers Island Hatchery Technician.
Growing up surrounded by water, Natalie was inspired to pursue a career dedicated to reversing the crippling impact overfishing and population growth had on the Chesapeake Bay. While earning her B.S. in Environmental Studies & Biology from Randolph-Macon, she worked to educate others as Green Chair of Students for Environmental Action. Today, this experienced biologist and research professional is part of a dedicated team of scientists raising millions of oysters.
One of the youngest members of our team, Allie is no stranger to waterman's ways. The youngest daughter of our managing partner, she's been immersed in the world of commercial fishing,crabbing and oyster farming from birth. Today, she helps manage our retail shop in Cambridge.
With deep family roots on Hoopers Island, Bobby grew up in Cambridge before moving to Fishing Creek and working as a watermen first full-time and later part-time while serving as a production manager for a local industrial manufacturer. Today, combining his experience as a commercial fisherman and equipment fabricator, Bobby is uniquely qualified to oversee our oyster production facilities.
Growing up on a Texas farm, Sean spent a dozen years managing manufacturing operations for a large energy company before transitioning to aquaculture. He brings deep product know-how and a customer-centric focus to engineer grow-out solutions for oyster farmers. Today, Sean consults with established and emerging oyster growers around the world to design systems ideally suited for their unique water conditions.
Life guard, scuba diver, marine educator, and Barnegat Bay volunteer. Growing up in Ocean County NJ, Alyssa felt the pull of the water since before she could swim. After attending a magnet environmental science high school, she earned a B.S. in Marine Science from Stockton University. Alyssa worked for the Fish & Wildlife Service and two shellfish growers in her home state before moving to Cambridge to join our growing team of Hatchery scientists.
With a strong background in education, juvenile justice and mental health, Nancy built a career dedicated to improving the lives of children and families living on the Eastern Shore. Leveraging a B.S.W. and M.A. in Education from Salisbury University, she transitioned to government administration as a community planner and grant writer for Dorchester County. Today, Nancy manages our community outreach programs.
Inspired by generations of watermen – and motivated to help restore the Chesapeake Bay in his career – Jordan spent summers at the University of Maryland’s Horn Point Laboratory. Working side by side with scientists, he learned to spawn and raise oysters while earning a biology degree from Salisbury University. Today, he oversees oyster production from the hatchery through the farm, charting a new course for the shellfish industry and continuing his family’s oystering legacy.
Master metal welder John Toll hand crafts our precision aquaculture equipment from raw material to completed product. He burnished his skills over dozens of years at a world renowned metal manufacturer. John now translates our patented designs into Hoopers Island's signature line of equipment.
After 15 years as a chef and hospitality professional, Chris turned his passion for the food industry to oysters. Before joining Hoopers Island, he owned and operated a business creating ice sculptures for special events and corporate clients. At USAIce, he met and joined forces with Ricky Fitzhugh. A former marine, Chris attended the University of Arizona. Today, he manages our equipment sales and fabrication division.