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 Hoopers Island, 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 joined Ricky to launch Hoopers Island with a vision to create a sustainable oyster population. Today, Johnny continues to serve as a company owner while simultaneously creating programs to restore the oyster as a keystone species of 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.
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 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 growers around the world to design systems ideally suited for their unique water conditions.
A former commercial waterman, Adan worked in the seafood industry for 15 years out of Hoopers Island. A native of Mexico, he joined our fabrication team in January 2018 where he is being mentored by John Tall in the art and craft of industrial fabrication. Today, Adan, his wife and three children live in Fishing Creek where he enjoys fishing and the outdoors.
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.
Tyler earned a dual B.S. in Biology and Marine Environmental Science from Salisbury University. He began his career at the Horn Point Oyster Hatchery where he built and upgraded nursery and spawning equipment. After working for several Maryland growers, Tyler now runs the daily operations at Hoopers’ flagship farm where he focuses on production and quality control. A Cambridge resident, he enjoys the Shore’s duck hunting heritage and sport.
Master metal welder John Tall 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 including Pearlception 2.0, the first American-made high-speed laser guided oyster sorter and grader.
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.