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.
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.'
Salisbury University student Allison Fitzhugh 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. As a member of our hatchery team, you'll find Allie - and her trusted yellow lab Baylor - in Crocheron where she helps produce larvae and seed for our farm and oyster growers in the Mid-Atlantic.
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.
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.
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.
Environmental educator turned oyster farmer, Mandy excels at helping fellow growers start, manage and expand their farms. Surfing, leading kayak tours and teaching marine science, she developed a passion for Carolina’s coastal waters. After interning at UNC Wilmington’s Shellfish Research Hatchery and earning a degree in aquaculture, Mandy helps farmers source seed, grow-out gear and processing equipment from Hoopers proven systems.
For 23 years, David has worked to improve the lives of the fragile and often underserved members of our community. He began his career as a sales representative for a medical devices manufacturer, eventually becoming co-owner and operator of several nursing homes. Born and raised in Maryland, David and his family share a passion for the environment. At Hoopers, he supports all divisions to achieve our company's mission.
Originally from Baltimore, Stephanie grew up boating and gravitated toward marine science and nature from an early age. Passionate about living sustainably and practicing what she preaches, our newest team member is an aquatic biologist with tremendous environmental experience. Stephanie worked with Wildlife International and most recently conducted compliance monitoring for energy and infrastructure projects impacting wetlands.
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.