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On February 23, in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, I interviewed Scott Horton, Paul Frelier and Bill More, who have created a new aquaculture consulting company called “3 Socios” (more about the name below), which is structured as a limited partnership.
Shrimp News: I’ll start with you, Bill, and we’ll just jump around as we go. When did the three of you get together to form “3 Socios”?
Bill More: Actually, we started discussing the idea about six months ago. I was thinking about retiring, but didn’t really want to. Looking back on my career and the people that I had worked with the most, I figured that Paul Frelier and Scott Horton had the skills that could be combined into a consulting group that offered a complete line of aquaculture consulting services. Over the past decades, I had worked with them on many projects, and together, we have over 100 years of experience in all aspects of aquaculture, but most of it is in shrimp farming. We figured that we could offer clients a complete package of services from conceptualization to realization.
Because the first name we came up with was already registered by someone else, Scott came up with the name “3 Socios”. We are equal partners in this venture, and each of us brings different skills to the table, so we decided that “3 Socios” was the ideal name, a name that would be recognized in Spanish and English.
Scott Horton: I’d like to add a couple of things here: I had just left the shrimp farm I was working for in Mexico; Bill was thinking about retirement; and Paul had the time to do additional consulting. We realized that our skills were complementary and that this would be an interesting time to do something together. In addition to farm management skills, Bill has experience with processing and management; Paul’s a veterinarian, pathologist, diagnostician and shrimp disease expert; and I’ve managed farms in Central and South America. We really do have complementary skills.
With the closing of the aquatic diagnostic lab in Hawaii, the retirement of Dr. Donald Lightner and his wife at the University of Arizona, and Dr. Carlos Pantoja leaving the diagnostic lab at the University of Arizona, Paul’s expertise in health management brings many benefits to our team.
Bill’s been a mentor to me since I was young, and Paul has been a friend for twenty years. We have all worked together, mostly on shrimp farming projects. For example, when I was working on a shrimp farm in Guatemala, Paul and Bill came to Guatemala and helped me resolve some serious problems.
Shrimp News: Paul, would you like to add something about the formation of the group and the skills that you bring to the company?
Paul Frelier: We’ve worked together for years. I would do health management on the farms where Bill and Scott were farm managers. I would go to their farms with a health management plan, and then they would implement the plan. I would return to the farms as needed, and they would send me animals for testing when they had a disease problem. General health management and biosecurity are my specialties. But I also do disease diagnostics and work with the biologists at farms on implementing health and biosecurity programs. I concentrate on farms’ specific disease problems and set up protocols for correcting them. When farms have problems, they send me tissue samples, and I have them analyzed.
Shrimp News: Bill, what do you bring to the table?
Bill More: Both Scott and I have been farm specialists for a long time. I know the feed mill and processing side of the business, including marketing and quality control. Scott doesn’t feel completely comfortable with the processing end of the business because he has not done a lot of work in that area.
Scott Horton: Bill, don’t forget all those years that you worked on getting farms certified. How many years did you put in with the Global Aquaculture Alliances’ Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) and the Aquaculture Certification Council?
Bill More: Fourteen years—certifying hatcheries, farms, feed mills and processing plants.
Scott Horton: And for the thirty years before that, Bill managed one of the biggest shrimp farms in the world in Panama, where he worked with hatcheries, pond management, processing and marketing. He’s one of the pioneer’s of world shrimp farming.
My career has been completely in shrimp production. I’ve been doing it for 34 years, starting with big semi-intensive pond projects and more recently with intensive and super-intensive projects. I managed a hatchery in Guatemala, and I’ve been involved with the feed mill industry; although I don’t consider myself an expert on feed mills, they have always been an integral part of my job.
Shrimp News: How will you organize things? Will you have a central office? Will you work out of your homes? Will you have a webpage?
Scott Horton: We’ll use Bill’s home as a central location. His wife, Betty, who has a long history of office management at the Global Aquaculture Alliance, will handle the organization and administration of the business. The three of us will continue living at our present locations. If we get a project to help a company with certification, then Bill’s the guy that would take on most of that work. Clients don’t have to hire and pay the three of us. If someone just needs to have tissue samples analyzed, then Paul would do that work.
Shrimp News: Has 3 Socios taken on any clients yet?
Scott Horton: Yes, we’re doing consulting for a business that produces an enzyme that helps fish and shrimp digest plant proteins better. Located in Mexico, the name of the company is Tryadd. Its enzymes are manufactured in the United States and the United Kingdom. Currently, Tryadd is the leading manufacturer of enzymes for the swine and poultry industry, but it does not know much about the aquaculture industry. Aquaculture could become a significant market for them. There is scientific information that several of their enzymes works in fish and shrimp. They approached us for background information on the aquaculture industries. They view us as practical people that can determine what needs to be done to market their product to aquaculture feed companies around the world. They want us to help them coordinate research, to set up trials to test their product and to get it on the market.
Shrimp News: What does the product do? How does it work? And how do you get it into fish or shrimp?
Scott Horton: It’s delivered in the feed and allows fish and shrimp to use vegetable proteins more efficiently, reducing the need for expensive fishmeal. The production of fishmeal for the last fifteen years has been relatively static, while aquaculture production has been growing by leaps and bounds and is expected to grow even more rapidly in the future. As the price of fishmeal increases, we think the aquaculture industries will be a great market for their product.
Bill More: We’re getting lots of requests for doing seminars and training programs to help countries and farms improve their aquaculture operations. That’s where our combined skills can really benefit an organization. Two or three groups have already approached us to do complete training programs. The Global Aquaculture Alliance and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations have projects where they bring in specialists like 3 Socios to do training. Rather than having to hire someone for health management, someone for farm and hatchery management and someone for processing and marketing, we could do the whole package. We could even give them the follow-up assistance they might need to make sure their programs were implemented right. It’s better to hire someone that’s been through the process and understands the operational aspects of integrated aquaculture.
Shrimp News: Paul, what kind of lab facilities do you have or have access to?
Paul Frelier: I use the Montana State Animal Health Diagnostic Lab in Bozeman, Montana, to prepare my slides and tissue samples. I read the slides at my house in Three Forks, Montana, about a half hour away. I farm out polymerase chain reaction (PCR) work to either the University of Arizona or to Susan Laramore’s lab in Florida. If I need some special work done, with mollusks for example, I work with Dr. Ralph Elston in the state of Washington. We just finished some work on oysters. He’s got a PCR lab.
Shrimp News: Who will do all the back office paperwork for 3 Socios?
Bill More: My wife, Betty, will do most of that. She’ll handle the reports and communications. As you know, I have outside consulting jobs, Paul has other consulting jobs, and so does Scott. Each of us will continue doing some consulting outside of 3 Socios. At the beginning, Scott will be doing most of 3 Socios’ consulting, and Paul and I will come in with our expertise when he needs it.
Scott Horton: Betty More has worked her whole life in aquaculture, mostly with Bill, but also with the Global Aquaculture Alliance, where they were both employees of GAA. Betty’s skills are in organization and administration. Earlier, Bill mentioned our interest in doing seminars and training programs. Betty has the skills to put together a complete training program. She could easily organize a program from her house that could be implemented in India or China. She has contacts all over the world. Considering the contribution that Betty will be making to the company, we might have to change the name of the business to “4 Socios”.
Shrimp News: Can any of you envision a time when you will stop doing outside work and bring all your jobs into 3 Socios?
Paul Frelier: I like the idea of continuing with outside consulting. Sometimes a client just needs a veterinarian or pathologist, and I would like to continue doing those jobs.
Scott Horton: I agree with that. Bill wants to continue with some of his certification work, Paul has some long-term clients, and I’m doing some work with shrimp farms in Mexico. For example, the job with the enzymes, I started that myself, but to do it right requires all of our skills, so we’ll bring that job into 3 Socios’ tent.
Shrimp News: How will you divide up the money?
Scott Horton: On the amount of work that each of us puts into a project.
Shrimp News: At the beginning, where do you think most of your work is going to come from?
Bill More: We’ve all done a lot of work in South and Central America, so in the beginning, I expect that’s where most of our consulting jobs will originate.
Shrimp News: How do you plan to market your services?
Bill More: Word of mouth. We plan to be very straightforward with our clients and provide them with excellent services. I think that’s all we need to do to make the business work.
Shrimp News: Do you plan to have a webpage?
Bill More: Yes, we have already found a person to do our webpage.Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International, May 23, 2016.
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