Cavin Philbin - Vice President, Domestic Sales

"I really enjoy working with fishermen, knowing where the fish comes from, and being engaged in the processing. It allows me to better represent the product – and I like that."

Being VP of sales is not just about sales for Cavin Philbin. He also works with fisherman and handles production tasks in Bellingham. He keeps track of all the details of the job, and responds to changes that continually take place, which is the nature of the fishing business. Cavin joined the company in 2015, when his firm, Ocean Foods, was acquired by the Dana F. Besecker Company.

Cavin says the acquisition with the Dana F. Besecker Company has worked out well. “The fact that I was a UW Husky may have swayed Dana’s influence in making the deal,” he says. “It was probably part of the criteria.”

Growing up in California’s Bay Area, he majored in fisheries at Humboldt State, specifically in the school’s hatchery program. He transferred to the University of Washington to finish his degree in 1980. “I was able to combine the science of fisheries with the business and economics of fishing for my major,” he says.

Cavin built a solid resume in the industry, working in salmon hatcheries in Idaho, at a UW Salmon Research Station, and gill net fishing for salmon in Bristol Bay, AK. After college, he worked for Seattle’s Pelican Cold Storage, and traveled to plants in Sandpoint, Southeast Alaska, and the Aleutians. He managed quality control and ran three different fuel docks. He interfaced with the Alaska Utilities Commission because of Pelican’s hydroelectric generation plant in Pelican.

Cavin eventually moved into sales, with new opportunities to explore. He sold salmon and black cod. He and three partners started American Gem Seafoods, which was acquired by World Catch and became VP of Sales. But the 2001 bust forced World Catch to dissolve.

So he started Ocean Foods, focused on selling frozen seafood to retail chains and distributors on the west coast, including Hawaii. It was there that he developed a relationship with Dana Besecker. “I sold a fair amount of black cod from Dana’s company,” explains Cavin. “I also worked down the hall from them.” It’s an ever-changing world market, and Cavin says there is nothing boring about his work. “There are always challenges, and it’s very dynamic,” he says.

“The company has earned the respect of many West Coast long line fishermen,” Cavin says. The owners and managers understand the fishermen’s business. “We also have many loyal customers domestically and abroad that like our quality – and the way we do business.”