"What's made the company successful is the reputation Dana has made over 25-plus years of buying. We buy a lot of fish, because people love Dana and what we stand for."

As President, Tyler Besecker is responsible for managing day-to-day operations and the company's great staff. He joined the Dana F. Besecker Company in 2004, back when they were selling to three markets: the United States, Canada and Japan. Today, the company sells to 38 countries, requiring Tyler and his team to deal with the complexities of international labeling, packing, certification, FDA standards and multiple currencies. 

Tyler says the company has always been small. For awhile, it was just Dana running the business, competing with big companies. "Now, we have a few more on staff, but we're still pretty lean and mean, and our strength is being able to stay competitive and responsive," he says. 

A Washington state native, Tyler grew up in the Bridle Trails area. He went to high school on Mercer Island, where he played basketball, a favorite sport that he and his dad shared. Tyler went on to play college basketball at Stanford University from 1999-2003.

Basketball was not the only thing they shared. "I'd been around my dad my whole life, watching him buy and sell fish," he explains. Graduating with an economics degree, Tyler saw many fellow graduates go into investment banking. "I had also been thinking of banking, but then I found myself in the fish business – I started to sell black cod and grow the business, and I knew it was the right decision. It's almost like going full circle." 

Tyler came on board during a time of transition. The company primarily sold halibut – but suddenly had a large inventory of black cod that had to be sold immediately. "The day I started, my job was to sell that inventory," explains Tyler. "I jumped in, sold a lot of it quickly, and thought 'this is fun, I like this job." And he hasn't looked back. 

Every day brings new adventures for Tyler. "In this industry, we have to look at weather, know who's out fishing – and monitor what's going on." He says you have to start buying the first day. "You can't take breaks and say, 'I'm not going to buy for two weeks' because that's not very efficient. You absolutely have to follow the markets," he explains. He learned that from Dana, who has been a strong buyer in longline fisheries because of his honesty and his integrity. "When he says he'll be somewhere, or do something, he does it," adds Tyler. 

Staff is a key success factor at the Dana F. Besecker Company. "We have really great people, and couldn't do what we're doing today without our team members." With three offices -- in Mercer Island and Bellingham, Washington, and Homer, Alaska – the company stays attuned to what's going on with the fishermen. "Every year we seem to buy fish from people that we didn't buy from before. We offer honesty, integrity and service…the reputation is there."