From the beginning, Trident has taken pride in
maintaining quality “from the source to the plate.”
It’s a motto Bundrant is more than ready to back up.
“Quality control starts on the boats,” he says.
“We’ve incorporated checks and balances all the way.”
;e process starts with ;shing the right varieties
at the right time. Once caught, ;sh must pass through
several stages of quality control, including everything from temperature monitoring to being x-rayed
for bones. Everything is carefully weighed to make
sure the weights are honest and accurate.
Trident employs a team of chefs and food scientists to create products that taste just as great at home
as they do in the test kitchen at the company’s Seattle-based Innovation Center. Projects in the works
include making their salmon burgers all natural,
kosher and gluten free, and creating ;sh portions
that won’t turn rubbery in the microwave.
“Our customers are the ultimate quality-control
monitors,” says John van Amerongen, Trident’s chief
sustainability o;cer. “;ey tell us how we’re doing
and we pay very serious attention to all of their feedback. If you e-mail the address on our Ultimate Fish
Sticks, chucks; email@example.com, [Chuck
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 27
IT’S NOT JUST customers that Trident’s
founder Chuck Bundrant wants to make happy:
He’s committed to his independent fishermen,
employees and the communities where the
company has processing plants.
Take the plant in Akutan, Alaska, for
example. Located near the end of the Aleutian
Islands, it has 1,040 employees at the height of
the season. It’s very much a self-contained city,
with Trident providing food and shelter for the
employees. Bundrant built a church and recreation center between the plant and town so
that everyone can enjoy it.
He’s also reached out to the various communities where Trident has plants by supporting local sports teams, and in the summer of
2010 he brought three performers from Norway
and one (a fisherman) from Sand Point, Alaska,
to all of those communities on what was called
the Great North Islands Gospel Tour.
Additionally, every summer he makes a
stop at each of the plants. Bundrant, who has
more than two dozen employees who’ve been
with him for more than 30 years, likes to walk
through the plants saying thank you to his
crew. When he was unable to attend an
Bundrant] will personally read [the] e-mail. Clearly
it’s very important to everyone here that the big boss
gets positive feedback.”
Trident’s quality-control measures go hand in
hand with their e;orts to address sustainability.
;e company works closely with the North Paci;c
Fishery Management Council, which regulates
ground;sh management, and the Marine Stewardship Council, which promotes worldwide sustainable ;shing practices.
“;e key is matching input to output,” explains
van Amerongen. “Alaska has individual vessel quota
management systems for pollock, king and snow
crab, halibut and sable;sh. Ending ‘the race for ;sh’
lets us concentrate full-time on product quality.”
Another aspect of Trident’s sustainability e;orts
is a commitment to using all parts of the ;sh. “Aside
from the obvious products, Trident also makes ;sh
oil and ;sh meal, and raw materials and byproducts
are used in pet treats and fertilizer,” explains Bundrant.
“[Sustainability] is a long-term investment, and it’s
the right thing to do.” He adds, “None of it’s worth
anything if there aren’t any ;sh.” C
A feel-good fish story
Kodiak Enterprise prepares
to depart Tacoma shipyard.
Wild sockeye salmon packed
in ice to preserve freshness.
Halibut fillets are trimmed at
the Sand Point, Alaska, facility.
employee’s 20th-anniversary party, he was put
on speakerphone to offer his congratulations.
“That’s what keeps me going—my people,”
says Bundrant. “It’s important to be sincere.
Say thank you, and really mean it.”
It was his father’s commitment to employ-
ees that lured Bundrant’s son, Joe, back to the
family business in 1996 from a job in the food
service industry. The younger Bundrant, who is
the executive vice president, remembers talking
with his dad about the three stages of running
one’s own business: First you’re just out to
prove you can do it; then fear takes over and
you stay up nights worrying. Finally, you reach
a place where you’re doing what you’re doing
out of a sense of responsibility to the employees
who helped you build your company. Bundrant
told his son, “These people depend on us.”
Joe remembers asking his dad, “What can
I do to take pressure off of you?” Shortly after
that conversation, Joe was working for Trident,
committed to the business and especially to the
people who make its success possible.
“You can’t expect your people to take care
of you if you’re only looking at the bottom line,”
Finished bags of Trident Ultimate
Fish Sticks are packed for Costco
in Anacortes, Washington.
Packing Alaska Cod at Trident’s
Akutan, Alaska, plant.
PHOTOS B Y JOHN VAN AMERONGEN
(Left) Safe Harbor Church
and Community Center, built
by Trident partners for the