James Iacino

Colorado: home of world-class hiking, skiing, music venues, and…

Seafood?

By Cami Schan (’15)

On the surface, land-locked Colorado and seafood may seem like an unlikely pair. But for the past 97 years, three generations of the Iacino family have been committed to bringing the freshest, highest quality seafood to the Rocky Mountain region. James Iacino (B.A. ’05, M.B.A. ’12), the current president and CEO of Denver-based Seattle Fish Company, is more determined than ever to exceeding the goal of supplying top-notch seafood through sustainable practices.

In an industry based on handling perishable products, some companies may be tempted to push environmental concerns to the back burner. That’s not the case with the Seattle Fish Company. “We’ve been doing this for 97 years, and we can only do another 97 through responsible sourcing of our products,” says Iacino, stressing the importance of maintaining a sustainable organization. “We need to continue to educate so we can better manage the seafood supply for the next generations to come.”

Iacino doesn’t just speak about the need for sustainability—he puts his words into action. The Seattle Fish Company processes 10 million pounds of fresh seafood in the Denver area each year while lowering its carbon emissions by nearly 285,000 pounds.

SeattleFishCo_2-400Not only do Mr. Iacino and the Seattle Fish Company stand behind their sustainable practices, they are also committed to giving back to the Colorado community. Iacino has made giving back a priority by serving as the chair of Chefs up Front and Taste of the Nation, two organizations committed to combatting hunger in the United States. “Giving back is a big part of my life, a big part of my family and our history. I want to dedicate my time to providing nutritional education within Colorado for those on a limited budget to keep their kids healthy.”

This intentionality that Mr. Iacino brings to his work was fostered during his time at Colorado State University. After graduating with a B.A. in political science (’05) and a Master of Business Administration (’12), he’s convinced that his CSU experience has helped him in all aspects of his career.

“Political science has helped me with governing community and nonprofit philanthropic partners,” he says. “Business administration helped with the more straightforward skills necessary to grow a business and succeed in new markets.”

And while Iacino takes his career very seriously, there seems to be no doubt that he finds the fun in what he does.

“I love food and I love good food. Seafood is one of the leanest, healthiest proteins on the planet,” he says emphatically. “I get to meet with chefs from around the world and try new products. Food is awesome.”

While there is nothing Colorado can do about its landlocked status, its status in the seafood and culinary industries continues to rise in part because of the efforts of Iacino and the Seattle Fish Company.