Ewell Smith resigns article:
By SeafoodSource staff
26 August, 2013 – Longtime Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board Executive Director Ewell Smith has resigned from his position after 13 years, according to the board.
Smith tendered his resignation in a letter to the board’s chairman, Chef John Folse. In the letter, Smith said he has “reached a time in both my life and career where new challenges and opportunities must be explored. It is with a very heavy heart I write this letter to provide my resignation.”
During his tenure, Smith oversaw new marketing initiatives for the Gulf seafood industry, including the Oyster Eating Challenge, the Louisiana Seafood Festival and the Great American Seafood Cook Off, which appeared on television on PBS and Food Network. He also promoted signature po-boy builds at the Super Bowl and the White House, gaining more national attention for the industry.
“Ewell brought energy, drive, excitement and ‘out of the box’ thinking that propelled the Louisiana Seafood Board into one of the top-notch marketing associations for seafood in the U.S.,” said Harlon Pearce, owner of Harlon’s LA Fish in New Orleans, and former board chair.
In announcing Smith’s resignation, the board praised Smith’s leadership during hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, Ike and other storms, along with his efforts to tell the world about the impact the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill was having on the industry. His efforts, according to the board, helped the industry to secure more than USD 150 million (EUR 112.3 million) in disaster relief during the crises.
“His passion and energy were invaluable to the domestic seafood industry during those trying times,” said Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu, a longtime supporter of Louisiana seafood in Washington. “His leadership was instrumental in securing the funding we needed to protect and strengthen the Gulf brand and support ongoing recovery efforts along our coast. His innovative approach to addressing complex challenges was an asset to the entire industry. I thank him for his tireless service, and I wish him the best in all his future endeavors.”
Stan Harris, CEO of the Louisiana Restaurant Association, who worked closely with Smith and the board, also lauded Smith’s leadership during the disasters.
“Smith’s leadership has covered a span where five hurricanes and a devastating oil spill impacted our state and our seafood industry. His tireless advocacy and promotion created new opportunities for our products while addressing the negative coverage on the safety of Louisiana seafood.”
The board thanked Smith for his service, and also took note of his commitment to the industry.
“Your leadership and accomplishments over the years has produced unimaginable results,” Folse said in response to Smith’s letter. “I for one have valued your leadership and friendship and have been often inspired by your tenacity and style. You have a unique quality to move people toward accomplishment, which is so evident by the results of your work.”
(some via email)
“Professionally, it is with deep disappointment to see a leader leave an organization he helped build and with whom I and the rest of NFI have proudly worked. You have been a rock of steadiness in troubled waters, Ewell. Whether it be the hurricanes or Deepwater, your calm rallying of forces to help the Louisiana seafood community was amazing to watch. And to do all with this in the style of New Orleans were lessons from which I learned much.”
National FIsheries Institute
Ewell Smith, Senator Mary Landrieu, Stan Harris , CEO -Louisiana Restaurant Assoc.
“His passion and energy were invaluable to the domestic seafood industry during those trying times. His leadership was instrumental in securing the funding we needed to protect and strengthen the Gulf brand and support ongoing recovery efforts along our coast. His innovative approach to addressing complex challenges was an asset to the entire industry. I thank him for his tireless service, and I wish him the best in all his future endeavors.”
Senator Mary Landrieu
State of Louisiana
“During Ewell’s tenure, the LSPMB became the “gold standard” among their peer and related organizations for its creativity in seeking new partnerships and avenues for touting the many benefits of Louisiana Seafood.
He had a unique ability to learn what challenges the fishing interests faced and explaining to restaurants and consumers how they could support this industry which is so vital to our state’s economy. His departing is a significant loss to all of us who worked closely with Ewell and the LSPMB. In short the Louisiana Seafood brand and identifying marks have value today as a result of Ewell’s leadership and vision.”
Louisiana Restaurant Association
“You have been an amazing ambassador for your state and its seafood industry, serving as a steady force guiding the industry through crisis and helping them emerge stronger.”
Chief of External Affairs
“Ewell, the board and the rest of the staff built a powerhouse.”
“You have been such an amazing advocate for domestic seafood and our industry. You are one of the most upbeat, unflappable, and motivated leaders I have met. I don’t know anyone who was challenged with so much and was able to do so much good. Thank you for your hard work, passion, and efficacy!”
Chief Operating Officer
Seattle Fish Company
“You have certainly helped us, during challenging times, to promote the safety of Louisiana seafood. Your friendship means more to me than words can express and I sincerely appreciate you for your commitment and passion to promoting the great product, worldwide, that Louisiana has to offer.”
National Programs, Houston Community Relations, Government & Public Affairs
BP America, Inc.
“I wanted to take a moment to thank you for all that you have done for the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation. Your commitment to our industry as well as the seafood industry was and always will be un matched by anyone. When you went after something or a cause, you didn’t stop until the end result was positive for all involved. Part of the success of the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation is due to you. You have been an inspiration to all of us to make a difference and for that I thank you.
David Blitch, FMP
Vice President of Resort Operations
L’AUBERGE BATON ROUGE
This photo means a lot. This was our team of partners across the Gulf Coast…when you overcome crisis after crisis, no one does it alone. It was an honor to work with them, more importantly the friendships are cherished. A special mention of my two mentors, Mike Vosin in the light blue shirt to my right back left row and Harlon Pearce in the blue shirt, center front row.
Thanks for all you done for the industry through the years. Greatly Appreicated. Friends Always.
Louisiana Commercial Fisherman
“You have done so much for the fishing/seafood industry of Louisiana and have built a great brand.”
Food Marketing Director
Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute
“I want to thank you for all the things you did for me and for the State of Texas. Your passion and energy are undeniable and your vision for promoting Gulf seafood is cutting edge. It’s obvious you bring a true dedication to every job you tackle, and I always valued the fact that you gauge the success of your events and activities by the success of your associates. These are the ingredients that separate an average individual from a great one.”
Bobby Champion Jr.
Food and Beverage Coordinator
Texas Department of Agriculture
“You are a strong leader and team player for any crew. Please use me as a reference.”
Mark C. Romig
President and CEO
New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp.
“You have been an invaluable asset to the seafood industry. They will miss you and your energy and vision and dedication. It has been quite the journey. Through it all you have retained your flexibility and drive and willingness to do whatever needed to be done. Certainly nothing prepared you for the devastation that has happened in the Louisiana seafood world over the time you have been with the board. But, you always rose to the occasion and did what needed to be done for the community that you represented.”
Louisiana State Legislature
“You have always been a class act who took the high road in dealing with difficulties and conflicts and for that you have both my undying admiration and appreciation.”
President, Darden Aquafarm
Darden Restaurants, Inc.
“Ewell transformed that group to a leader across the country.”
CEO and Publisher
“You have been a great supporter of our industry and have worked so hard to make Louisiana seafood a staple throughout the world.”
Chief Operating Officer
ACME Oyster House
“Ewell proved himself time after time as an advocate for the whole industry, boats to market. These were difficult waters to navigate but he was effective because he was wise enough to get insight from veterans of the industry, sincere in his desire to do the right thing always.”
Louisiana Commercial Fisherman
“Working with you on the board was a honor. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to the Louisiana Seafood Industry. Your contribution to our industry will be felt for generations. The passion and love that you showed day in and day out for our industry was awesome to be around. Your creativity, loyalty, love for the fisherman, the food, the whole process from water to table was a pleasure to be a part of. Not only can you look in the mirror and be proud of what you were a part of but know that we all recognize what you did and are very proud of you.”
New Orleans Seafood
“I have the utmost respect for your marketing genius. You have done things for the Louisiana Seafood industry that are remarkable. “
Romney K. Richard
Sugar Journal/ Louisiana Cookin
“We will all miss your leadership. Mike was, like we all are, very proud of you and the wonderful accomplishments of the Board you led. “
Bon Secour Fisheries, Inc.
Gulf Coast Seafood Marketing Coalition
“You have set a standard not only for your successor, but for all industry organizations with a similar mission. I cannot think of an industry group so tested yet so successful.”
Frank Glaviano Sr.
Former VP of Production
“Congratulations on your journey, leadership and positive impact over the many years with the LSPMB.”
Communications and Government Relations
“The support and friendship that you provided me and my FedEx team over the years was appreciated and meaningful. You have many memories and success stories to reflect back on and it’s cool to know that you are leaving your job knowing that you positively impacted the Louisiana seafood history books!”
Fed Ex Express
“Ewell’s leadership will be greatly missed. He has been an effective and outspoken advocate for Gulf seafood, leading the charge for fisheries along the entire Gulf Coast.”
Sysco Louisiana Foods
“Your contributions are many and notable. I can speak for myself and all of Sea Grant……your absence will be felt.”
Louisiana Sea Grant
“There are few people who truly care, Ewell’s genuine smile and kind heart came through with every project he worked on for Louisiana, as well as the entire domestic seafood industry,” “He was a source of hope in a time of crisis. Like a rising tide that lifts all boats, Ewell was always a positive influence. His support and ideas were a key factor that influenced Gulf States to work together to help the entire Gulf Coast Seafood Community.”
Gulf and South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation
“Ewell brought energy, drive, excitement and ‘out of the box’ thinking that propelled the Louisiana Seafood Board into one of the top-notch marketing associations for seafood in the U.S.”
Harlon’s LA Fish in New Orleans
Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board
“You led a great effort with unimaginable results, you must and deserve to be proud!! I for one, have valued your leadership and friendship and have been often inspired by your tenacity and style. You have a unique quality to move people toward accomplishment which is so evident by the results of your work.
Please know how much I appreciate you personally and the great work you have done. You have brought Louisiana Seafood to the world at the worst of times and you did it with class and charisma. Congratulations and great luck in your future endeavors. I know for certain you will bring great class to your next leadership position. Good luck and lets stay close my friend.
Chef John Folse
Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board
Chef John Folse & COmpany