« September 2006 Table of Contents
A tribute to Wally Stevens: Goodbye, Wally!
Slade Gorton & Co. President Wally Stevens retires after 16 years
By Mike Gorton
September 01, 2006
Editor's Note: Wally Stevens, president of Slade Gorton
& Co., retired in August after serving the seafood industry
for nearly two decades. The following is a letter from Slade
Gorton & Co. CEO Mike Gorton about Stevens' contribution to
his company. Aside from his leadership role at Slade Gorton,
Stevens will best be remembered for his contribution to the
industry in general. Stevens served as NFI's chairman in
2001and as president of the American Seafood Distributors
Association in 2002. He also is credited with founding the
Future Leaders program, an educational program teaching
participants how seafood goes from sea to table (see sidebar on
Wally came to Slade Gorton & Co. in late 1990 from
Ocean Products, a Maine farmed-salmon business, and he has
served our company and the industry faithfully ever since.
He brought to Slade Gorton a hands-on style and good
organizational skills. He promptly made his presence felt by
continually making the rounds to personnel in all departments
with both encouragement and questions as to how they together
could make their departments more efficient and effective.
Wally is a good listener and has always treated his
associates here with respect and consideration just as he has
dealt with his relationships outside the company.
Wally made it clear from the get-go that everyone here
should be customer oriented and that our customer service
should be second to none. He continually reminded our
associates to focus on the needs of our customers, vendors and
other outside-support entities to help Slade Gorton achieve its
goals. He realized that to do this, our associates needed to be
motivated, committed and happy in their jobs, so Wally has
always worked diligently with our department heads on ways to
motivate and inspire their staff.
During his years at Slade Gorton, Wally has been a major
force behind the significant improvement in
and operations technologies.
In addition, he has been a big advocate for training and
cross-training so that our associates acquire new skills and
grow in their jobs. He has continued to reinforce our policy of
promoting from within whenever possible. Wally is a consummate
cheerleader and has never been easily discouraged by
He has always been able to maintain a positive, upbeat
attitude and has a very good sense of humor.
Wally always has had the ability to analyze problems well,
usually after seeking feedback from employees. He is both
decisive and fair and has excellent judgment. His decisions
reflect his high regard for ethical considerations and for our
company goals. He has been self-effacing and modest and has
never really cared about who got credit for our successes.
Wally continually displays the highest degree of integrity
in his personal and business relationships. From the beginning,
he fit our company culture like a glove and certainly helped
enhance the reputation of the Gorton family business. He
actually became an integral part of the Gorton family as the
only non-family member on the board of directors. This is
appropriate, since Wally came to our company as a consummate
He has also been a big supporter of the seafood industry
through NFI and the ASDA. He's of the opinion that what's good
for the industry is good for Slade Gorton as well.
Wally will be missed for his steadfast leadership and
loyalty to both Slade Gorton and the entire seafood industry,
and so will his lovely wife, Meredith.
Nevertheless, he plans to remain involved with our company
on special projects and with the NFI as president of ASDA and
as one of our representatives. He certainly won't be forgotten.
His son, Brad, a Wally lookalike, is currently a valued member
of the team in our Los Angeles office.
Mike Gorton is CEO of Slade Gorton & Co. in Boston