With ambitious goals to reshape the mammoth Russian pollock industry and strengthen its image both home and abroad, Buglak does not shy away from a challenge.
IntraFish: How did you enter the seafood industry and why? What drew you to it as a career?
Alexey Buglak: I can confess that it happened by chance. In 2008 I was doing some project management work for an oil transport infrastructure development project. The PCA [Pollock Catchers' Association] Chairman who I knew since my time in the Primorsky Government offered me to join the PCA, and set some ambitious goals. It was a completely new field for me, which made it even more interesting, so I agreed.
IF: What do you aim to achieve in the sector?
AB: The great challenge for me in my current position is to successfully complete a comprehensive project to promote the brand and strengthen the reputation of the Russian pollock fisheries on the domestic and international markets.
IF: Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
AB: I am thinking about a manager position or private business project connected to production, marketing, or sales. Hopefully, it will be related to the seafood industry.
IF: In your view, what are the seafood industry's biggest future challenges?
AB: I expect the global supply chain of whitefish to go through dramatic changes -- a re-shaping of seafood's global processing map. New technologies of processing will become a ticket for success. Processors will be challenged to maximize utilization levels of raw materials and companies will have to meet growing consumer demand with new products to keep seafood attractive against other proteins. Strong demand for ecological and socially responsible seafood products will intensify as well.
IF: What kind of people does the industry need to face these challenges and take it forward?
AB: The seafood industry may benefit a lot from external experience of some successful non-seafood industries. People with vision who can bring revolutionary decisions to the industry will be needed. Actually, I believe that such people are needed everywhere and in all times.
IF: What is the perception of the seafood industry as a career choice amongst younger people, do you think?
If I speak about Russia, occupation in the fishery industry does not have a good image even though it brings higher income than many others. That is a real challenge for the Russian fisheries, and the industry has to invest more resources into improving prestige of the fisheries and developing social benefits to attract and keep younger people.
IF: What is the single best piece of career advice you have ever received?
AB: There are two career options: you can be a manager or an owner. Decide for yourself.
IF: What would you being doing professionally if you weren't in your current role?
I was always fond of the construction business. It makes a real feeling of creation of something that you can touch or see. So, I may have worked there.