New Director for Global Aquaculture Alliance
The Global Aquaculture Alliance has hired association executive Jim Hirt as its new executive director. As the managerial head of the international nonprofit trade organization, Hirt will carry out the five-year business plan established in early 2006 to build GAA programs and serve more species and geographic areas within the global aquaculture community.
"This is an exciting time to join the strong executive team of GAA," Hirt said. "I look forward to working on behalf of the members and further building GAA as the recognized leading international aquaculture organization."
Hirt, who holds both master's and bachelor's degrees in business administration, has served as executive director or deputy executive director for professional membership associations since 1995.
He has specific experience in strategic planning, membership development, event management, certification programs and communications. In recent positions in the Washington, D.C., area, Hirt successfully managed multimillion-dollar budgets, encouraged partnerships with other organizations, upgraded information systems, established a new certification program and increased membership.
Hirt will take over everyday management of the Global Aquaculture Alliance, which will allow George Chamberlain, GAA's president since the group’s birth in 1997, to focus more on strategic aquaculture issues and opportunities.
Hirt will operate primarily from a GAA office in the Washington metropolitan area, where he will build GAA's presence and encourage collaboration with other trade organizations and government bodies based there. The Global Aquaculture Alliance will continue to maintain an office in St. Louis, Missouri, USA.
"We are pleased to have Jim Hirt," Chamberlain said. "The expertise and vision in association management he brings to GAA will help build further efficiency and infrastructure within the organization to support its growing role in aquaculture."
The Global Aquaculture Alliance provides leadership and coordination on global aquaculture issues. Its Best Aquaculture Practices standards for the sustainability and food safety of farmed shrimp -- now implemented at aquaculture facilities around the world -- have been endorsed by Wal-Mart Stores, Darden Restaurants and Lyons Seafoods. Work is under way to expand the certification program to include thousands of small Asian shrimp farms and develop new standards for fish and bivalve species.
"George (Chamberlain) has grown GAA to a great level, but he needs support to take advantage of the many growth opportunities now presenting themselves," GAA Vice President Bill Herzig said. "I am excited that GAA is at a place where its members can support a director like Jim Hirt."
The Global Aquaculture Alliance is an international, nonprofit trade association dedicated to advancing environmentally and socially responsible aquaculture. For more information, visit http://www.gaalliance.org