Staff

Staff

Michael Kotok
President

Michael was born and raised in Buffalo, NY. As President of Arctic Fisheries Ltd., Michael is responsible for all daily operations, sales management, procurement, finance and marketing functions.  Michael is also the author of our famous Weekly Market Updates.  Michael is a board member of the National Fisheries Institute (NFI) and the Better Seafood Board.

Michael graduated from University of Buffalo’s Business School where he played lacrosse and skied, alot. Michael began in the business as a youngster working weekends in the freezers and coolers of Kotok & Heims in the late 70’s and early 80’s. After college, Baltimore Fish & Oyster on Buffalo’s east side was the venue for continued education and insight into all aspects of a wholesale and retail seafood operation. Afterwards, Michael joined X-Sea-Lnt International Corp.and spearheaded the drive to change the name from X-Sea-Lnt to Arctic Fisheries.

Michael’s hobbies include skiing, mountain biking and lacrosse.  When not in town, you’ll find Michael out west with his wife, usually in the deepest powder possible.

Large Iceland Harvest or OP cod loins (that way you get huge flakes) loaded with hot sauce and grilled on a barbeque is Michael’s preferred fish dish. Fish tacos are also a favorite.


Brett Barber
Chief Operations Officer

Email: brett@arcticfisheries.com

Brett, native to Western New York, currently resides in East Amherst. He is a graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he was a member of the men’s ice hockey team.  Committed to self-improvement, Brett enrolled in graduate studies pursuing an accounting based MBA.  With the encouragement and support of family and friends, Brett is expected to complete his degree from Canisius College by the end of 2017.

Prior to joining Arctic Fisheries Ltd., Brett was as an award-winning manager in the Buffalo office of a Fortune 500 Company. He is a highly motivated, well-organized, and results-driven professional bringing over ten (10) years of valuable and diverse management experience to Arctic Fisheries Ltd.  Having worked in fast paced, constantly evolving environments, Brett has become a passionate believer that strong team communication is the foundation for a successful business culture.

Growing up, Brett’s life centered on family, friends and sports…come to think of it, not much has changed.  Summers belong to golf, lacrosse, relaxing by the pool, fishing out on the lake, and an annual trek to Stone Harbor, New Jersey for a large extended family vacation. Winters include ice hockey, skiing and camping in the Adirondacks. It is easy to see why Buffalo, a hockey and football crazy city, resting on the shores of Lake Erie and offering such close proximity to so many natural and man-made attractions has been such a natural fit for Brett.

Brett’s favorite seafood dish is grilled Atlantic Cod, don’t be shy with the Old Bay Seasoning.

 


Mark Kotok
Vice President/Retired

Mark was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. He has been in the fish business from about the time he started to walk. He started out in the business by “spooning smelts” (a procedure designed to remove the head and entrails from fresh smelts by using a common teaspoon) at the age of 5 at his father’s fresh fish company (see; Arctic Fisheries Our Story)

After graduation from Kent State University in 1971 with a Bachelors of Business Administration, he entered the family business full time. He ran virtually every segment of the business including the importation and sales of all types of fresh and frozen seafood, operations, warehousing, distribution and administration. He was actively involved in importing seafood from Canada, Norway, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, Taiwan, and Thailand.

Through a series of mergers and acquisitions, Mark had the opportunity to start X-Sea-Lnt International Corp. in 1987. The seafood importing company changed its name to Arctic Fisheries Ltd. in January 1999 (see Our Story).

Mark is married to the former Rina Brickman and has three grown children; Michael, Aaron, and Adam. Mark and Rina both occupy themselves with a growing number of grandchildren. In addition to golf, Mark enjoys discussing seafood with anyone who will listen.


Debbie Duringer
Accounting

Email: debbie@arcticfisheries.com

Debbie was born in New Jersey and now lives in Buffalo, NY. Debbie is a graduate of the University of Buffalo’s School of Management where she majored in accounting. At Arctic Fisheries, Debbie is responsible for many accounting and book-keeping functions.

Debbie and her husband Mike have two sons; Alex (15) and William (13). She spends a lot of time with her family and enjoys cooking and gardening.

Debbie’s favorite fish dinner is Manaberg Packed at Sea Haddock, baked or grilled.

 

 


Steve Blaszak
Operations Manager

Email: steve@arcticfisheries.com

Steve was born and raised in Buffalo, NY. Steve is responsible for all of our shipping. Steve is widely regarded as one of the best in the industry. He can get your shipment to you, on time, economically. Steve also assists with many other functions around our offices.

Steve is pictured with his daughter, Brianna Marie, born on April 20th, 2001. Steve and his wife Kelly also have twin girls; McKenzie and Madison.

Steve is an avid golfer and also enjoys soccer, eating pizza, skiing and hanging-out with family and friends.

Steve’s favorite fish is Manaberg Packed at Sea cod, prepared any way, just make sure he gets a large piece!


Heidi Butler
Logistics Manager

Email: heidi@arcticfisheries.com

Heidi was born and raised in the Buffalo, NY-area. Heidi assists with all of our customer-service initiatives. She is also our major-events planner and assists with planning all meetings, conventions and shows.

Heidi is a graduate of Canisius College and holds a degree in Marketing and Management. She is an active member of Alpha Omicron Pi Alumnae Chapter.

When not at Arctic Fisheries, she enjoys shopping at IKEA with her husband Frank, traveling, reading, going to the beach, city-walks and enjoying movies.

Heidi’s favorite fish is Manaberg Packed at Sea Cod prepared spicy; either with cajun seasoning or hot sauce.


 

Dan Smykowski
Sales Manager

Email: dan@arcticfisheries.com

Dan was born and raised in Buffalo, NY. He graduated from Buffalo State College with a degree in business economics.

Dan enjoys playing soccer, traveling, snowboarding, collecting vinyl records, music and brewing his own beer. He also is a supporter of Buffalo sports, attending games whenever he can.

His favorite dish is a toss-up between grilled cod and fish tacos, though he insists on frozen-at-sea cod, whether it be Manaberg or Yagry.

 


Mike D’Angelo
Sales Manager

Email: miked@arcticfisheries.com

Mike was born and raised in Buffalo, NY.  A graduate of SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry, Mike is the newest addition to Arctic Fisheries.  He brings an enthusiastic sales attitude, a lot of energy and technical knowledge of fish and the environment to the company.

When not working, Mike enjoys; the outdoors, spending time with his wife and son, kayaking, handyman projects around the house, constantly upgrading his Jeep and off-road camping.

Mike enjoys a traditional Buffalo, New York haddock fish fry made with Manaberg Packed at Sea haddock from Iceland, beer-battered and accompanied by a cold hard cider.


Nicole Garey
Email: nicole@arcticfisheries.com

Nicole holds a BA in English from the University at Buffalo, where she studied 18th Century British Literature and the rise of the novel. During this time, she was asked whether she planned to teach so many times that she began to consider it. After two semesters of graduate study and TA work at the University of Massachusetts, she decided against it.

As might be expected, she has a lot of experience waiting tables and bartending. She has written wine menus, prepared tastings, and learned a lot about pairing food with wine and beer. One of her favorite dishes is haddock en papillote with roasted vegetables, but she also really loves the fish tacos at Kaya in the Strip District of Pittsburgh, PA.

She also has a lot of experience conducting research and compiling documents. She considers herself an expert at annotated bibliographies.

While writing this biography, she stopped her daughter from eating a cardboard paper towel roll, changed two loads of laundry, and fed her cats, all while singing along with the Bubble Guppies. She enjoys reading literary theory, learning about systems and working creatively within them, and exploring new cities.


Phil Proto
Sales Manager

Email: phil@arcticfisheries.com

Phil was born in Cape cod, Massachussetts, so he naturally gravitates towards good seafood.  He graduated from Niagara University with a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management.

Phil brings extensive sales and marketing experience to Arctic Fisheries Ltd.  He lives nearby in Kenmore and he enjoys time with his family.  Phil is a fan of our local sports teams as well as weekends on Seneca Lake, cooking and traveling to Toronto, Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

Using his culinary skills and passion for cooking, Phil is known to cook Frozen at Sea Atlantic cod various ways as well as many shellfish dishes including opilio crab as well as lobster.


Katie Ellis
Sales Manager

Email: Katie.ellis@arcticfisheries.com

Katie was born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan (Go Blue).  Katie attended Eastern Michigan University where she studied Business Marketing.

She still holds Michigan near-and-dear, being a die-hard Wolverine fan.  She also loves the Detroit Lions, Red Wings and the Tigers.  We’re trying to convert her, but it seems a lost cause.  When she is not home hanging out with her Husky, Elliott, more than likely you will find her outside either hiking or fishing, with Elliott by her side.

She has adapted well to Buffalo, as her favorite fish dish is our traditional beer-battered haddock fish fry, usually paired with a local craft beer.

 


Jason Khayat
Sales Manager

Email: jason@arcticfisheries.com

Jason was born and raised in greater Cleveland, Ohio.   He brings over 10 years of industrial business-to-business sales, service, and marketing experience to Arctic Fisheries.  His friendly, consultative, and problem-solving approach will be of value to both Arctic Fisheries, Ltd. and its customers.   Jason graduated from The College of Wooster with a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry.  In 2017, he was very fortunate and pleased to have had the opportunity, for the first time, to experience Algonquin Park in Ontario, Canada.  Canoeing and portaging with a local group for a week in such a naturally beautiful venue was a truly fantastic event.  Jason truly enjoys food, so choosing just one Arctic Fisheries Ltd. favorite will take some serious “research”!

 

 


Adam Kotok
General Counsel and Director of Sustainability

Email: adam@arcticfisheries.com

Born and raised in Buffalo, NY, Adam is practicing attorney with several years of focused practice in the areas of international commerce, trademarks and source-identifier regulation, and food and beverage imports.  Adam has a business degree from the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctor from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York City.  He lives with his wife and daughters in the New York City area.  His three daughters are Buffalo sports fans, and Adam wonders if this was a parenting accomplishment or mistake.  His favorite fish dishes include cod or haddock from a trustworthy source, either in tacos with a quality beer, or simmered in a spicy cioppino-style tomato stew with chickpeas.

 


Russ Lorich
Purchasing Manager

Email: russ@arcticfisheries.com

Russ is a native of Western New York, born and raised in Tonawanda and currently residing in Amherst with his son Jacob.  Russ has a distinguished career in food service purchasing, with a deep knowledge of production needs, imvemtory management and values to benefit customers and vendors alike.  Also, he was a “non-traditional” college student who attended the Medaille College Accel program evenings after work and earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration at age 40, graduating summa cum laude!  As a lifelong Buffalonian, he is a die-hard Buffalo Bills and Sabres fan, hoping to finally see a championship for one of his teams in his lifetime.  His hobbies include; playing guitar, working on home improvement projects, and the occasional weekend getaway to the family cabin.  His favorite seafood is a Buffalo-area staple: The always popular beer-battered haddock fish fry!

 


Jody Towner
Logistics Manager

Email: jody@arcticfisheries.com

Jody was born in Anchorage Alaska and raised down south.  She also served in the military for four years.

Jody moved to Buffalo in 2007.   She brings over 15 years customer service experience with her.

When not working, she enjoys spending time outside hiking with her family, making things by hand and volunteering with dog rescue.  She has three cats and two turtles that she has rescued.  She also enjoys going out to local events in the community and supporting the local music scene.

Her favorite fish is haddock, especiacially prepared spicy.


Melissa Myers
Sales Manager

Email: melissa@arcticfisheries.com

Melissa was born in Southern Louisiana.  Her cross country moves are too numerous to count and landed her in many towns in ten different states.  She moved to the Buffalo area in the spring of 2017.

Melissa has over 20 years of experience in Sales and Customer Service.

When not working, Melissa enjoys; spending time with her friends, listening to a wide variety of music, and taking long, peaceful walks in the woods followed by even longer, more peaceful naps.  She also likes trying new recipes from various regions in the U.S. she has lived in and traveled to and cooking authentic Cajun cuisine. Gumbo is a favorite, as is a traditional Buffalo fish fry with some Louisiana hot sauce.