In 1945, Ed McLeary and Ken Drew founded Troutlodge, Inc., in Soap Lake, Washington. Today the enterprise has grown to become the world's largest producer of trout eggs, air-shipping more than 300 million eggs throughout the U.S. and to more than 30 countries annually. A key to Troutlodge's pioneering success has been quality as assured by rigorous health safeguards. In 1994, discussions between Troutlodge and the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine resulted in designing and implementing the nation's first aquatic animal health inspection service offered by a state veterinary diagnostic laboratory and approved by the United States Department of Agriculture. With Troutlodge's unmatched industry experience as guidance, and under the aquatic animal disease expertise and leadership of WSU veterinarians, laboratory guidelines for fish health inspection services were written. The guidelines were so well-matched to the industry's needs and the needs of society for quality assurance that the USDA has adopted them as the agency benchmark. Submissions to WSU's service have grown more than 20-fold and now represent a significant economic impact to the State of Washington.
"For Troutlodge and the family and friends of Ed McLeary, the establishment of a distinguished professorship in aquatic animal health provides a historic sense of recognition for WSU's continuing plans for statewide animal health that is consistent with what's been done for other animal industries," said Ed's son, Russ McLeary. "It is very gratifying to see our efforts with the inspection service gain the level of acceptance it has and see its reach extend beyond Troutlodge, WSU, and even Washington now to the world."
The future remains bright for the aquaculture industry. As U.S. and world consumption of seafood increase with population and as wild stocks continue to come under closer conservation scrutiny, aquaculture has stepped forward to meet the demand. "Establishment of the inspection service has literally provided entry into worldwide markets that Troutlodge previously didn't have access to," explained Jim Barfoot, president and CEO. "The distinguished professorship represents a long-term approach to the stability and quality assurance any animal industry needs to grow, especially internationally. This very important piece of our business is critical to that growth potential for aquaculture." "And for my father, Ed McLeary, this represented a capstone to a remarkable career," says Russ. "Troutlodge and my family are very grateful and thankful for all WSU has done for us."