The evening culminates with our most highly regarded award, the Richard P. Ayers Award for Distinguished Service. This award recognizes members who have distinguished themselves through their service to the Colorado Restaurant Association, the foodservice industry, and their communities, and represents a commitment to excellence in the industry.
The 2016 recipient of the Richard P. Ayers Distinguished Service Award is Derek Figueroa, COO of Seattle Fish Company, the oldest and largest purveyor of high-quality seafood in the Rocky Mountain region.
Derek’s support and dedication to the industry is well-known. He is always there when people need him. He is a welcome participant at many of CRA’s functions, events and meetings, and is a huge supporter of the hospitality industry. He has served on the CRA Board of Directors since 2009, including several terms on the executive committee. He also has served on the CRA Education Foundation Board since 2009, and he serves on the CRA Legislative Sub-Committee providing an important voice at the table as we debate issues and current legislation.
Derek has been working in the foodservice industry for many years. He joined Seattle Fish Company at 17 years old, working in the warehouse. Over those years he worked his way up and is now its Chief Operating Officer. He is responsible for the operational leadership of the company. A dedicated steward of the environment, Derek has worked to make Seattle Fish Company a leader in sustainable fishing practices. He is also a tireless advocate for the seafood industry, both locally and nationally, and sits on the board of the National Fisheries Institute, the advisory board for Sea Pact. Derek also serves on the board of directors for Project Angel Heart and the Seafood Industry Research Fund.
CRA and its members offer their full appreciation for all the work he does on our behalf. Derek is a past recipient of several of our awards, including the 2012 Reaching for the Stars Award by the CRA Education Foundation, and being named CRA's 2010 Outstanding Professional Award.