In Loving Memory… Frank J. Mattes, Sr.
He had a plan. He had guts. He had the Midas touch.
When Frank J. Mattes, Sr. began delivering fish around the neighborhood on his tricycle and taking orders from teachers at school, his father knew he was hooked. As Frank Sr. grew up, the precocious child continued to shadow his father, and spend time with industry people he admired. He learned everything he could from everyone he could – by watching, asking questions, and eventually, trying things on his own.
As an adult, Frank’s ingenuity, charismatic personality, and entrepreneurial spirit resulted in exponential growth for Mattes Seafood. Often described as a maverick, Frank’s father says he was the “Frank Sinatra” of the fish business – he did it his way. He pushed the business forward by flying all over the world to get the best fish. The elder Mattes relates the innovation of his son establishing a crab plant in Mexico. “He taught the workers how to pick and can the best crab. The employees loved him and treated him like a king.”
Frank’s innovative ideas to get the best seafood at the best price led Mattes Seafood to the opening of its Harford County facility in 2003, where fish is prepared, packed and shipped – fresh — every day of the week. Built to the younger Mattes’ specifications, the property was completely renovated from a brewery to a state-of-the-art seafood processing facility. Frank incorporated innovative ideas that would put the company on the fast track while meeting the needs of its employees and customers. “Frank was so proud of this place,” his father says.
“Frank was very gifted – he had the Midas touch,” his father remembers. “He made mistakes, but he learned from them.”
“He was one in a million,” his mother, Pat Mattes, says. “He always had a plan. He always wanted to help. He wanted to give people jobs and see them thrive.”
Frank was a true entrepreneur with a vision and a passion for building something great from nothing. He was willing to push himself to the limits to achieve his goals. In addition to Mattes Seafood, Frank had business ventures in seafood importing, crabmeat companies in Peru, Mexico and Indonesia, charter fishing boats and the Crazy Tuna Restaurant and Marina, as well as in commercial real estate.
Frank’s honesty, integrity and love of making a dollar are what propelled him forward, Mattes says. “We never remember him resting. That’s what made him so successful. He saw a challenge and he made it work,” he says.
While we will forever mourn the untimely passing of Frank J. Mattes, Sr. at the young age of 45, he left a strong business legacy and a code of ethics predicated on hard work and customer service. We continue his ingenuity and relationship-building, both because we want his story to live on, and because we know he is watching over us with love and joy. He loved life and lived it to the fullest.
Now, memories of Frank are a springboard for continued innovation. Staying in touch with customers, personally buying every fish and remembering not only the stars in Frank’s eyes with every success but also the determination in his stance with every challenge, Mattes Seafood will thrive. The future of the business relies not on memories, but on vision. Mattes Seafood will prosper under the guidance of an experienced and skilled management team made up of both family and loyal employees. The great traditions of Mattes Seafood – unmatched quality and customer service – will carry on as the company grows to the next level.
In celebration of Frank’s life and the legacy he built, Mattes Seafood has guts. It is one in a million. It is the new school of fish.