School alumnus Jeffrey P. Hazell '79 is scheduled to speak at the Maine Central Institute (MCI) Commencement on June 3, 2018. Mr. Hazell is president of Bar Harbor Seafood, a wholesale seafood distribution company in Orlando, Florida, that sells fresh New England lobsters to local restaurants ever since he founded the company in 1986.
Mr. Hazell was born into a family of commercial lobstermen working off Marblehead, Massachusetts, and it was likely that he would continue the family tradition in his own unique way. Following high school graduation, Hazell came to MCI to play post-graduate football and strengthen his academic skills for college. His year at MCI provided the boost Hazell needed to refine his plans for the future. "Had it not been for MCI giving me the academic foundation and tools that I needed to succeed in college," Hazell noted, "I would never have made it."
After college and career successes in the central Florida area working for Hyatt Hotel, TGI Fridays, and Disney World, Hazell started Bar Harbor Seafood (named after Maine's premiere tourist destination) from his home in Kissimmee. The enterprise quickly exploded into a thriving full-line wholesale seafood distribution company, and Hazell led the company through its impressive growth as one of Florida's largest privately held companies for several years. To complement his seafood wholesale business, Hazell started a chain of restaurants throughout Florida: in 1991, he opened Hazell's Boston Lobster Feast, a Maine lobster and seafood buffet, that has expanded to five locations serving an estimated 45,000 patrons monthly; later, he introduced Jeffrey's Restaurant and Piano Bar and Clawdaddy's, a food truck that serves lobster rolls throughout Disney; and in 2017, Hazell opened Boston Lobster Shack.
Hazell's gratitude to MCI and to his college, University of New Haven, is apparent in his generous gifts to both institutions over the years. Hazell provided MCI with a state-of-the-art kitchen facility in the Trustee Memorial Student Center. He has also been supportive in the creation of his college's Hazell Nut Café, which provides on-the-job training to students from the hospitality and tourism program.