Swimming Upstream: George Maroulis ’73

At four o’clock in the morning, most of the world is quietly sleeping.

However, George Maroulis ’73 is hard at work. As general manager of the Fulton Fish Market in the Bronx, N.Y., this UMBC alum spends the early hours of his mornings running one of the largest fish markets in the world.

Maroulis describes the Fulton, which does over a billion dollars of business each year, as “one of a kind.” Alumni Relations staff member Carol Myers ’72, who spent an early April morning touring the facility with Maroulis, agrees.

“It’s like walking into a giant refrigerator!” she describes, noting that the chilly air helps keep the fish, which comes from as far away as Japan and South Africa, as fresh as possible.

And it’s not just the fish that come from diverse backgrounds. Thousands of restaurateurs, chefs, tourists, and New Yorkers congregate daily to take part in the unique buying experience. Their purchases range from standbys like tuna and salmon to the more exotic, such as octopus.

The Fulton’s board of directors hired Maroulis as general manager two years ago, while the 400,000 sq. ft. building was being constructed. He is responsible for everything from interacting with the thirty-plus wholesalers who base their operations at the market, to making sure the building’s lights, which appear to go to infinity, stay lit.

It was this uniqueness that drew Maroulis, an established businessman in the food wholesaling field, to the position – a step he may not have imagined when he was a student at a brand-new UMBC in the early 1970’s.

Maroulis still remembers being excited about attending a new campus. He recalls the “energy in the air” and the sense that “things were changing.”

Because he was interested in business administration, Maroulis chose to study economics. “I always wanted to work in a field that involved business,” he said, and at the time, majoring in economics was the best way to achieve his goal.

After he graduated from UMBC in 1973, Maroulis explains, “an opportunity presented itself” to work as a bookkeeper for a company that provided food to restaurants and hotels.

“I learned about bookkeeping and everything else,” he says, adding that during his career in the food industry, he has also worked as a buyer, distributer, and of course, in management. However, not all of his knowledge came from experience in the real world. He credits his economics courses with giving him “an understanding of how theories of economics work,” and notes that his career has been about taking the “particular perspective” he formed in his courses and using it to evaluate issues in the business world.

But for Maroulis, it’s not all about business theories.

His favorite part of his job is interacting with people. “I have an opportunity to meet people from all walks of life and from around the world,” he says, explaining that it’s a “rich experience” and an educational one as well.

“There’s nothing else like it,” he says.

– Jennifer Matthews ’07
Originally posted July 2006

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s