Meet the Ocean's Balance Team
We love the coast of Maine, are committed to supporting local coastal communities and are serious foodies.
Tollef Olson, President
Born and raised in Maine, Tollef says he has salt water in his blood. After stints as a commercial fisherman, captain of international marine salvage expeditions, and seafood restaurant owner, Olson entered the world of aquaculture in 1994, conducting site surveys for aquaculture operations along the Maine coast. Concerned by his observations of rapidly declining populations of sea urchins and mollusks due to over-fishing, Tollef founded Aqua Farms, LLC in 1998 to cultivate rope grown mussels utilizing technology adapted from European aqua farms. Over the course of many years he witnessed the dramatic increase in overseas cultivation and consumption of edible seaweed and recognized the opportunity for cultivated seaweed in North America. Ocean's Balance is his second Maine seaweed cultivation venture. Tollef, his mussels and cultivated seaweed have been variously featured on Martha’s Stewart’s TV show, The Food Channel with Alton Brown’s Good Eats, and written about in the New York Times, Boston Globe, The Japan Times, NBC's Today, Seafood Source, Gastropod, The Portland Press Herald and Maine Magazine. He is also a partner and staff member at the Macroalgae Nursery and Research Cluster in the University of New England's Marine Science Center.
Mitchell Lench, CEO
Mitch is passionate about conservation of the oceans, building healthy ecological food sources, and creating jobs in Maine. He spent part of his career working in Asia and areas of the world where kelp is a staple due to its nutrients, versatility and taste. His aim is to help bring this appreciation of seaweed to North America. Mitch has invested in and built operating companies that have a triple bottom line objective: environmental, social, and financial. He has also has managed a microfinance fund that invested in entrepreneurs who lacked access to capital in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Mitch earned a Master from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and a B.A. from the State University of New York at Binghamton. Mitch served as an advisor at the Fish 2.0 conference in San Francisco, where he helped select and pool viable, impact-oriented seafood businesses for investors to consider for investment. He is also Member of the Board of Trustees for the Nature Conservancy in Maine. Mitch lives in Cape Elizabeth with his wife, two children and their dog Skylar.
Lisa Scali, Director of Sales & Marketing
Lisa is a foodie at heart, growing up in an Italian family where food was the glue that bound everyone together, and living for years in France where she savored the cuisine with devout reverence. She moved to Maine in 2006 and delights in the state's ever-expanding food scene, particularly the abundance of responsibly produced local ingredients. She uses her relationship management and business development skills - acquired over twenty years of working in international financial services - to promote her passion for good food and health, especially as it relates to environmental and economic sustainability. Lisa earned a Master in International Political Economy from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and a B.S. in Economics and French from Lehigh University. She sits on the boards of the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project and the Alliance Française du Maine, and is active in the local francophone community. Lisa lives in Portland with her husband, daughter and their cat Chaussette.