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Interviewee: Kevin Dawson

Role: Settlement House Owner

Date of Interview: 9/24/05

Collection: Working Waterfront Festival Community Documentation Project

Click on the link below to play the audio clip from the interviewee.

Abstract: The owner of Jardin and Dawson Settlement House in New Bedford talks about how he got started and how settlement works.

Transcript: I had worked in Wall Street, for a CPA firm for awhile when I first got out of college, and I wasn’t too keen on that, and I came back here. I said “what am I gonna do?” And we still owned a few vessels at that time, so I started a settlement business. I don’t know, I had three or four or five boats when I started, and it gradually grew to where I was making a pretty good living. I think when I started I was fishing and working as a fish lumper and settling boats and that kind of thing and it finally became a full-time operation.

It’s a sophisticated payroll. People usually get paid based on their hours of performance, or the number of gadgets they produce in a given time. So, in the fishing business, what you catch is what you get paid on. And so if they come in with a hundred thousand pounds of fish and they get a dollar a pound we have a hundred thousand dollars to split off between the entity that owns the fishing vessel and the people who are running the fishing vessel, the crew. So, we split it up. And we subtract out the expenses that are part of the trip, alright? So, uh, we take out ice and fuel and lumpers and things that are related to the cost of producing this trip. And then after we pay those, then we divide up the catch between the owner and the crew.

Historically it was like a sixty-forty split and I think it evolved from the days when they fished in little boats and they took out so much money for the gasoline or the fuel and so much money for the food and they had one or two guys, crew members there and the skipper owner would do that kind of thing. Then when the fisheries got really developed, we had a very strong union here, and it would [be] a sixty-forty split, forty percent for the owner and sixty percent for the crew. And, uh, since that time, uh… the union has kind of faded out of prominence, and so you see all kind of splits now, fifty-fiftys… but of course overhead has increased substantially in the past ten or fifteen years. So they need more to operate these boats.

To read Kevin's full transcript, click here.