Jim Bissett III: ‘A true captain of industry’

12/15/2011 12:19 PM |

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Jim Bissett III (third from right) next to Councilman George Gabrielsen and Councilwoman Jodi Giglio as Supervisor Sean Walter cuts the ribbon for the new Butterfly exhibit that opened the same night as the Hyatt Place Hotel back in July.

Jim Bissett III’s father, James Jr. and mother, Joan, founded Bissett Nursery in Holtsville in 1964.

What started as a family-run operation out of a three-acre backyard later became one of the largest horticulture distribution centers on the East Coast, which today employs over 170 people. And that was due in no small part to the work and vision Jim Bissett III, who came on as a manager and co-owner in the spring of 1982. (Read a history of Bissett Nursery.)

Bissett Nursery now has two locations, Holtsville and Dix Hills, which opened in 1995. Around the same time the Dix Hills branch opened, Mr. Bissett, an avid scuba diver and boater, began wondering why a region surrounded “by all this water,” as he put it, had nothing to showcase its connection to the sea, he said in a January 2o11 News-Review article.

He decided an East End aquarium could draw visitors, and he teamed up with Joe Petrocelli of Long Island’s Petrocelli Construction of Ronkonkoma to develop the project.

The aquarium took about five years to make it through the review process before construction began in 1999 on a 3.2 acre parcel on the Peconic River. Atlantis Marine World Aquarium opened a year later, featuring a 120,000-gallon main tank and several side exhibitions that played to the theme of the lost city of Atlantis.

“It’s not a science center,” Mr. Bissett said in January. “It has a theatrical theme” that helps make it fun for kids and families.

Until recently, marketing was aimed strictly at Nassau and Suffolk counties because of limited hotel space in the area, he explained.

With the adjoining Hyatt East End, which was completed this summer, marketing efforts were since extended to NYC.

Mr. Bissett, a North Fork transplant, and Mr. Petrocelli have said the aquarium had been drawing some 600,000 visitors to downtown Riverhead annually. The two were honored as News-Review People of the Year the year the aquarium broke ground, and have also received Business People of the Year honors and the distinguished Gold Key award from the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Petrocelli did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment on his business partner’s death.

John Galla, a longtime Wading River resident who is now head of the town Republican Party, said in an interview that he had first met Mr. Bissett about 15 years ago “when Atlantis Marine World was just a twinkle in his eye.”

Mr. Bissett, a big supporter of the party, had at the time enlisted Mr. Galla to help shoot a film of the downtown Riverhead area, as well the Peconic River and bays.

“I’m not sure if it was for financing for the aquarium or what,” Mr. Galla recalled. “But there we were out on a boat with his father, shooting a video of the river and the bays and what it all meant for the area.”

He said he was also impressed with the family’s massive nursery operation in Holtsville, which Mr. Galla had also visited.

“It was like this pocket of beautiful farmland and gigantic farm buildings,” Mr. Galla said. “Simply put, he was a visionary. He was a true man of vision. Walt Disney-esque is almost the perfect description. When you walk into the Hyatt and aquarium you feel like you’re in Walt Disney World; you don’t feel like you’re on Long Island.

He was a true captain of industry.”

Known for his modesty, Mr. Bissett said, when he was honored as Entrepreneur of the Year by the Advancement for Commerce, Industry and Technology last December, “Although this is a personal award, I believe that it belongs as much to … my partner, Joe Petrocelli, Atlantis Marine World’s owner and co-founder, and the teams at both Atlantis Marine World and Bissett Nursery.”

According to published reports, Mr. Bissett had three children, now all in their 20s, Dominique, Danielle and James IV.

He lived on a sprawling estate on Cox Neck Road in Mattituck.

Check the Dec. 22 edition of the Riverhead News-Review for additional information.


32 Comment

  • Hiya there, just became aware of your website through Google, and observed that it is seriously educational. I am gonna watch out for brussels. I will be grateful if you resume this in future.

  • sDlawM Really appreciate you sharing this article post.Thanks Again. Awesome.

  • I genuinely enjoyed reading the reserve The cost of Community, but it really confident built think that an inadequate Christian… It seems to become pretty a struggle for me..The photo previously mentioned of your household Jamie is precious…May God usually be along with you and all those you adore and care for….Shalom and Peace to you and yours….

  • I don’t unremarkably comment but I gotta tell appreciate it for the post on this great one : D.

  • I am continually looking online for posts that can assist me. Thank you!

  • Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this write-up and also the rest of the site is really good.

  • Hello there I am so happy I found your blog, I really found you by error, while I was researching on Aol for something else, Nonetheless I am here now and would just like to say cheers for a fantastic post and a all round thrilling blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to browse it all at the minute but I have book-marked it and also added your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a lot more, Please do keep up the awesome work.

  • Pingback: Try This Site

  • As soon as I detected this web site I went on reddit to share some of the love with them.

  • Sods law isn’t it – spending an eternity researching something, only to find a page like yours that gives you all the information in one spot that you have just wasted hours looking for! The way in which you have written this page is both enlightening, yet also very easy to understand and a pleasure to read. Not an easy task given the subject discussed. Thank you once again for taking the time to publish this, I have learned a lot :). My dad always said “a day without learning something is a day wasted”. I have certainly learned a great deal from this article, thanks. I have placed a link to this page from Twitter, I hope that’s OK?

  • Hi, i think that i saw you visited my blog thus i came to

  • Hey, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog site in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, excellent blog!

  • Pingback: harman bird

  • Excellent blog post. I absolutely love this site. Continue the good work!

  • It’s sods law isn’t it – spending an eternity researching something, only to find a webpage like this that gives you everything in one spot that you’ve just wasted hours looking for! Considering the topic covered, you have done a very good job of making this both informative, while enjoyable to read – great job, well done! Thank you once again for taking the time to write this article, I have learned a lot :). My wife always used to say “a day without learning anything is a day wasted”. I have certainly learnt a great deal from this piece, cheers. If it’s okay with you, I’d like to put a link to your site from my Google+ page, I hope that’s okay?

  • Pingback: click HERE

  • Awsome article and straight to the point. I am not sure if this is truly the best place to ask but do you guys have any thoughts on where to hire some professional writers? Thanks :)

  • Yes I am also in hunt of Flash tutorials, because I would like to learn more on the topic of flash, thus if you have please post it here.

  • Undeniably believe that which you stated. Your favorite reason seemed to be on the web the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed while people consider worries that they just do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top as well as defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people could take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

  • It’s always the way isn’t it – spending an eternity looking for something, only to find a page like this that gives you all the information in one spot that you have just wasted hours researching! The way you have written this site is both very articulate and informative simultaneously. That’s quite an accomplishment, given the subject matter written about. Thanks again, I have discovered something new today, which I like to try and achieve everyday. My mum always said “a day without learning anything is a wasted day”. I have certainly learnt a lot from this piece, thank you. If it’s alright with you, I’d like to place a link to your website from my Google+ page, I hope that’s alright?

  • May I simply say what a relief to discover an individual who genuinely understands what they’re talking about on the net. You certainly understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More and more people really need to look at this and understand this side of the story. I was surprised that you are not more popular given that you certainly possess the gift.

  • Thanks, I have recently been searching for information approximately this subject for a long time and yours is the best I have found out till now. However, what concerning the conclusion? Are you certain about the source?

  • Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It’s always useful to read through content from other authors and use something from other sites.

  • Hi in attendance. Very cool tangle site!! Guy .. Exquisite .. Superb .. I will bookmark your situate and acquire the feeds additionally…I’m contented to find so a lot practical in rank here in the send. Express gratitude you for sharing.

  • I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your sites really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back in the future. Cheers

  • Good site you’ve got here.. It’s hard to find high quality writing like yours nowadays. I truly appreciate people like you! Take care!!

  • Hi this is somewhat of off topic but I was wanting to know if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding experience so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!

  • I can agree with you on this I love my Green Smokes. It was the first brand I tried out and I’ve been using them for about 6 months now. They make a great product.

  • Great blog here! Also your site loads up very fast! What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my web site loaded up as fast as yours lol

  • I ponder this website has got approximately self-same good facts for everyone. “Variety is the soul of pleasure.” by Aphra Behn.

  • Hello, basically I search for vocal samples anyway I found quite great content here on this page. Keep on working.

  • Hmmm, yup no doubt Google is best for blogging but today word press is also nice as a blogging since its Web optimization is pleasant defined already.