After getting a taste of life as a dockworker when he was a teenager, Tom Adams was hooked.
More than three decades later, 46-year-old Adams has climbed from earning $4.50 an hour to heading Maine Coast, the seafood distributor he founded in 2011 that generated $40 million in sales last year.
"I got a little salt in my blood and ended up staying with it," Adams said of his early education in the business, which included unloading boats, grading lobster and picking their meat.
After years working with the same company that first hired him, Adams decided to part ways with the business and sell the considerable stake he'd built in it.
While Adams declined to share an exact figure, he said the investors paid more than $1 million. As part of the deal, he signed a two-year non-compete, which prohibited him from working for a lobster company in the meantime.
During this time, he adjusted to life as a new father and began making plans to strike out on his own.