Walt and "Deb" met in May 1982 and an immediate permanent relationship was forged from that night forward. Walt had been a tropical fish wholesaler already since 1972 and although Deb found his career interesting she was well on her way as a successful and busy interior designer working for a large firm in the South Bay area of Los Angeles.
Working separate careers for the next couple of years Deb finally opened her own studio in 1984 and found great success with many happy clients tapping into her talents.
    It was about that time that Deb surprised Walt with a birthday gift that was a trip to Tahiti for the upcoming Christmas season. This was Walt's first trip to the South Pacific and they were both excited to experience the crystal clear blue waters together for the first time. It was something that provided a memory for a lifetime and, as they say, the seed was sewn.
    Over the next few years Deb and Walt continued their separate careers quite happily sharing a life getting married in 1986. Although she started to become more and more interested in the fascinating marine life Walt would bring to their home aquarium her design career was in full swing. Then in 1989 Walt got an opportunity to travel to the Kingdom of Tonga where he was asked to help a struggling aquarium fish exporter learn more about the trade.
    After only three days in Tonga Walt realized the opportunity that lay before him and announced to Deb that they were moving there. When she finally regained her senses and fed their newborn girl (Brittany) and toddler (Kaelyn) she reluctantly agreed not knowing how much hardship or success was in store. Although it took over a year for Deb to wind down her very successful career and join Walt her dedication to the relationship, family and new business was the winning combination that would allow them to last in this strange land where short term failure for investment was the norm. Since that time Deb has been the stone in the wall that kept everything from falling. Walt's knowledge of the industry and Deb's commitment to making sure everything was right for family and office created a partnership rarely seen in our industry for expats trying to make it in a land where everything was foreign. It was not easy in those years and is still very different from what they were used to for conveniences, supplies and way of life. They were living a true pioneer existence as strangers in a strange land and not many women would have followed this path of her husband's dream to risk everything. This is a great tribute to the strength of her character for anyone who has met her.
    Today Deb is CFO of the company and an important part of every major decision that Walt Smith International has to make. All of this while still raising two beautiful daughters to adulthood that make both Walt and Deb very proud. If you have had a chance to meet this most interesting lady you know what we mean.

Walt Smith International Fiji Ltd   PO BOX 4466    Lautoka, Fiji Islands