I was born in a very rural part of Kentucky and because of that, I grew up loving everything about nature. My favorite shows as a kid we're always nature shows and when I was playing outside I would pretend to be Marlin Perkins from Mutual of Ohama's, Wild Kingdom or an explorer filming for National Geographic. My exposure to aquarium fish was very limited during that time. My Aunt's husband maintained a 20-gallon aquarium with community fish. I would see all the swordtails and mollies and would wonder why there was nothing like that in my local "crick" I played in. 30 years later I finally got to snorkel with wild mollies in Honduras so that was a scratch off my Bucket List.
While stationed in the army in Germany. that was my first exposure to African Cichlids. These German Raised Africans impressed me with the colors a freshwater fish could have. I was hopelessly hooked.
I returned home and before I knew it, I was living in a one bedroom apartment with eleven fish tanks. I joined the local aquarium club and within a few years became Vice President and then President. We met at a local pet shop that had plenty of room for our meetings and I ended up managing that pet store for approximately a year.
I moved to Florida after attending a pet industry trade show in Tampa. I visited the company I was buying fish from and they had just lost a salesman. A couple of visits and the job was mine. Some of my favorite memories in this business was working for the Florida Fish Coop. It was there I really got my first inside shot in this business.
I worked for four more fish companies over the years including managing the last one. I always had my hatchery at home where I raised various fish and crayfish. I also spent several years collecting and selling wild fish and ghost shrimp to the pet industry.
I leased my first farm 12 years ago and raised African Cichlids. A major cold snap in January 2010 killed most of the cichlids I had on the farm, but I was able to survive collecting and selling shrimp until I got back on my feet. I restocked with the intention of only raising fish indoors. I moved to a new, bigger facility in 2014.
Our current facility consists of 2 greenhouses and three buildings. We have 620 fish tanks and 62 vats. We will be adding 30-40 more vats in the near future.
I am doing what I love for a living. I wouldn't want to do anything else.