September 19th, 2020
Crowne Plaza Hotel @ NRG
The diversity of life has always fascinated me; but the systematics of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians was blown away by the expansiveness and degree of unknown of the fishes. Few people had "companion animals" overseas, but many friends had bowls and aquariums with goldfish, guppies and other tropicals.
I was born in Rhode Island, the smallest State of the U.S. but grew up in the orient as my father was career military. We had very few jobs "on base" for the "dependents" but I was fortunate to secure employment at a fish store that was associated with a restaurant in downtown Sasebo. Other vainglorious work overseas includes two years working for a Betta culture business, collecting and processing marines in Manila.Back to the U.S. in the late sixties I stuck to the trade as a retail clerk, a livestock wholesale worker (for Pratt's in San Diego), and eventually formed an aquarium service business with a school friend. This business cycled larger and smaller, and supported me all through college and beyond. It eventually became an employee-owned corporation with aquaristic retail outlets, fabrication (principally large acrylic systems), water feature construction, manufacturing and distribution divisions. Subsequent to the tax law changes, water-shortage "scare", and general decline in the California and U.S. economy in the late eighties these businesses were sold and liquidated. I worked for three years as a consultant and buyer for the mass-merchandiser PetCo in their bid to upgrade their stores, incorporating livestock.
Is there a difference between what you do for money and for a living? Not me. Nowadays I write articles and books for the diving/underwater natural history and ornamental aquatics interests, and manage my rentals and securities. I browse the electronic bulletin boards to "chat" with others daily, and often travel, to go "hashing" (sort of running), writing and photographing with friends around the world.
Have been an avid hobbyist since first memories. Active in the local SDTFS from the sixties; helped in development of all three goldfish/koi clubs in San Diego. At times more active in scientific (AVMA, IAAAM, ASIH) and industry professional/business associations.
Have many wonderful friends in the hobby, trade and science of aquatics, and dearly enjoy my involvement; it is my life's work and passion. A/The central thread to everything I have attempted in writing, presentation or action in the interest has been/is "to enhance peoples love of their own lives through an appreciation of the living world". I see the hobby/business evolving, much like and approaching western Europe, with a real interest in biotopes, the underlying science, understanding the technologies employed... This is an era of consumer awareness; there are less aquarists, but more conscientious ones that are becoming more aware and demanding value. I look forward to the availability of many more species of tank-raised marines, real aquatic plants, and ready, inexpensive access to useful information and graphics.