- B.S. in Zoology, Michigan State University, 1997
I had originally planned to travel to the South Pacific after graduation to do coral reef research and possibly some collection for the ornamental trade, but family commitments caused me to reevaluate that decision. I really was not sure what type of careers were available in Mid-Michigan to individuals with an undergraduate degree in Zoology. I tried laboratory work, veterinary assistant, DNR, before finally ending up at Preuss Pets- a large local pet sore. After several years of working retail in the pet trade I made the move to A&M Aquatics as the livestock manager.
In 2002 A&M Aquatics was a small marine wholesaler for the ornamental pet trade based right here in Lansing, importing and distributing marine ornamentals throughout the country. I am proud to say that both Preuss Pets and A&M Aquatics have always been dedicated to providing the high quality livestock and service. Both companies were the first members of their respective types (retail and wholesale) to every become certified by the Marine Aquarium Council for best practices and husbandry in the marine ornamental industry. During that time I was able to be a part of the team that drafted the standards that the industry now recognizes as best practices. A&M Aquatics was rewarded for our efforts by being awarded the contract as primary livestock supplier for the new Sant Ocean Hall at the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History. The majority of the coral provided for the display was collected from small fragments and grown in our facility for over a year. Likewise nearly all the fish were collected, quarantined, and held by us before being shipped directly to the Smithsonian.
A&M Aquatics has now grown to be one of the leading suppliers of top quality, ethically, and sustainably collected and grown (at our coral farm) livestock in the world for the Marine ornamental trade. I still live and work here in the Lansing area with my wife of 12 years Cynthia Wagner who is also an MSU Zoology graduate (Director at Potter Park Zoo), and our two children.