Aquatic Resource Center building new facility at Southtown and Carter after rapid growth

January 10, 2022 | 12:09 am

Updated January 9, 2022 | 3:34 pm

Photo courtesy of Aquatic Resource Center

Eric Thomas and his small team at Aquatic Resource Center travel the country designing, building, and maintaining aquatic system “dream projects” — largely focusing on zoos, aquariums, and other commercial installations. Business has boomed the last two years, so much so that his company is expanding and building a 20,000-square foot facility in southwest Owensboro, and he’s looking to add about eight employees.

Thomas spent over a decade in the aquatic hobby testing different methods and theories before joining the industry by founding Aquatic Resource Center in 2016. 

“We initially started in 2016 doing residential backyard koi ponds, water features, and in-home aquariums,” Thomas said. “In 2019, we kind of shifted focus a little bit so that we could service the commercial industry. So we started doing commercial work for zoos and aquariums, and then we also do some stuff for hospitals, apartment complexes, botanical gardens — any sort of commercial water feature is really where we thrive now.”

He said they travel the country to install filtration systems for zoos and aquariums — anything from penguins to dolphins and otters to tigers and elephants.

“Anything like that, if it’s got water in it’s exhibit, we actually do all the plumbing and filtration to keep that water clean and healthy,” Thomas said.

Aquatic Resource Center currently operates out of a building on W. 7th Street in what Thomas said is a really small warehouse. He said they outgrew that in early 2020.

“We were one of the fortunate businesses that really excelled in 2020 and 2021,” he said. “We did twice to three times the revenues we did in previous years. We were able to travel the country and see a lot more exhibits than we had previously.”

Aquatic Resource Center
Aquatic Resource Center

He said the new building — which will be located at the intersection of Southtown Boulevard and Carter Road and is being built by Hayden Construction — will allow Aquatic Resource Center to expand their offerings. 

“We’re really tight on space right now, so moving to a bigger building is going to allow us to prefabricate more equipment and store more equipment on site,” Thomas said. “It’ll also allow us to hire more individuals that can come in and help us prefabricate everything and actually work hands-on here in Owensboro to where we can save on out-of-town costs. Anything we can do here in Owensboro is going to be better quality work.”

Currently, Thomas only has two other full-time staff members — he said they subcontract out a lot of work — but he is actively trying to hire more people. 

“We’ve got positions for eight people to join this year,” Thomas said. “It’s just a matter of trying to find quality candidates to apply. We’ve been struggling just like everyone has to attract quality candidates.”

Thomas said Aquatic Resource Center is a leader in the industry for quality of products used, low maintenance designs, and expert aftercare. 

“We’re definitely unique, but there are a couple other companies situated around the country that do what we do,” he said. “As far as I know, we’re the only one in the Midwest. Everybody really just services the whole United States because it’s such a niche industry where we’re required to travel for the projects.”

Thomas hopes to be moved in to the new facility by the middle of the year, saying “when we are able to move in, we’ll be running full steam ahead.”

To learn more about the company, or their services and products, visit their website here.

January 10, 2022 | 12:09 am

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