2016 Show Information

George Blasiola
George Blasiola, B.S, M.A., a specialist in fish biology, was formerly with the Steinhart Aquarium as an aquatic biologist and various industry companies including Kordon and Wardley. Blasiola has published more than 100 articles in the USA and Europe on fish health, pond management and fish biology. He has lectured at the University of Georgia’s Fish Health Workshop, the North Carolina State University’s Fish Management Course and various trade shows and professional meetings. He is the author of Barron’s New Marine Aquarium Handbook, Koi: A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual and the owner/consultant of Aqua-Sphere Research.

Chris Buerner
Chris Buerner owns and operates Quality Marine. Chris served on the Marine Aquarium Council’s board of directors, developing Industry best practices and standards for exporters and importers. Chris’s participation with PIJAC led to the development of its Aquatics committee which addresses a growing number of regulatory issues facing the trade, ranging from industry-ban legislation in Hawaii to federal endangered species act legislation. As a company, Quality Marine supports sustainable harvest of ornamental marine species, in-situ mariculture and source country aquaculture efforts, and promotes greater industry responsibility, education and transparency.

Justin Credabel Grabel
Justin Credabel Grabel has been in the aquarium industry for 23 years, and a coral farmer for 17 years. Justin is co-owner of Fishlife Aquariums in Huntington, New York. Two Little Fishies distributes a line of Justin Credabel coral foods he developed to provide nutrition for specific coral types. Visit www.fishlifeaquariums.com for more information.

Patrick Donston
With 25 years’ experience as a retailer and AZA accredited public aquarium work, Patrick holds Ichthyology degrees. Noted for numerous articles on aquarium keeping and business best practices, he is a frequent speaker at industry events and aquarium societies around the US. He operates Absolutely Fish; a MAC certified facility, retailer of the year PPN, and retailer excellence award APA. You can find his blogs on Pet Product News–Fish Absolutely.

Barbie Fiorentino
Barbie Fiorentino owns an aquarium shop in Spokane, WA. She has bred 26 species of Loricariid to date and maintains just over 5,000 gallons in aquariums. Specializing in Ancistrus, Hypancistrus, and other small species more commonly kept in aquaria, she will offer insight into tips and tricks for working with both common and not so common varieties.  She is the president of her local aquarium club, as well as long time staff at Planet Catfish.

Mike Hellweg
Mike Hellweg has specialized in keeping and breeding miniature fishes since childhood. To date, he has worked with nearly 2000 species of mostly small fish, breeding well over 400 species from more than 32 families. He is active in the organized hobby and is a popular speaker, auctioneer and writer. He owns a small and growing fish hatchery.

Michael Johnson
Michael Johnson, VP of Marketing at Chuck Latham Associates, is a Pet Channel observer and futurist. Mr. Johnson conducts consumer and industry research to help retailers, vendors and marketers better understand shopper attitudes and behaviors in order to grow sales and profits. He has been a featured speaker for organizations such as PIDA, PIJAC, SuperZoo, Petfood Workshop and APPA. He has authored articles and been quoted in magazines such as Pet Business, Pet Age, Pet Product News and Petfood Industry.

Sanjay Joshi
Sanjay Joshi is a Professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at Penn State University. He has been a passionate reef hobbyist since 1992 and currently owns and operates several reefs aquariums at home including a 500G SPS dominated reef. He has published several articles in aquarium magazines and is an invited speaker at several national and international aquarium society meetings. He received the MASNA award in 2006 for his contributions to the marine aquarium hobby.

Lawrence Kent
Lawrence Kent works for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation supporting projects fighting hunger and poverty in the developing world. Based in Seattle he travels frequently to Africa and Asia. On his travels he looks for interesting tropical fish in places as diverse as Cambodia, Columbia and Nigeria. At home, Lawrence keeps twenty aquaria, many stocked with cichlids he collected abroad. A frequent contributor to Tropical Fish Hobbyist and Cichlid News, Lawrence is fascinated by all types of fish, birds, and reptiles, and the challenge of correctly identifying and breeding them.

Oliver Knott
Knott’s history in the field started at 16 at a small pet store selling parrots, rabbits, fish and snakes. After several years working in retail stores throughout Germany, Knott decided to launch his own company specializing in creating aquarium tanks for private customers, small businesses, and other pet stores. His knowledge has been cultivated through years of experience working closely with aquatic industry companies and a life-long love of all things aquaria.

Chris Lukhaup
Chris Lukhaup, Creative Director of the German aquarium plant company Dennerle is also a research associate of the Museum in Leiden, Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh and Humboldt Museum in Berlin. Chris has written over 25 books for aquarist, described several new species and published numerous articles in magazines worldwide. He currently publishes Breeders ‘n’ Keepers, a magazine about the breeding and keeping of shrimps, published in 2 languages. Chris has conducted 50 collecting trips to more than 30 countries.

Liz Marchio
Liz Marchio is a Ph.D. graduate student at Texas A&M University where she studies the connection between science and leisure. Having earned her Master’s in Biological Science, specifically ichthyology, and having been as avid aquarist since 2000, she has a unique view of the aquarium hobby and its intimate link to scientific endeavors. She believes science and conservation education can start with an aquarium and a small dash of curiosity. Liz maintains a website, www.lizmarchio.com, where she updates the public on aquatic issues.

Joe Olenik
Joe, an aquatics industry veteran, managed one of the largest retail aquarium departments for 25 years. Following his BS in Zoology in 1978, Joe spent 37 year in the aquarium industry. His experience includes all aspects of freshwater, marine and pond husbandry, as well as designing custom aquarium displays and commercial filtration systems. He presents retailing and husbandry seminars at events throughout the country and is a contributor to Pet Age magazine. Joe owns and operates Aquarium Architects, a custom aquarium design, installation and management company in southeastern Wisconsin.

Richard Ross
Richard Ross, Senior Biologist at the Steinhart Aquarium, maintains many exhibits including the 212,000 gallon Philippine Coral Reef. Specializing in keeping saltwater animals he has worked in aquarium maintenance, retail, wholesale and consulted for a coral farm/fish collecting station in the South Pacific. Richard is an author, frequent speaker and founder of one of the Bay Area Reefers. At home he maintains a 300 gallon reef system and a 250 gallon cephalopod/fish breeding system, and was the first person to close the life cycle of Sepia bandensis.

Wolfgang Staeck
Wolfgang has travelled Africa, Madagascar and Central and South America to study aquarium fish in their natural habitats. His main interest is the behaviour of cichlid fishes and he has practical experience keeping and breeding many species in the aquarium. His numerous trips have led to the discovery of many new species and the ecological data and natural living conditions of cichlids. As the president of the German Cichlid Association from 1997 to 2010 Wolfgang is also known to the aquarists by his lectures and the publication of books and articles in German and international magazines.

Julian Sprung
Julian Sprung is a Miami Beach native, a graduate of the University of Florida, and has been keeping marine aquariums for nearly 40 years. Julian has written and illustrated numerous books about aquariums and is President of the manufacturing company Two Little Fishies, Inc., which he co-founded 24 years ago. Julian loves all kinds of aquariums, fresh and saltwater and maintains several at his business and at home.

Lynn Switanowski
Lynn Switanowski, President of Creative Business Consulting Group, (CBCG) an International Retail Consulting firm, partners with retailers and e-tailers and manufacturers to create and implement sales, marketing and inventory management strategies. CBCG helps retailers understand the changing consumer trends and helps business owner’s harness the power of new media and marketing tools to connect with today’s “wired” consumers. Lynn speaks frequently at trade shows and teaches retail marketing and branding at several colleges in the Boston area.

Platinum Sponsors

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

Media Partners

Aquatic Eperience Chicago | November 7-9, 2014 | Schaumburg Convention Center