Brevard Company Making Aquatic Ecosystems Healthy and Beautiful
Water is a big issue for Florida and its future growth. Population growth, agriculture and industry threaten the natural beauty and water quality of our springs, waterways and wetlands. Invasive foreign plant life infests our ponds and streams. In the face of these challenges, there are solutions to be had and business opportunities to be pursued.
Pond Science LLC of Brevard County, FL, led by founder and owner Laura Parkel, was started 10 years ago to improve the ecology and enhance the natural beauty of Central Florida’s ponds and shorelines. Building on a B.A. in Limnology (Freshwater Ecology), her experience as an Aquatic Biologist at Walt Disney World and a subsequent M.S. in Soil and Water Science with emphasis in wetlands and aquatic systems from the University of Florida, through Pond Science LLC Parkel has set about “to create healthy, beautiful ponds” in two ways: by revitalizing earth-bottom retention ponds and by building, rebuilding and/or repairing water gardens and features, and maintaining both.
By strategically deploying aerators to re-oxygenate the water and removing exotic nuisance weeds, Pond Science is able to rid retention ponds of muck, make the water clearer and cleaner and create a healthy environment for water creatures, insects and native plants. As trained and certified aquascape contractors, Parkel and her team are able build beautiful new water gardens, or repair and rebuild those that were originally installed by untrained developers and landscapers.
As worthwhile as Pond Science’s mission is, it is still a business and Parkel wanted to make sure it was sustainable and growing. Based upon her experience at weVentures, the Florida Institute of Technology’s program for ‘womenpreneurs’, she turned to Martin Duffy, a consultant at and the Area Manager of the Florida SBDC at Eastern Florida State College, a satellite office of the FSBDC at UCF. With support from Duffy and his FSBDC team, Parkel has been successfully growing her business ever since.
The assistance from the FSBDC has come in a variety of areas. Parkel and her employees attended seminars to build their marketing and finance knowledge. The company leveraged the FSBDC’s market research databases to identify business opportunities. And she benefited from Duffy’s consulting in the form of improved budgeting, financial forecasting and online marketing.
“My business has grown tremendously since we started working with the FSBDC,” says Parkel. “We have doubled our revenues and been able to hire two new employees. I may be an expert in aquatic science but, on the business side, I didn’t know what I didn’t know before. Now, with the help of the FSBDC, I want to see what else I need to know to take the company to the next level.”
“Building a marketing plan; financial management training; digital marketing best practices: these are just some of the services our team at the FSBDC can provide,” remarked Duffy. “We have the people to do laborintensive market research as well as tools and databases that small businesses don’t have access to. Bring the whole package together and we are able to make a big difference in the community.”