AS SEEN IN Oyster Pointer: Written by By Jill Keech
SOLitude Lake Management, “restoring balance, enhancing beauty”
Call it liquid preservation of one of nature’s most precious resources.
As owner and president of SOLitude Lake Management, Kevin Tucker tapped into the business of improving the quality, safety and aesthetics of lakes and ponds, and stormwater retention pools in 1998 when he opened his first office in Oyster Point.
The outcome of SOLitude’s commercial and residential work involves filtering the water going into the bay. That means mitigating algae growth and phosphorous pollution, and more, through best-practices techniques and products.
“The idea is to keep the water quality good at the upper points before the water has a chance to flow down to the river and the bay,” Tucker says.
He grew up in York County, in a home on the Poquoson River. To this day, free time means going to the beach where he can surf.
But back then, the idea that the water was something to be treasured was nowhere on Tucker’s horizon.
“I thought it would always be there,” he says, “that it would always be fine.”
Tucker’s calling would later turn to preserving this living resource for generations to come.
It was trusting his instinct that brought Tucker to the “water’s edge,” so to speak, daring him to stick a toe into what he saw as a void.
Working in horticulture and commercial landscaping during summers and after college, Tucker encountered clients with languishing bodies of water on their property.
“There was a need for this (water management), and it was under-filled,” Tucker says. “People didn’t know where to go to take care of that.”
He saw a hole in the marketplace worth filling with SOLitude, although a naysayer or two feared that his business idea might sink for lack of a wide enough target audience.
But Tucker had a lot going for him, including a James Madison University business administration and management degree.
And he had sound role models in his parents, who each operated their own businesses after working for others.
“I definitely saw the self-employed thing,” says Tucker, who is 43. His wife, Jennifer, has always had his back. “She’s very, very supportive in every way,” Tucker says. “I couldn’t ask for a better spouse.”
Along with the original office, the company’s headquarters is now in Virginia Beach, where Tucker, Jennifer and their three children live. His daughter and two sons all play travel soccer—they would love to see a soccer game in England—and as a family, they enjoy activities from hiking to camping to surfing.
Tucker’s destination list includes New Zealand and Scandinavia to enjoy the great outdoors, as well as America’s national parks.
In SOLitude’s early years, Tucker took his time, doing everything himself before hiring staff. His current workforce of 32 men and women dispersed over various East Coast states works out of mobile offices. Every truck is laptop equipped for constant connectivity back to the server.
“It’s no different than if they’re sitting at a desk,” he says, adding that the arrangement minimizes drive time to and from an office. “We spread our people out.”
In addition to their client contract work, Tucker and his staff perform case studies and field research for aquatic products being brought to market. He speaks at trade and professional shows and conferences and sits on the boards of trade and professional associations.
Tucker has enjoyed the art of building the business itself. “I love every day, thinking about how I can to it better than the day before,” he says.
The company’s reputation earns unsolicited resumes. Clients and employees stay a long time. One of those clients of some 20 years is Chesapeake Bay Management, Inc., an association management company for common interest communities with needs that include stormwater management.
Dana Shotts-Neff, president of the firm located in Oyster Point, describes Tucker as motivated, focused and accessible.
Ellen Stace, who works in customer service in the Newport News office, has been on board since early on. She says Tucker cares about his employees.
Appreciation is part of Tucker’s work style, and Christmas time brings his all-expenses-paid party with a three-day weekend of activities. It’s a thank you to a team that works 10- to 12-hour days in their busy spring-summer season, a team that shares Tucker’s passions: the water and the environment.
“We do it because we love it,” Tucker says of the work. “And it all started here in Oyster Point.”
Contact the experts at 888-480-LAKE (5253) for all of your lake, pond and fisheries management needs.
The Oyster Pointer is an independently published monthly newspaper for and about businesses in the Oyster Point Business Park area of Newport News, VA.
Since 1998, SOLitude Lake Management has been committed to providing full service lake and pond management services that improve water quality, preserve natural resources, and reduce our environmental footprint. Lake, pond and fisheries management services, consulting, and aquatic products are available nationwide. Learn more about SOLitude Lake Management and purchase products at www.solitudelakemanagement.com.