AS SEEN IN Inside Business, November 14, 2014, Written by Lydia Wheeler
There aren't a lot of companies that are focused on lake, pond, fisheries and stormwater treatment like SOLitude Lake Management, but the competition is stiff relative to demand.
Regardless, the Virginia Beach-based company, created by Kevin Tucker in 1998, has found a way to grow year over year, landing itself on the Inside Business list of fastest-growing companies in Hampton Roads for the second year in a row.
SOLitude's 55.4 percent growth from 2011 to 2013 is not the result of lowest price offerings. In fact, Tucker said, he is usually the most expensive option.
"We believe if we try to compete on price, we devalue our business and become a commodity," he said. "We want to be a value-driven service."
Instead, Tucker said, the company's growth is the result of high client retention, which brings in recurring revenue and client referrals that help build the client base.
"I think definitely there's a lot of increase in demand because of the need to manage stormwater," he said, "from increasing government regulations."
SOLitude Lake Management has 31 employees and satellite offices in nine states. Locations include Newport News; Richmond; Fredericksburg; Charlottesville; Charlotte, N.C.; Raleigh, N.C.; Newark, Del.; Gaithersburg, Md.; Millsboro, Del.; Avondal, Pa.; and Cherry Hill, N.J. Every state has its own regulations.
Though Tucker has said in the past that he'd like to grow the business into a national company, he's focused now on better saturating the markets he's in rather than expanding.
"The more we spread out, the more inefficient it is to do the work and more costly," he said.
The company offers comprehensive lake and pond management strategies such as GPS lake mapping, water quality testing and monitoring, integrated fisheries management and a wide range of additional services designed to restore and preserve ecological balance in the aquatic resources it manages.
And though more customers want their fisheries to be healthy as well as have their lake or pond look good, algae is still the No. 1 issue for the industry.
"Algae grow in water because there's too much phosphorus and nitrogen, which are a product of runoff from stormwater," Tucker said. "All this surface runoff loads water bodies with phosphorus and nitrogen and in some places it's unattractive, in others it's toxic."
To prevent algae, SOLitude Lake Management looks for the source of the pollution and tries to either stop or filter the runoff.
"Plants make good filters," Tucker said. "Also you want to make sure you don't have a lot of erosion where water flows."
"The other big thing that I feel like doesn't get highlighted enough is how important the people are," he said. "The clients and the staff are all a result of having excellence in both. We have good, knowledgeable people and likewise, we have good clients. Without people on both sides, none of this works."
Contact the experts at 888-480-LAKE (5253) for all of your lake, pond and fisheries management needs.
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. Services are available throughout the Eastern United States. Fisheries management consulting and aquatic products are available nationwide. Learn more about SOLitude Lake Management and purchase products at www.solitudelakemanagement.com.