Eric grew up in a rural farming town of Durham, CT. However like most kids who grew up in his generation, he wasn’t interested in farming or gardening as a kid. In fact, his interest in growing his own food didn’t materialize until he moved to the city of New Britain to attend Central Connecticut State University. A common theme among the partners is that the interest to grow their own food materialized after they left their hometowns and moved into the city. An uncommon theme was the desire to be an entrepreneur, which Eric always knew he wanted to be. He studied Business Management at CCSU and graduated with a B.A.. During his time at Central he was heavily involved in the entrepreneurial community, won numerous business plan and elevator pitch competitions and also co-founded Community Central, a student run and directed initiative to connect CCSU students to the New Britain community.
After university Eric flexed his new business muscles working for PALS Built, an early stage company, which designed and installed modular additions to existing homes. PALS allowed those with physical disabilities to remain in their home and avoid nursing homes or assisted living. While Eric was successful at PALS Built and he could feel good at the end of each day knowing his work helped bring families together, it wasn’t hitting any of his passions and he found himself constantly thinking about how to turn his aquaponic hobby into a business. Eric joined reSET, a local business incubator to flesh out his aquaponics ideas. It was in this incubator that he met Spencer and Kieran and learned about their start-up already over a year old that was very similar to his idea for an aquaponic start-up. Rather than be competitors, their personalities, passion and purpose jived with Eric’s and they decided to join forces.
Eric brought a unique skill-set with his business background, something Spencer and Kieran were lacking, as well as a rolodex of contacts from a lifetime of activity in the Connecticut community. This helped Trifecta gain more traction with educators as well as more partnerships for the company in the community. With the addition of Eric, Trifecta continued its growth year over year and became a much more well-rounded company. Eric is also active in the startup community as well as the cohost of the CTStartup Podcast, which interviews new and emerging companies based in Connecticut. He’s always got his finger on the pulse of entrepreneurial activity. Eric is driven by community engagement and sees aquaponics as a great tool for communities to strengthen themselves by bringing food production back to the local residents and businesses and using partnerships to create a strong local food ecosystem.
Goal: Use aquaponics as a means to connect and strengthen local civic engagement and food production.
Favorite Edible Plant: I going to go with Kale since I make a mean Kaleslaw. (ProTip: Massage the kale like it’s your job!)