SEARCH KENT STATE
AquaBlue Incorporated is the first resident company in the Tolloty Technology Incubator, located in the Tuscarawas Regional Technology Park in New Philadelphia. Owner and founder Don Whittingham moved his 10-year-old company into the incubator in August after outgrowing his previous office space in New Philadelphia.
The newly constructed Tolloty Technology Incubator, owned and managed in partnership by Kent State University at Tuscarawas and the Tuscarawas County Community Improvement Corporation (CIC), opened its doors for business in June.
Whittingham finds the Tolloty Technology Incubator a perfect fit for their business which provides innovative industrial water treatment chemicals and service for boiler, cooling and wastewater treatment systems. AquaBlue provides specialized corrosion/scale inhibitors for boiler and cooling systems, along with wastewater clarification polymers in the areas of food processing, metal manufacturing, plastics, mining and municipalities. They also have specialty products for the oil and gas industry.
"We see the facility as an accelerator for our business instead of an incubator, as we already have had a decade of success," said Whittingham. "We moved here because the facility was the best available in the Tuscarawas County area to continue support for our 25 to 30 percent annual growth rate. By relocating here, we are able to take advantage of the incubator's high-tech infrastructure as a foundation so we can maintain our primary focus on our products and customers and the development of new products for current and emerging markets. We find the Tolloty Incubator a great overall value for the price per square foot. It is a world-class, LEED engineered facility that encourages creativity and growth for new, young or established high-tech companies in the beautiful Tuscarawas Valley."
AquaBlue occupies one of the larger office spaces on the first floor of the incubator, as well as utilizing the on-site wet lab for water testing and experimentation. There are seven associates who work in the office and out in the field. The company has 85 clients throughout Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Michigan. AquaBlue is a multi-million dollar business with an aggressive business plan for continued success.
"The CIC is proud to play a part in the effort to locate AquaBlue in the Tolloty Technology Incubator," commented Gary Little, CIC executive director and manager of the Tolloty Technology Incubator. "Although not a true start-up company, AquaBlue is at a pivotal point in its life cycle. With the support of the Tolloty facilities and assistance programs, AquaBlue can greatly accelerate its plans for growth. A strong, high-tech company like this can also create a fertile environment for other entrepreneurs, student interns and true start-up companies that may be contracting with AquaBlue or partnering on joint-ventures. Don Whittingham's interest in growing not only his company, but others along with him is a perfect match for the Tolloty Incubator."
According to New Philadelphia Mayor Dave Johnson, he is pleased with AquaBlue's relocation to the Tolloty Technology Incubator. "This will give an excellent New Philadelphia company the resources to expand and grow at an accelerated pace," said Johnson. "This is exactly the kind of economic development, business generator we expected with the Tolloty Incubator."
Whittingham believes his company has grown because of their personal commitment and ability to address customer needs and provide solutions. "I believe customer service is paramount," added Whittingham. "We strive to be the standard of service for our customers, an achievement that has impacted our growth. We are planning to move out of the incubator in the next three to five years and expand into a larger facility within the Tech Park. We are striving to be the first to do this!"
Along with the wet lab, AquaBlue has access to the Tolloty Technology Incubator's training room, shipping and receiving area, reception space, conference rooms, computer networking operation center and a high-speed and high band width fiber-optic network.
"In addition to the physical features the facility has to offer AquaBlue, we also offer other resources," said Dr. Brad Bielski, dean and chief administrative officer of Kent State Tuscarawas. "They can utilize the services of our Small Business Development Center located in the incubator, and we already know Don is planning on employing some of our chemistry and biology students as interns with the company. This will give our students significant and valuable hands-on experience prior to graduating, and could impact their future career opportunities."
Little considers AquaBlue's interest in the high-tech facility and programs to be a significant moment for the CIC. "The CIC's vision, launched in the early 2000's, has now become a reality," added Little. "AquaBlue is the first company to reside at the Tolloty Technology Incubator, and at the Tech Park. The CIC expects this to be the start of good things to come and we have more companies in the pipeline for the Tolloty."
Whittingham has 25 years of experience in the industrial water treatment field. He most recently worked with General Electric. He conceived and started AquaBlue as a graduate school project in 2004. He is a member of VISTAGE International, a CEO peer group. Whittingham holds a Master of Business Administration in Entrepreneurship from Ashland University, and a Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing and a Bachelor of Arts in history from Kent State University. He and his wife, Susan reside in New Philadelphia with their son, Christian, who is a student at Kent State University.
AquaBlue can be reached at 330-343-0220, www.aquabluechemical.com. or at 1776 Tech Park Dr. NE, Suite 131, in New Philadelphia. Little can be reached at the CIC office in the Tolloty Technology Incubator at 330-308-7524 or at www.tusctechpark.com.