We're privileged to have united our passions and expertise in the field of aquaponics. We believe it is our obligation and joy to advance the aquaponic practice and improve access to aquaponics for all people. Learn more here about how our business and growing team is working to empower individuals and communities with the aquaponic resources they need to improve their well-being and lives.
WHO WE ARE
SYMBIOTIC AQUAPONIC TEAM
Kaben Smallwood - President, CEO, Owner
Kaben's passion for aquaponics is connected to growing up around his grandparents' farm in Southeast Oklahoma. He has helped prepare the land, plant seeds, maintain the crops and harvest the family farm for over two decades. Working together with his brother Shelby, Kaben has overseen farm operations for the past several years. As a trained economist, he appreciates that aquaponic agriculture has higher yields, less waste and requires less labor. Aquaponics also appeals to Kaben's Native American culture. He is a proud member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and appreciates aquaponics’ natural and water-conserving aspects. He currently holds and advisory position on the USDA Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Committee.
Kaben has a degree in economics from the University of Oklahoma and a Juris Doctorate and Master of Business Administration from Oklahoma City University and is a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association. He has lived in a number of towns in Oklahoma, but now calls Talihina home. In addition to his passion for aquaponics, Kaben enjoys being outdoors, playing and watching sports, and spending time with friends and family.
Please email Kaben if you are interested in more information, consultations, custom and commercial builds, or if you just want to talk (a little or a lot) about aquaponics.
Shelby Smallwood - Director of Design/Innovation
Shelby has been building (and breaking) things since a young age. He enjoys working with his hands, being outdoors, and experiencing nature. He attended Colorado Mountain College, furthering his abilities as a fabricator and builder, skills well-suited for developing aquaponic systems. With experience and natural mechanical ability, he has been developing and testing aquaponics system designs since 2012. His ability and (self-professed) obsessive attention to detail ensure that he can be counted on to figure out a way to make things work properly. Additionally, since Shelby outgrew his older brother Kaben at the age of 12, he is also the hands-on brawn and can often be found getting his hands dirty. When he's not creating, Shelby enjoys horticulture, fishing, gardening, spending time outdoors and caring for his bee colonies.
If you have technical questions about our aquaponics systems, grow media, system maintenance, or the science that makes aquaponics possible, then Shelby is your man. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Regina Greuel-Cook (Ph.D) - Vice President; Director of Marketing
Regina grew up in Muskogee, Oklahoma. As a kid, she spent many summers in her family garden harvesting spiny okra in the heat of July and scratching away the irritation from the spines. While she didn't enjoy harvesting okra, she is thankful for her family garden, the fresh food it provided, and the appreciation for nature that it fostered in her.
In addition to her responsibilities of overseeing marketing, outreach, and communication, Regina brings her expertise and knowledge about public health to the company. Regina received her master’s degree in public health in 2010 and her Ph.D. in 2017 from the University of Oklahoma with a focus on obesity and the social determinants of health. She is passionate about improving health and the quality of life through environmental changes. Regina and her husband John Paul live in Norman with their four happy and active toddlers. She enjoys teaching ZUMBA fitness and backpacking in her spare time.
If you're interested in information about speaking engagements, aquaponics seminars/classes, community outreach, and event participation, email Regina. Regina@symbioticaquaponic.com
Mitchell Sommer - System Designer (EIT)
Mitchell grew up and spent most of his life in Sugar Land, Texas. Throughout his middle school and high school education, he discovered his interests in STEM through the classes he took. Additionally, he developed a love for music with the instruments he learned to play in band such as the French horn and mellophone. Growing up in the suburbs of Houston, Mitchell always enjoyed the occasional trip to the rural land of Sealy, where he could reconnect with nature.
In December of 2019, Mitchell graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a degree in mechanical engineering. During his time at UT, he continued pursuing his growth as a musician with his involvement in the Longhorn Marching Band and discovered his passion for sustainability as a member of Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW). In college, he always had a strong desire to improve the world with sustainable engineering through fields like renewable energy and nuclear power, but it was his involvement in ESW that helped him discover his passion for aquaponics. As a dedicated member and leader of the UT Aquaponics project, Mitchell realized the versatility of aquaponics as a teaching tool and the promise it holds to combat large-scale issues such as global food insecurity. In the Summer of 2019, Mitchell worked as an engineering intern for Symbiotic Aquaponic and has been part of the team ever since, now working full time to continue improving the world. He has been with Symbiotic since and currently holds a position as System Designer (EIT). Feel free to email him with any questions regarding the technicalities of aquaponic production or system design! Mitchell@symbioticaquaponic.com
Joshua Dusci (M.S.) - Aquaculture/Aquaponic Specialist
Joshua grew up in Ivy, Virginia and has always shared a deep connection with nature and finds his true inspiration through the complex coexistence of nature and human civilization. Growing up near the Chesapeake Bay and often making family trips to the coast, Joshua was always in awe of how the farming of oyster’s not only offered quality food for the people that produced them but also offered numerous environmental benefits. A true two birds with one stone scenario. This led Joshua down a path, where one day he read an article about aquaponics, when the light bulb switched in his head. He immediately replaced the T.V. in his apartment with a fish tank that was coupled to a small hydroponic loop. From here Joshua designed a Senior research project involving aquaponics, which not only awarded him a 2nd place finish in the undergraduate research competition at Coastal Carolina University, but also was the golden ticket into graduate school. He quickly fell in love with Kentucky State University and before he knew it was deeply entrenched in his aquaponic thesis research as well as numerous extension and education opportunities involving aquaponics in the Commonwealth. By 2020, Joshua had successfully defended his thesis research titled, “Evaluation of freshwater prawn, Macrobrachium rosenbergii, for biological solids control in raft aquaponic systems and the protective effectiveness of root guards”. Upon graduating, Joshua has solidified a position at Symbiotic where he currently serves as an Aquaculture/Aquaponic Specialist. He has over 6 years of aquaponic experience and is your guy if you have any general or specific questions about aquaculture or aquaponics. Feel free to reach out to him via email: Joshua@symbioticaquaponic.com
Our vision is to build healthier individuals, families, and communities through the implementation of smart and sustainable aquaponic agriculture.
Symbiotic Aquaponic strives to make aquaponics accessible to all by empowering individuals, families, producers, and communities with the skills, resources, knowledge, and support they need to implement aquaponics for their benefit and the greater good of society.
SUPPORT TEAM & CONTRACTORS
In addition to this leadership for Symbiotic Aquaponic, it is the talented and dedicated support team and contractors that help keep things running smoothly. Symbiotic Aquaponic is proud to employ and contract with multiple talented professionals including engineers, naturalists, financial analysts, horticulturists, and expert pipefitters. From crafting, installing, maintaining, and marketing aquaponic systems and products, our support team provides a great cross-section of highly skilled, educated, and dedicated professionals. We are grateful to work beside them in pursuit of our company mission.
In addition to the many skilled professionals we employ, Symbiotic Aquaponic also offers internships to students and individuals with a passion and desire to learn more about aquaponics. While prior experience and education is helpful, it is not necessary. For inquiries about working with our team or for internship opportunities please contact email@example.com.