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The Business of Building Artificial Reefs

An aquatic exhibits designer crafts a plan to reinvigorate his state's marine life and fishing industry.

This story appears in the May 2011 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Christopher Wojcik grew up surfing, fishing and diving the waters near Point Pleasant, N.J., a shore town known for its long beaches, arcades and nightlife. His passion for exploring the ocean never let up. In 1998, after getting a master's degree in biological oceanography from Western Washington University, Wojcik returned to New Jersey. There he was asked to help improve the animal habitats at one of his hometown's most popular attractions, Jenkinson's Aquarium. He responded by launching Ionature, a Bay Head, N.J., firm that designs and builds exhibits and habitats for zoos and aquariums.

Christopher WojcikAs Ionature grew, Wojcik traveled around the U.S. developing educational materials, videos, structures and other aquatic installation elements for clients such as the Discovery Channel, Miami Metrozoo (now Zoo Miami) and Oregon Coast Aquarium. (And, after dropping his mobile phone in the water one too many times, he helped invent Save-A-Phone, a packet that dries electronic devices post-dunking.)

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