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Paul Lewis "LEW" Rothlisberger Jr.

Lew has been keeping tropical fish forever. His father, Paul Sr., kept a number of aquariums at home and was owner of an aquarium shop in the 50's when Lew was just a toddler. So Lew grew up with fish.

Lew grew up in Havre de Grace, Md. After graduating from Harford Junior College in 1970, he went on to the University of Maryland. He worked his way through college as a musician, playing drums in several bands. Lew graduated from University of Maryland in 1972, earning a Bachlor of Science degree from the zoology department. His majors were Life Sciences and Mathmatics. He continued with graduate level courses in Vertebrate physiology, Ecology, Evolution, and a class titled "The life of Fishes" professored by well known Dr. Eugiene Clark. (Dr Clark is a famous shark expert who appeared numerous times on Jacques Cousteau and other documentaries) Lew also completed a 100 page thesis on the schooling behavior of fishes, portions of which were published in a work by Dr Clark. The Smithsonian Institution's Natural History building, the National Aquarium, and the U of Md's Marine department on the Chesapeake Bay were Lew's favorite hang outs during these years.

After college, Lew joined a large aquarium shop in Maryland. where he discovered the "business" part of the fish business. Lew became general manager and the company grew in the 70's to 5 retail stores and a warehouse. One of Lew's jobs during this time was purchasing fish. He ordered from transhippers in Los Angeles and Miami. He would travel to New York to see and buy from the big importers. And several times he traveled to Florida to visit and purchase directly from the fish farms. This is when he fell in Love with Florida but it would take 20 years to come back to stay.

Along the way he managed a fish shop in Houston, Texas, and one in Orange County, California. He worked as an salesman for A-1 Aquatics, a major importer/wholesaler in Los Angeles in the late 70's. Then for a California fish farm called Experimental Fisheries. In 1978 Lew left the fish industry to persue another career: The tile and natural stone industry.

Lew met and married Reina in 1980. Son Paul was born in 1982 and daughter Jennifer in 1985. His time in the tile and stone business included 5 years as a manager of a Color Tile Store, owner of his own tile shop for 2 years, travelling the western United States for 3 years as sales manager for Iberia Marble in Los Angeles, and then as Vice President of Sales & Marketing of America's Best, Inc., a large supplier/contractor in the tile, marble, and floorng industry. Lew never got away from his "hobby" maintaining many fish tanks at home, breeding numerous species, and selling to local fish stores.

In 1991 the family went on a 3 week trip to Central America, Reina's homeland. Lew did much observing and collecting of wild cichlids, livebearers, and even saw a large group of wild Anableps anableps skimming the surface.

In 1992 Lew left the successful career in the tile industry to re-enter the fish business by taking a sales position with Poseidon Aquatics of Gardena, Ca. Two years later he was offered the opportunity to manage the new company: Poseidon Aquatics of Florida to be located in the Tampa area. Realizing a dream, the entire family relocated to Central Florida and finally Lew was back in the place he had loved so many years before. Poseidon Aquatics of Florida evntually reorganized and the name was changed to Tampa Bay Aquatics and they supplyed fish to independent pet shops. Lew continued to manage TBA until 1998, when he left the company, but remained in Florida. After a stint with Seaview Wholesale Marine Life, Inc., he finally put together the final stages of his lifelong dream and opened his very own Florida tropical fish wholesale company: TAMPA EXOTIC TROPICALS.

In addition to fish, Lew's interests are sport fishing, bowling, and he loves to spend time just hanging around the numerous parks and beaches in Florida, obserivng the abundant wildlife. He enjoys spectator sports and is an avid Tampa Bay BUCS fan. He is an active, licensed Real Estate Agent, and he still dabbles at drumming and currently (at age 58) plays in a popular blues band.