Meet the Staff
Reef eScape is about more than just aquariums - it's also about passion and love for the hobby, that wondrous moment of seeing a successful aquarium in action, that first moment that you witness a new behavior in your tank, and most of all, the people behind all of this who share your feelings! At Reef eScape, people come first so we'd love to introduce ourselves to you!
Phil Owner and President
Phil's previous career was as a business consultant and an IT security professional in addition to roles in sales and marketing. Seeking something more personal and personally fulfilling, Phil’s hobby of aquarium keeping eventually led him to enter the industry itself as a service aquarist and provider. He has planned, installed, maintained, and managed hundreds of aquariums and tens of thousands of gallons of saltwater and freshwater in the greater D.C. Metropolitan area.
In 2006, Phil founded Reef eScape and has never looked back. He planned, built, and moved into its current home in Fairfax City in 2009-2010 where the property has a 2,000 square-foot showroom and aquarium design center as well as a retail store that started at the suggestion of a staff member in 2014. Since it's inception, Reef eScape has become the leading aquarium service provider in the area with sites stretching from the Central, Capital, and Southern Regions of Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Northern Virginia where it makes its home on top of building a retail shop that draws customers from not only the entire region but also from abroad as well.
A constant diet of ponds, lobster tanks, freshwater tanks, multi-tank systems, live coral reef tanks, QT systems, large tank design and installation, and running a small business more keep him pretty busy but with the help and support of his wife Lucia and their two kids, Phil is proud to have built Reef eScape into the company know to be the D.C. area's premier aquatic services provider with the most professional, knowledgeable and dedicated staff around and is looking forward to the next stage in the growth of Reef eScape with a planned expansion for late 2020.
Black Tang, Zebrasoma rostratum
Ty Senior Aquarist
Flame Tail Blenny, Enchelyurus flavipes
Red Rooster Waspfish, Paracentropogon zonatus
Olivia "Ollie" Livestock Manager
Ollie got their start as a volunteer at the invertebrates exhibit at the National Zoo. In 2014, several years later, they joined Reef eScape, and quickly took to the animals both with and without spinal columns. Since then they have become a self-described expert in marine animal husbandry.
Ollie's favorite marine animals include the Bandtail Waspfish, Zoanthids, and Polkadot Hermit Crabs.
Chad Dry Goods Manager
Chad spent the first part of his career as an environmental scientist studying freshwater ecosystems all over Florida and the Southeastern United States. After moving to Northern Virginia he decided to apply his knowledge of water chemistry and enthusiasm for ecological systems to the saltwater aquarium hobby. He is in charge of ordering and stocking the dry goods and equipment for Reef eScape, as well as helping maintain service customers tanks. He loves to share his experience with people new to the hobby and to help find the perfect fish, coral, or piece of gear for your system and has rapidly become a customer favorite to work with!
Yellow Coris Wrasse, Halichoeres chrysus
Great Hammerhead Shark, Sphyrna mokarran
Lizzie Service Aquarist/Support Manager
Justin Service Aquarist
Justin joined Reefescape in 2017 as part of the Service Department. Justin has kept freshwater aquatic creatures, reptiles, amphibians and one dog. After graduating from DuVal High school Justin committed to looking after animals, training in Veterinary assistance and volunteering with the local Humane Society.
He enjoys reading science fiction and fantasy novels, music, hiking, swimming and drawing on various media.
Currently Justin is keeping a water dragon and an outside water feature with goldfish, koi and native wildlife.
Dojo/Weather Loach, Misgurnus anguillicaudatus
Sexy Anemone Shrimp, Thor amboinensis
Daya Retail Associate/Service Aquarist
Jennifer Retail Staff/Social Media
Jennifer graduated from Old Dominion University in 2018 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marine Biology. During her time at university, she was a volunteer for the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center. She recently started at Reef eScape and has enjoyed learning and caring for aquariums. She also has graduate school aspirations.
Powder Blue Tang, Acanthurus leucosternon
Coral Croucher Goby, Caracanthus maculatus
Anna Retail Staff
Anna is currently a student at University of Miami studying Marine Science and Biology and an aspiring ichthyologist. She has been working at Reef eScape since her junior year of high school and loves it. Her favorite fish is a Coral Croucher and her favorite coral is a Purple Torch! Anna looks forward to the opportunity to help you with anything from setting up a new tank to what you’re going to stock it with!
Chris Book Keeper
Chris has been with Reef eScape since 2015. She has been a bookkeeper for over thirty years, both in the corporate world and for small business, but has found that she prefers to work for small businesses that have more of a sense of family. Chris has always been a furry animal lover and has learned to appreciate the beauty that can be found in an aquarium during her time here. Although she moved out of state last year, she feels very fortunate to be able to continue to work for Reef eScape remotely.
Lionfish, Pterois miles