23 January 2014

Gabriela SolanoThe aquatic industry trade body has welcomed a new face to the organisation as Gabriela Solano takes on the position of Assistant to the Chief Executive this week.

Gabriela joins OATA from Bath Spa University where she lectured in biology. She has a background in Biology and environmental science, having previously worked in Canada as an environmental scientist and advisor for Hatch Mott MacDonald and the BC Ministry of Transportation, mostly advising in matters related to large infrastructure projects.

During her time studying for her degree in biology at the University of El Salvador she conducted a small research project on the mating and reproductive behaviour of dwarf gourami. This led to the University setting up a small commercial ornamental fish farm, where she worked in her free time. She also volunteered at a friend’s ornamental fish farm and, at home, kept and bred dwarf gourami and guppies.

After leaving university she worked with El Salvadorian fisherman communities on the conservation of marine resources in the Gulf of Fonseca before moving to Canada to study for her MSc in Resource Management and Environmental Studies at the University of British Colombia, which included research into water quality monitoring.

“We’re very pleased to welcome Gabriela to the OATA team. She brings a good mix of experience in scientific research, report writing, working with government bodies and presentation skills that will be invaluable in the post,” said OATA Chairman James Allison.

“We have a busy year ahead of us so it is especially welcome to have more technical knowledge to support Chief Executive Keith Davenport at this time.

“One of Gabriela’s first tasks will be to look at creating a new membership category for pond and aquarium contractors to widen our membership appeal and we look forward to announcing more details about this in the near future.”

On starting her new position at the trade association, which is based in Westbury in Wiltshire, Gabriela said: “I am very excited about starting on this new position with OATA. I am sure I will enjoy the challenges that come with it and I look forward to working closely with the team at the office as well as members and directors to ensure OATA continues to succeed in achieving its mission of promoting and protecting the ornamental aquatic industry.”