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Staff Spotlight - Meet some of our Star Employees

Staff Spotlight - Meet some of our Star Employees

Posted by The Fluker's Team on Jul 9th 2024

At Fluker Farms, our team is truly our greatest asset. This week, we're thrilled to spotlight three of our dedicated employees. 

Damian Tweedy- Larva Production Scientist

Image of Male, Damian Tweedy, Fluker's Larva Production Scientist, in blue outfit in front of trees

Pets Owned:

  • Dogs: Naga (German Shepard), Zuko (German Shepard)
  • Spiders: Glimmer (Greenbottle Blue Tarantula), Shadow Weaver (Curly Hair Tarantula)

Hot Tip: 

Pound for pound Mealworm larvae and adults have higher amounts of protein than pork, beef, turkey, and chicken!

Info. on Damian:

Damian Tweedy is a seasoned professional in the insect growing space with seven years of experience in mass insect rearing, driven by a passion for environmental sustainability. He has honed his expertise in growing mealworms on a large scale across various states, including Washington, Mississippi, and now Louisiana. With a degree in Environmental Biology and a minor in Entomology, Damian has contributed to significant advancements in the field, including publications on selective breeding in mealworms. 

He played a pivotal role in establishing the United States' largest mealworm rearing facility. His unique blend of hands-on rearing experience and lab-based insect research equips him with a comprehensive understanding of the insect rearing processes. Now at Fluker Farms, Damian is in the process of bringing his extensive expertise to the farm, aiming to enhance their operations through process and automation.

Outside of work, Damian enjoys quiet nights reading, watching horror movies, playing board games and video games with friends, and soon plans to travel in his renovated school bus with his two German Shepherds.

Erik Neff - Chief Scientific Officer

Image of Male. Erik Neff, Fluker's Chief Scientific Officer, in Red Shirt in front of trees

Pets Owned:

Cats: Figaro (Tuxedo Cat), Goober (Siamese Cat)

Dogs: Blueberry (Cane Corso Pitbull Mix), Carmella (Pomeranian Norwegian Terrier Mix)

Hot Tip:

Live Crickets provide excellent enrichment for pets, especially cats, and provide healthy nutrition!

About Erik:

Erik received his Bachelor of Science from Augusta University in Ecology in 2015 and completed his Master of Science, with an emphasis of Vector-borne disease, from The University of Georgia in 2020. He joined the Fluker Farm team in 2020, where he began his position as the farm's entomologist and Chief Scientific Officer.

Erik has 7 years of working with insects, with expertise in Crickets, Superworms, Mealworms, Black Soldier Flies, Hissing Cockroaches, Dubia Roaches, Fruit Flies, Hornworms, and Mosquitoes.

In his off time, he likes to spend time with his wife, Tiffany, and their five fur animals: Figaro, Goober, Carmella, Blueberry, and Squid. He also likes to watch movies, play video games, and cook.

Victoria Vail (Tori) - Research Technician

Image of Female, Victoria Vail, Fluker's Research Technician, in Red t-shirt in front of trees

Pets Owned:

  • Snakes: 1 Rainbow Boa, 1 Red Tail Boa, 4 King, 4 Corn, 1 Hognose, 2 Ball Pythons, 1 Mangrove
  • Fish: 200 gallon saltwater tank with fish and eel, 90 gallon freshwater tank

Hot Tip:

I always recommend animal owners properly provide the UV lighting needed for a healthy, thriving animal!

Info. on Tori: 

Tori has been handling exotic mammals, reptiles and marine life for the past 8 years as a hobbyist. She was an animal manager and trainer between two local zoo's for three and a half years before joining Flukers. She joined Fluker Farms to learn more about animal nutrition and what is needed to produce healthy, live feeders. 

In her free time, Tori is a professional scuba diver and Free diver.