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Local businessman moves facilities to new Au Sable Forks site

Au SABLE FORKS - A locally owned and operated invasive species management business is establishing its headquarters in Au Sable Forks.

Andrew Lewis, a Saranac Lake resident and co-owner of Aquatic Invasive Management, announced recently that the business has begun operations at its new headquarters in Au Sable Forks.

Founded in 2007 by Lewis and Tommy Thomson of Lake Placid, AIM specializes in the removal of invasive aquatic plants from lakes in the Adirondacks and surrounding areas.

They employ local divers and surface tenders who use various techniques to remove the invading vegetation by hand.

Starting with a small job on Minerva Lake in 2007, the business wrapped up its busiest year in 2010, removing 73.5 tons of milfoil growth from nine lakes in northern New York.

The company currently employs 13 local people for a five-month work season.

"The work is hard, especially for the divers, so our people are paid well," Thomson said, noting that many of the AIM employees are able to cover most of their yearly living costs with their income from the job.

"We hope to develop the business into something that can employ people year-round," he added.

That, Lewis says, depends on how much the business grows. He says the company is in talks with several lake organizations that may be added to the client list in 2011.

AIM clients have found that hand-harvesting of milfoil is more efficient and less damaging to the environment than chemical treatments.

Thomson and Lewis are looking forward to a more productive work season in 2011 thanks to the benefits of their large two-bay garage with attached offices in AuSable Forks.

Thomson said that after years of operating out of their backyards, basements, garages and home offices, the business can finally keep its equipment sheltered, organized and well-maintained while running the business all in the same building.

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