I was born in Schumpert Hospital in Shreveport. I grew up in Cotton Valley and spent my formative years rambling around the woods, lakes and streams between Springhill and Doyline.
I love Webster Parish and I still call it home. That is why I am doubly disappointed and extremely embarrassed with regard to our contract for controlling aquatic vegetation with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
In particular, I am humiliated by the actions of certain applicators that were employed to treat Giant Salvinia on Lake Bistineau, near my childhood home in Webster Parish. The individual that was found sleeping on the boat during working hours has been terminated.
I am also disappointed with performance on other reservoirs and with regards to other aspects of the contract which were mentioned in your article. Having said this, as owner and President of Aqua Services Inc., I assume all responsibility for the substandard quality of our work.
Our company has been in business for over 30 years and during that time, we have successfully prosecuted hundreds of aquatic plant management programs throughout the southeastern United States; all with high marks, up to this point.
Our intentions were, and remain, to provide the State of Louisiana with quality contractual aquatic plant management for a fair and honest price. The mistakes that I made in assessment of the requirements of the work, and in choosing our applicators to treat the vegetation, are not mistakes that I have made in the past, and are not mistakes that I will ever repeat.
Going forward, we have a plan that establishes permanent bases in both north and south Louisiana. These will be bases where equipment will be maintained, where applicators will meet in the mornings before going to work assignments, and where herbicides and other products will be stored.
Also, for the next 14 weeks (or until we are thoroughly satisfied with the competency of our Louisiana employees), a vested, Aqua Services, salaried, professional will be on the ground in Louisiana at least three days each week to monitor the ongoing aquatic plant management contracts.
We believe that hiring, training and licensing applicators from Louisiana that have a working knowledge of the lakes and water bodies within their region is important; individuals that take great pride in the natural resources of Louisiana and have a vested interest in quality aquatic weed control.
We have already hired three individuals from the Minden area and they are training on Aqua Services airboats and equipment as we speak on Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee; a lake that is very similar in nature to Lake Bistineau and other Louisiana water bodies. We plan to continue to hire and train applicators from Webster Parish, and we will also employ an operational manager and maintenance supervisor for the area. His duties will include assuring accurate and timely applications, monitoring employee conduct, and proper maintenance and equipment repair, as necessary.
In summary, I would like to apologize for the undue hardship that our deficiencies have created, and restate my extreme disappointment regarding my company’s performance to date.
As a career aquatic plant biologist, and as the owner and president of Aqua Services, I have never failed to complete a contract, and we don’t plan to do so now.
Aqua Services has invested a great deal in the Louisiana program and presently has 8 airboats dedicated to use in north Louisiana. In the future, on Bistineau and other north Louisiana lakes, we plan to utilize two applicators on each boat, and closely supervise and monitor their work for excellence.
I am convinced, given the quantity and quality of our equipment, and considering the new plan that we have developed for “going forward,” that we will serve successfully as the primary contractor in Louisiana. And, I pledge to provide exceptional aquatic plant management service for Lake Bistineau and the people of Webster Parish.
Terry L. Goldsby, President
Aqua Services, Inc.