Innovation Does Not Mean New or Unproven! With Aaron Fisher, PhD from Ernest Maier

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Key Points Discussed

  • Innovation and Its True Meaning
    • Ty Garmon (03:15): “Innovation is one of those keywords that you get into management and you just like to throw around… There’s a certain kind of person that like looks at something and says, it needs to be better.”
    • Dr. Aaron Fisher (05:41): “Management likes to give permission to innovate, but it’s not always as simple as just saying, here’s your permission slip to innovate.”
  • Challenges of Innovation in Corporations
    • Ty Garmon (07:50): “So it’s the fear of getting yelled at. And certainly in regulations, stormwater regulations and stormwater and like just engineering in general, it’s I’ve done this before. It worked.”
    • Dr. Aaron Fisher (10:13): “We don’t have a lot of middle management…a lot of people are aligned with the bottom line.”
  • Fiberglass Rebar as an Innovative Product
    • Dr. Aaron Fisher (19:13): “What we’ve done with concrete is we’ve added a second material into a mega composite… But one of the big struggles with concrete is the corrosion that occurs.”
    • Ty Garmon (21:33): “If you’re going to build a stormwater structure and you’re not considering this, you’re overlooking it.”
  • PaveDrain System
    • Dr. Aaron Fisher (28:36): “It’s a heavy-duty, low maintenance, permeable pavement…it’s a second generation system.”
    • Ty Garmon (35:55): “Innovation in the stormwater world does not mean new and untested.”
  • Cultural and Organizational Inertia
    • Dr. Aaron Fisher (44:59): “If you recognize people for innovating, regardless of whether the innovation was a success, that’s rewarding, that’s recognition for trying things.”
  • Future of Stormwater Management
    • Ty Garmon (54:20): “You need to challenge yourself without necessarily breaking the bank because yes, can we build a sea wall that can resist 10 feet of sea level rise? Yeah, we just built an 11 foot sea wall.”


Ty Garmon: “Innovation is not the greatest thing since sliced bread, but it can help a lot of things. It can help you avoid a lot of things.”

Dr. Aaron Fisher: “We’re trying to sell a product category that we’ve never sold before and we’re innovating and we didn’t have a plan for this.”

In this episode of the Stormwater World Podcast, host Ty Garmon talks with Dr. Aaron Fisher, Vice President of Business Development at Ernest Maier, about innovation in the stormwater industry. They explore the true meaning of innovation, the challenges faced within corporate structures, and the importance of fostering a culture that encourages innovative thinking. Dr. Fisher highlights two key products, fiberglass rebar and the PaveDrain system, discussing their benefits and the hurdles in promoting new technologies. The conversation underscores the need for practical, tested solutions to address evolving stormwater management challenges and emphasizes that innovation doesn’t always mean unproven but rather improved and reliable methods.

The views expressed are that of the individual and do not represent the opinions of any companies past, present or future.

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