Eric Schnakenberg: Aqua Systems

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River City Six: Eric Schnakenberg

Aqua Systems ( has been helping people improve their water since 1959, servicing clients across Nebraska as part of a national company with over 300 dealers nationwide. Eric Schnakenberg is the Director of Business Development for Aqua Systems in Nebraska.

Tell us a little about your business. – We are a water treatment company that specializes in water softeners, drinking water systems, water purification, problem water solutions and large-scale water solutions for both residential and commercial clients.

How did you get started in the business? – I began my career with owner Jeff White in high school hauling big water jugs around to stay in shape for football. From there, I worked my way through different positions in the company, from service tech to installer to sales. I am now overseeing the cooler and ice division.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally? – Overcoming my reputation as a daredevil when I was younger.

What has been your most important achievement professionally? – I created a fundraiser that I run annually called the Travis Tinney Hashtag Movement. It originated as a prank on my best friend Travis, who hates hashtags, and then turned into a powerful fundraiser the following year. It uses hashtags to fight cancer by raising funds for breast cancer research at The Cancer Center in Omaha.

Tell us a little about your family. – I have 2 kids; my son William is 12 and my daughter Jaden is 10.

What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life? – I would say probably the five years I spent in New York City, which helped me see the world differently; especially how business is done there versus here in Nebraska. I appreciate the pace of life here. It also helps me stay calm in traffic here!

What is your favorite thing to do on a day off? – Spend time at the lake on a boat with the kids. We fish and tube.

What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know? – I am a dancing phenom! I have competed in country dancing competitions and am currently working towards learning Latin and ballroom dancing.

What are you the most proud of? – Definitely my kids! They are both so focused on being good people and helping others.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “Respect your fears, but never be crippled by them.”

If you had a theme song, what would it be? – Guitars and Cadillacs by Dwight Yoakam.

If you could have a super power, what would it be? – I would love the ability to be able to fly. I really enjoy sky diving.

What local non-profit organization(s) are you passionate about or involved with, and are there any special reasons why? – Aqua Systems is proud to work with a lot of non-profit organizations in the community. To name a few: Cancer Center in Omaha, Friendship Home in Lincoln, Children’s Hospital in Omaha, and The Shriners.

What is your favorite book or the last good book you read? – Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters by Matt Ridley.

What is your favorite movie?Tombstone.

If you could have dinner with one famous person from the past or present, who would it be? – Freddy Mercury of Queen.

If our readers would like to contact you, how should they do so? – Readers are welcome to reach me at (402) 580-5734 or via email at You can also visit our website at

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