(PHOTO CREDIT: STONYBROOK.EDU)
Brett Raymer, left, with his brother-in-law Wayde King. (PHOTO CREDIT: STONYBROOK.EDU)

The next time you flip through the channels trying to find something good to watch on television, there is a slight chance that you may come across a fellow Stony Brook alumnus.

Brett Raymer, 43, is currently the star of Animal Planet’s television show “Tanked.” Viewers tune in as Raymer creates an assortment of multi-million dollar tanks for his clients through the family-owned and operated business called Acrylic Tank Manufacturing in Las Vegas. However, Raymer is a Sheepshead Bay and Manhattan Beach native and actually spent three years at Stony Brook University, playing on the football team and majoring in liberal arts from 1988 to 1990.

A resident of Kelly Quad for one year, Raymer chose SBU because it was “close to home” and heard that it was a great school. The rumors were true according to Raymer, who describes his college experience as “unforgettable.”

His fondest memory while at SBU cannot be summed down to one instance, especially with the amazing friends whom he shared all those moments with.

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“We went to Big Barry’s off campus a lot,”  Raymer, who raved about the chicken wings there, said. Unfortunately, the restaurant has been closed and cannot be revisited.

So how did his success story of Acrylic Tank Manufacturing (ATM) come to life after graduating SBU with a major in liberal arts? It was not due to the pet fish Raymer had as a kid, but instead his brother-in-law and eventual business partner, Wayde King.

The family business ATM, began 18 years ago and bills itself as the world leader in custom aquarium installations. King explained the family operations as “slowly evolving into what they are today” because everyone always “did anything that needed to be done.” King started the business while Heather, Raymer’s sister, runs the books and pays the bills.  Raymer’s father, Irwin, also known as “The General,” orders products and sets up shipments.

Many of the tanks created on the show go through a “rigorous process” of time slots with the production crew and the client, like the Harry Houdini-themed fish tank for actor Neil Patrick Harris in season three. Raymer said the most unusual request to date belongs to a woman who “wanted a tank in the shape of her grandson’s head,” showing that this business is very unique.

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Brittany Deering, a sophomore majoring in business management at Stony Brook, watches the show frequently and had no idea Raymer is an SBU alumnus.

“That makes me really proud,” Deering said.

She knows that a lot of the popular alumni from Stony Brook are typically “doctors, physicists and engineers.” It is refreshing, in her opinion, to hear such a “unique success story” coming out of her university. She occasionally watches the show if nothing else is on. However, now she said she would love to “support a fellow Seawolf,” or patriot as Stony Brook’s mascot was back when Raymer attended, by watching the new episodes whenever she can.

“Tanked,” which is in its fourth season since the first episode in 2011, airs on Animal Planet every Friday at 10 p.m. ET, or you can watch the first season on Netflix.

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