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As the craft beer industry rapidly expands and builds with it a following of beer connoisseurs in their quest for the ultimate sensory experiences through flavor, there is one key technology in Prince William County that can make all the difference for better-tasting craft beer.
For the past two years, ROMEM Aqua Systems Company, RASco, Inc. has been focused on this technology – research and development of their TruBru water system. Yes, that’s right water. Engineering a cleaner, better-tasting craft beer in Prince William County starts with water.
TruBru is an advanced filtration system that uses automated technologies to deliver consistent water chemistry, which is vital to overall beverage quality. RASco miniaturized their existing technology for use in breweries by developing a modular, scalable, mobile water purification system that could fit inside a brewery’s common tight spacing.
“If you don’t start out with a quality first ingredient, it’s hard to produce a quality end product. In breweries, that first ingredient is water. This is our most exciting product, and it’s applicable not only to breweries but to restaurants as well. We explain to people how the different chemical relationships of our water can help them produce their foods. That quality water gives a better taste. This is not your typical processed water, bottled water or tap water,” said Jim Judkins, RASco Vice President of Operations.
RASco was built on water
In 1977 after 20-plus years in the U.S. Army, Dr. Vincent Ciccone launched V.J. Ciccone & Associates in Woodbridge, VA. Focused predominantly on civil and environmental engineering services, the company expanded over time to include mechanical, electrical, plumbing and even architectural engineering. After a period of growth in the 70’s and early 80’s, V.J. Ciccone & Associates was acquired in the mid-80’s by a large international engineering firm.
In 1991, Dr. Ciccone opted to re-form the company as RASco, Inc. to implement patented water purification systems. Housed in a ten thousand square foot facility off Route 1 in Woodbridge, RASco is in the optimal location due to its proximity to Quantico and Fort Belvoir. RASco’s clients include various state and federal government agencies, as well as private sector and commercial businesses.
Growing with the county
Fast forward to now and their location still remains as relevant. “Prince William County is a good, strategic location with the ability to easily access DC, Richmond, and Norfolk,” said Judkins.
The strategic location and company’s innovation are clearly working. RASco’s annual revenue is on track to exceed six million dollars in 2017. The company has grown from the initial three employees to twenty-eight, not counting contractors and subcontractors. Employees can be found working out in the field or onsite at the Woodbridge office, supporting the company’s five operational divisions: Engineering Consulting, Technology Services, Equipment Services, Management Services and RASco Craft Beverage.
“Even going back to late 70’s, there’s been a positive environment for growth,” says John Ciccone, President of RASco. “We’re growing with the county.”
One of the reasons for that growth has been the pool of talented professionals Ciccone recognizes.
“It’s easy to find employees who live in the area who are professionally qualified but don’t want to spend time commuting. The majority of the employees live and raise kids in Prince William County,” he said.
He and Judkins are among them.
But RASco doesn’t just hire employees and contractors from the aea. They also purchase manufacturing goods locally. Committed to doing business with other Prince William County companies, they have taken part in several local and county projects over the years. “We’ve done work in other states,” said Ciccone. “But mostly, we’re regional.”
Today, there are at least 10 independent breweries in the Prince William County region with more on the way, including the new 2 Silos Brewing Company’s Farm Brew Live, which is taking up residence in the historic Thomasson Barn at Innovation Park in Prince William County.