With over a decade of experience, Justin Hess and Mark Austin are on a constant mission to grow Ichthys as well as take the aquaponics industry by storm. Through years of trials, errors, research and experience, our team at Ichthys has grown into a close-knit family that also share the same passion for aquaponics as the way of future farming.

Justin Hess

Justin Mess

Managing Director

Justin Hess is the founder of Ichthys Aquaponics Group birthed from his love for aquaponics. He also has a big passion to grow Ichthys’s footprint without borders. Through his leadership, hunger to share knowledge and passion in assisting any aquaponic farmer, Justin is someone whose name will stand as a legacy in the aquaponics industry. Justin is at his happiest with his son at his side and a fishing rod in hand making memories that will outlast generations.

Mark Austin

Mark Austin

Head of Marketing & Sales

Mark Austin is an accomplished system designer and Executive Manager at Ichthys. Driven by his scientific background, he approaches each system from a biological approach whereby intentionally designing the right environment for each organism to optimise system efficiency. Moreover, his Africanised Aquaponic Systems have been designed to withstand these harsh environmental conditions. In his free time, Mark can be found surrounded by nature or in search of the next species to tighten his line.

Richard Hess

Managing Director

Richard Hess is a highly experienced development economist, having founded and managed one of Africa’s leading development consultancy firms. As Chairman of Ichthys Group, he is committed to ensuring the group contributes to the economic development of Africa, in ways that ensure environmental sustainability and benefit all stakeholders. In addition to his work with Ichthys, Richard is also passionate about social enterprise development. In this regard, he helped found the Social Enterprise Academy Africa, for which he has been Chairman since its establishment.

Yvette Loots


Operations Manager

Yvette is one of the most formidable minds at Ichthys. Not only is she extremely perceptive, but she is also armed with the knowledge of all the comings and goings at the company. As the project and administration manager to an Enterprise Development Business Incubator, she had the opportunity to be involved on the frontline in senior-management strategy and implementation processes.

Philip Austin

Philip Austin Senior Manager

Senior Manager

Philip has experience working in both large corporate companies and smaller entrepreneurial businesses. In addition to his BSc Agriculture degree from Stellenbosch, he has a great passion about growing good food. He also believes that attention to detail is important to get good results, which is a good trait for any aquaponic farmer to have.

Walter Lawrence

Walter Lawrence Senior Manager

Senior Manager

Walter Lawrence is an experienced aquaponic farm manager and team leader. Driven by his passion for nature and the outdoors, he takes pride in providing the best eco-friendly and sustainable farming solutions possible, hence aquaponics. Additionally, as a farm manager, his goal is to push the boundaries of conventional farming practices and more importantly, finding innovative ways to help other aquaponic farmers reach their full potential.

The Team

Priscar Sithole
Sales Manager

Princess Sithole
Finance & HR

Omphile Moche
AgriHub Farm Manager

Ayanda Mkhwane
Eastgate Farm District Manager