A well-known Andover photographer has traded in his camera for water quality analysis equipment.
In fact, Mark Spencer's Carriage House Photography business sits shuttered on one side of his historic 100 School St. building near the Andover commuter rail stop, while his new business has taken over the other side of the building. That space, also near the intersection of School and Essex streets, formerly housed an ice cream shop, Main Line Creamery.
Photographer Spencer is also Dr. Spencer, as he holds a Ph.D in physical chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was last director of technology for Agiltron, a contract R&D company, and spent a decade at NASA Ames Research Center measuring infrared absorption of atmospheric species. He expects to use that experience in securing and managing government funded R&D programs to expand the technology of water-quality analysis.
Spencer's research side may be lesser known around town as he is best known for his photography business. He started Carriage House Photography in 1995. But, the time has come to do something else, he said.
Spencer said the studio space is closed and for sale.
"I closed Carriage House because I was getting restless and yearning for a change back to doing something in science," he said.
Spencer will continue to photograph portraits of Andover's "Citizens Who Care" selections. He's been photographing those given the honor since 1996 for an exhibit that is shown in banks, Memorial Hall Library and Old Town Hall. Becoming involved with the "Citizens Who Care" project was part of being a Rotarian, an affiliation he continues as he switches careers.
Spencer, who lives in Andover with his family, is one of 10 employees at his new company, Water Analytics, who will research and make water analysis equipment such as pH probes and controllers. He bought the Toronto-based business about four months ago and now manufactures state-of-the-art, durable and cost effective water quality analysis equipment in the basement of the building, which he owns.
"I tell people about manufacturing and they ask where I do that. I have to tell them, 'No, no, it's happening right here in the basement,'" he said with a laugh.
Water Analytics products are used primarily in the municipal and waste-water industries, and the products are distributed around the world, Spencer said.
The scoop at this former ice cream shop location? It's a whole new look at the School Street building.