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Christopher Ritter

Ritter Designs, LLC
ROV Engineer/Ritter Designs, LLC
Hercules Pilot

Tell us about your work/research. What kinds of things do you do?

I specialize in the engineering and deployment of deep water robotic systems. This includes the design, build, operation, and maintenance phases. I also have worked extensively on deployment and recovery of ROV systems and other deep water systems from different ship platforms. I have worked all over the world and have participated as a pilot, copilot, navigator and dive supervisor on over 500 deep water vehicle dives.

What sparked your initial interest in your career?

Growing up, I constantly worked on house or car or electronics projects with my Dad. This, along with participating in various robotics clubs and groups in college initially sparked my interest in the field. Once I joined my first expedition I was hooked and have been operating almost exclusively in this field ever since.

Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?

My parents are both engineers and always influenced me to join the field. But my brother is probably the person that encouraged me to chase that exploration spark.

What element of your work/study do you think is the most fascinating?

The most fascinating aspect of deep sea exploration is just that - exploration. NOT knowing what we'll see on every dive is the most exciting part!

How did you get involved with the Ocean Exploration Trust?

I am joining the OET team after many years on similar projects with other ROV groups.

What other jobs led you to your current career?

Before becoming a full time robotics engineer and focusing on deep sea exploration, I worked for three years as a Naval Architect for the Navy. During this time, I was fortunate enough to work a rotation with the salvage and sub rescue team for the Naval Sea Systems Command. This experience with the Navy's ROV and deep water assets accelerated my desire to work full time in the deep sea exploration field.

What are your degrees and certifications?

Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering, Bachelor of Science in Ocean Engineering, minor in Mathematics

What are your hobbies?

Backpacking, snorkeling, scuba diving, and fishing.

What advice would you give someone who wants to have a career likes yours?

If you want to go into a field relevant to ROV Engineering, start with focusing on math and science. Join clubs at school and start building and operating ROVs or AUVs as soon as you can. Figure out what you enjoy the most about the process and attempt to focus on that moving forward. There are so many aspects to a successful ROV operation - mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, ocean engineering, physics, data engineering, video engineering, etc. Not to mention the myriad of scientists involved! There are plenty of fields that can get you here!


Christopher participated in the following Ocean Exploration Trust expeditions: