Tell us about your work/ research. What kinds of things do you do?
On the Nautilus I serve as a Data Engineer, looking after the data systems and maintaining the satellite internet connection. I specialize in science data systems and vessel electronics, helping ensure that the data we collect out at sea is of high quality and ensuring we don’t lose a single byte of information.
What sparked your initial interest in your career?
I grew up in coastal New England, and have always been interested in the oceans. From an early age, I wanted to be out on the water, and as my career has progressed, I’ve always sought opportunities that would take me to sea. I was lucky in my early career to work for the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, where I was able to merge my passion for all things oceanographic with my forte in technology and have pursued those kinds of jobs ever since.
Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?
My Mom and Dad have always been steadfast. As a child, they got me many many books on sharks, and I was always fascinated with all kinds of marine life. My parents encouraged my interest in the oceans, and with their support, I’ve managed to find a fulfilling career doing something I really enjoy.
What element of your work/ study do you think is the most fascinating?
I’m always in awe of the ability for us to be in the middle of the ocean and host live interactions with classroom students all over the world. When you think about the explorers of just 100 years ago, who had to wait perhaps YEARS for a response to a written letter that may or may not reach its recipient, it really makes you appreciate the amazing connectivity that we enjoy at sea.
What other jobs led you to your current career?
I’ve had a bit of a meandering career. I started out in purely IT, but throughout my university years, I worked on an assistance towing vessel and as an assistant harbormaster in my hometown. I was with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries for a number of years, acting as both IT guy and boat captain. I got an opportunity to work in Antarctica on a research vessel icebreaker, and I’ve been supporting great projects at sea ever since!
What are your degrees and certifications?
Bachelor of Science in Information Systems - Worcester Polytechnic Institute. SCUBA Search and Rescue Diver, FAA Part 107 UAS Pilot
What are your hobbies?
Of course, I love anything on, in, under or around the sea and try to get as much beach time in as possible. I also enjoy spending my free time on long-duration bicycle rides, and taking road trips with my partner. I like to take life at low velocity, enjoying the scenery instead of speeding by it. I also enjoy flying UAVs and drone photography.
What advice would you give someone who wants to have a career like yours?
I’d suggest that one should never settle for a job that they hate. Right out of college I was hired to do IT-type work for a big bank, but I really didn't enjoy it. So I quit and took a pay cut to instead drive boats around. After that I was much more focused on the types of jobs I applied for and was lucky enough to find work that interested me. Having a broad background in both IT and electronics is a good start towards working on computers at sea - you never know what will come up!
How did you get involved with Ocean Exploration Trust? How did you become part of the expedition team?
I had worked with folks from the University of Rhode Island previously and had really positive experiences. OET was brought to my attention and I found myself onboard Nautilus!