michael labriola headshot

Michael Labriola

He / Him
Data Engineer
Data Engineer
Ocean Exploration Trust

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

My primary role with OET is to travel on the Nautilus and ensure that all the onboard computer equipment related to capturing, processing, and transferring scientific data continues to operate properly while underway.

What sparked your initial interest in your career?

I've always loved to take things apart, fix things, and build things. My formal schooling concentrated mostly in the software realm, but my interests in all things mechanical kept me learning more than just how to write software. I moved to RI after college and have been in love with boats and the ocean ever since.

Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?

My parents and grandparents taught me to work hard, care for others, and love life. Pretty much all of the successes of my adult life can be traced back to that. That and a healthy dose of "make it happen".

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

Seriously? I get to go to sea on the Nautilus. The whole thing is off the charts exciting.

What other jobs led you to your current career?

I got hired by Electric Boat right out of college to design and maintain simulation equipment for testing VIRGINIA Class submarines. I worked there for almost 17 years as a software/systems engineer, lab and network administrator, operating system developer, project lead, mentor, and all-around "answer guy". I had the opportunity to learn all about OHIO, SEAWOLF, LOS ANGELES, and the latest COLUMBIA class boats over that span. I loved every second in the shipyards and labs around the country I had the opportunity to work in. I even got to go out to sea on the USS OHIO at one point, which is definitely a conversation starter. 

What are your degrees and certifications?

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science - Clarkson University 2002

What are your hobbies?

Winemaking, boat building, auto mechanics, home improvement, fly fishing, and collecting more hobbies.

How did you get involved with the Nautilus Exploration Program?

I toured the RV Endeavor at the University of Rhode Island with my wife and kids, saw first hand how cool surface ships could be, and lamented that missed career path. Six months later, a friend pointed me towards OET's webpage with a gentle suggestion that perhaps I should send them a resume. A little extra nudge from my wife, and now I'm making it happen!

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

Make it happen. Learn everything you can. Soak up everything around you. Master the art of teaching yourself things, and recognizing hard work as an opportunity to hone your skills.