Zach Gonzalez

Zach Gonzalez

Atalanta Pilot
ROV Pilot

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

My main field of work is technical ROV work, specifically mechanical tasks. I have worked on a few different systems but mainly on the industrial work-class Oceaneering ROV systems Millennium and Magnum. I have also done work on similar XLX and XLS systems.  This work has allowed me to travel quite a bit, however, I'm still searching for a "home" crew that I feel like I truly fit in with. Aside from that, my main bread and butter when I'm not on a ship offshore is plumbing work, and have been doing it since I was in jr. high.

What sparked your initial interest in your career?

My actual point of interest was actually seeing the Nautilus for the first time live streaming online and reading about the research back in 2010. My family always tried to shy me away from doing marine biology or anything in that sense so I went with the next best thing. My career plan led me to get into ROV work through the industrial oil and gas side first and then hopefully pivot that to get onto a research vessel. Never had I thought I'd be able to actually get on the Nautilus myself, so it's a dream come true!

Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?

Honestly, it was the author Greig Beck. His thrillers and action-adventure stories are inspired by the stories from Jules Verne and Conan Doyle generations before. I was very inspired by the thought of exploration and adventure. Though the reality of it may not be as crazy as those stories, it's the fact that I was trying to get on the path that was what drove me the most.

How did you get involved with Ocean Exploration Trust and become part of the expedition team?

I applied for a contract position and other positions they have opened throughout the years. I figured why not, the worst they could say is no, right?

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

The most amazing thing about it is being able to see deep-sea life. Not a lot of people are able to say "Yeah, I've seen some coral or this particular animal that hasn't been seen in forever or by human eyes". I love that so many more people can see this through the live streams now. 

What other jobs led you to your current career?

At the start of my career, I took a shot in the dark to get on the Oceaneering ROV division and was hired when they did a mass hiring.

What are your degrees and certifications?

I'm working on a bachelor of science in marine biology but had to put it on hold because of work and losing inspiration to continue but, I think I found it anew.

What are your hobbies?

Above all else, surfing when the waves are right in the Gulf of Mexico on the Texas side!

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

Just keep going! It doesn't matter if it's my career or the one you picked. Just never give up on it because one day you just might luck out and all the hard work and time will pay off.

It's truly a dream come true to step foot on this vessel!


Zach participated in the following Ocean Exploration Trust expeditions: