I was born in northern California, and through my elementary years, was land-locked but active in nature exploration of the Sierra Mountains. My parents were both clinical scientists turned college professors, and had me hypothesizing about my encounters with nature early on. Except for the occasional family beach trip, I was primarily exposed to water through competitive swimming. I was first exposed to scuba diving at the age of 11, when my parents decided to spend our entire summer on Catalina Island working for a rustic fellowship camp. I was too young to get certified in SCUBA that summer, so I sought a freediving certification until the next summer when I was certified. I spent the next five summers at that camp, living feet from the beautiful Pacific Ocean, immersing myself in the environment and analyzing the ecosystem.
Currently, I have been a police officer in Orange County for 5 years. From the high-paced and exciting profession, I have taken away many lessons. The structure, leadership, small team operations, and safety culture has influenced my diving greatly. Understanding the danger involved in diving, and more specifically, project-oriented diving like ghost gear removal, is a critical part of the process. I find many parallels in our project dives to my career such as creating dive plans and specific objectives, similar to our tactical briefs in Law Enforcement.
Since birth, my home environment has been very educational. Being a child of two biology professors had many benefits: much of my scientific education came from home and endurocations (the Fulks family version of a vacation); lessons came in the form of hands on study in the field. My passion for science continued into my academic years, where I studied Chemistry and Criminal Justice at California Lutheran University. Understanding the biological and chemical sciences behind what I observe underwater allows me to enjoy and to take action appropriately in the environment.
My involvement with ODA began in the early months of 2011. I was addicted from the first dive when we accomplished a 400-pound net recovery. I have been able to explore and protect many areas that are not commonly dived in such as near shore reefs in addition to some of the most loved dive sites like Coronado Islands near San Diego. Nearly every ODA mission I have sailed on has been successful, creating new memories and healing broken reefs.
I have an ongoing focus on educating myself to the environment and needs of the ecosystem that is my backyard. Though I have many hobbies (hiking, cycling, swimming, etc) diving has the largest part of my heart. My free time is facilitated by a modified shift work schedule that exists in law enforcement and is necessary to escape the constant stress of the profession. Spending free time with my growing family of wife, son, and another son on the way, I stay active and outside to give my sons the same appreciation for Earth that I have. Luckily, I’m not alone. My brother Trevor is my dive team partner and fellow videographer. In addition, my parents and sister who also dive.
ODA is a much-needed presence in a void of government programs and agencies. I was immediately hooked on this effective organization that understood my values and has an appreciation for what individual skills people can bring to the team. I found this a perfect outlet for my team-based and project-oriented diving education and skills. I have found that my underwater video and diving skills can be an asset to the organization.