Third Rock Consultants
As a kid I never remember telling anyone I wanted to be a "consultant" when I grew up. Instead, after graduating with degrees in English and philosophy, I set out to be an attorney and had the good fortune to get a job where I had the opportunity to work with Lloyd Cress, Carolyn Brown, and other highly respected environmental attorneys. After five years I made the move to consulting where I took the leep and started Third Rock in 2001.
My first involvement with environmental issues was in college when I joined a group of students to celebrate the very first Earth Day and carry “Save the Gorge” signs. We wore black arm bands to protest the Corps of Engineers’ plan to construct a dam in Powell County that would have inundated the Red River Gorge. Little did I know that interest would evolve into a 35+ year career as a Professional Geologist.
If you look at my high school yearbook, you'll find where I wrote "I will develop an understanding of our world’s environment to allow me to make it a better place to live.” Even though I wasn't very serious about much, I took that goal to heart and ended up at UK pursuing a degree in geology. Many years later, I've spent my career doing just that as a Professional Geologist and consultant.
Growing up in Southeastern Kentucky, I was surrounded by water – wading creeks, floating down the river, and fishing at the lake. It was natural for me to want to protect my environment for my nieces and nephews so I could enjoy it with them. Prior to joining Third Rock, I worked for the Kentucky Division of Water for 20 years and ended my tenure as MS4 Program Manager for the state.
As the son of a mechanic, I grew up tinkering with electronics, small engines, and anything else that needed “figuring out.” For the lessons that my father couldn’t teach me, I relied heavily on MacGyver. I knew at an early age that I wanted to be an engineer, while at UK I took a stream restoration class and all the stars lined up. I've since replaced my duct tape and Swiss army knife with AutoCAD and engineering scales, but couldn't be happier.
Growing up in central Kentucky, my exposure to nature came from family camping trips and fishing in streams and lakes throughout the state. Much of my childhood was spent exploring the woods and stream adjacent to my childhood home, trying to catch fish and identify the birds that made their homes in our woods. I still spend a lot of my time in streams and woods, but now I am lucky enough to get paid for it.
A desire to be outside as much as possible, observing nature, is the primary reason I find satisfaction with a career in environmental consulting, and why I chose to study Wildlife Management at Eastern Kentucky University. Working with wetlands, streams, and endangered species, I’ve had the opportunity to travel throughout Kentucky and surrounding states, experiencing a wide variety of aquatic and terrestrial species.
Most of my adult life can be summarized by three pursuits: biology, travel and photography. As luck would have it, these passions have been synergistic - one driving another. As a young man, my interest in biology pushed me towards both travel and photography; travel as a means to discover more in the vast biological world around me and photography as a means to record my adventures.
When I was trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up, I had big ideas and a small budget. I always wanted to work outside and not have a desk job. I went into natural resource conservation and management intending to save the world, but from what I wasn’t sure. While in college I developed a fondness for maps of all sorts. That, along with my love for all things nature, collided in college and landed me in a career as a GIS analyst.
Just as many others who work in this field, I spent my childhood playing in the outdoors. The childhood love of playing in the woods or in the creek grew into a hobby of hunting, fishing and camping. That same love for all things outdoors pushed me to pursue a degree in which I could spend my working career in the setting in which I spend my free time as well.
As a child, my brother and I would spend our summers catching frogs, snakes, “crawdads” and turtles from the creek near our home. Twenty-something years later, I’m still at it. Now the streams where I can be found are throughout Kentucky and the eastern United States. The “crawdads” are crayfish and I’ve expanded my “catching” (aka surveying) abilities to include bats, fish, and wetlands.
As soon as I was old enough walk, my dad had me out in rivers and streams helping with mussel and fish surveys. I've always loved being outside and learning about nature. Over 20 years later, I'm a 2017 University of Kentucky graduate in Natural Resources and Environmental Science and find myself doing the same things I was back then. I'm beyond blessed to be able to do what I love, and what I learned at such a young age, with Third Rock.
In 2012 I went on a 10-day trip to Ontario where we fished, canoed, and camped away from civilization. The pristine beauty and health of the Boundary Waters made me realize just how poor some of the streams were back home in Eastern Kentucky and spawned my passion for stewardship. Fast forward several years and I've earned a civil engineering degree from UK and am doing what I can to improve Kentucky streams.
Being raised on a cattle farm meant always being outdoors either working, fishing, or just walking through the woods. I have a deep respect for the farming lifestyle, but have seen firsthand some of the harmful effects of farming operations not properly managed. My passion for nature and farmland led me to pursue a degree in Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering at U.K. and a position at Third Rock where I can put my degree to good use.
I’ve been a lover of books since an early age, so no one was surprised when I ended up in law school. After earning a law degree in 2007, I joined the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy as a staff attorney, providing legal representation to indigent clients, including children and teens. My passion for public interest law and my concern for the environment brought me to the Third Rock team.
In 1989 I started in the consulting business working at Commonwealth Technology Inc. In 2001 I joined Third Rock where I wear many hats from field sampling to serving as Laboratory Manager. Over the years, I’ve learned about as much as anyone could ever want to know about macroinvertebrates. When I’m not here, I spend my time at home with my best friend (to whom I've been married since 1981).
Before coming to Third Rock, I was in the banking business but never really liked what I was doing, it was just a way to get the bills paid. When I decided in my 50’s to make a career change and start here at Third Rock, I had no idea what it was like to enjoy coming to work, or having people to work with who truly care about each other as a family. Working in a small firm like Third Rock, I have learned so much.