Driven to making progress

My family moved a lot when I was a kid due to the nature of my father's work, and as a result I was lucky enough to live in such towns as Tarcoola, Cummins, Kimba and Lock. In those days there were still dinosaurs.

Lock Area School could not provide year 11 or 12 so I completed school at Cleve Area School where we still hold the interschool record for the senior boys footy relay, ha ha! When I left school I was invited to be an apprentice butcher in Lock.

I enjoyed the work, however the big city was calling and for the next few years I lived in Adelaide and Cleve. I finished my apprenticeship in Adelaide with an Italian gourmet butcher from Magill. They had a ferocious work ethic and worked very long hours and often.

After seven years of butchering I took a sabbatical and generally fluffed around and did some work in retail stores. In 2002 I met a lovely Croatian girl named Jelena who did not want anything to do with me, fair enough too. So we started dating.

Towards the end of 2002 I spoke to a friend who had won a position as an occupational therapist in Port Lincoln and she asked if I would move here with her to help pay rent (and surf together). In November that year I drove to Port Lincoln and coincidentally, Jelena drove over the exact same day to begin her teaching career.

I continued working in retail in Port Lincoln until deciding I wanted to be involved with the fishing industry. I secured work on a sardine boat with Jelena's dad and brother, Tome. We fished for pilchards and tuna for a few years and this is where I was first exposed to the idea of becoming a diver.

I was nearly 21 (again) and decided to utilise some of my experiences to pursue a career as a fisheries officer.

We were fortunate to travel to Croatia for a month in 2004. In 2006 I started catching tuna in the harvest period and I really enjoyed it. Being in the water was very physical work and that did not bother me. Later that year I started my career as a diver, completing my training as an occupational diver to 30 metres.

For the next 12 years I worked as a diver, mostly in the Port Lincoln tuna industry. I was always driven to progress myself and continued to study. I gained certificates for Occupational Diving to 50 metres, Atmospheric Diving System Pilot, Diver Medical Technician, Diploma of Management and completed an apprenticeship in Engineering-Welding (whilst being a diver ). I have been a busy fellow.

Jelena and I got engaged in 2006 and had a wonderful wedding in the Whitsundays in 2007. We had our first child Richie in 2009, and his sister Nina was born in 2011. We love living in Port Lincoln with our dog Ralphy, cat Ninja, fish Sushi and Turtle Master Oogway.

In 2017 I considered my future as a diver. I was nearly 21 (again) and decided to utilise some of my experiences to pursue a career as a fisheries officer. I was over the moon to start work in Port Lincoln as a fisheries officer in January 2019. I have always been interested in the arts and have enjoyed writing and performing music.

Since I was little I was always drawn to drawing. More recently I have been painting and will be the Artist of the Month in the Nautilus Theatre foyer in Port Lincoln for the month of February. Our family loves spending days at the beach and when possible, I enjoy gardening, cooking, reading, exercising and listening to music.