My life in journalism began in Sept. of 1985 while working in the Tribune's photo lab. I believe it was September 2 in that year when an editor ran into the photo room yelling that Bayshore Blvd. was underwater and a photographer was needed immediately. With no staff photographers around, I grabbed my camera and headed over to the Davis Island Bridge. I came back with compelling story-telling images that ran on the paper's 1-A (front page). Those pictures earned me a spot on the paper's staff in Spring Hill where after my first year out, I won 8 of the 12 in-house monthly news clip contests and was named Photographer of the Year 1986.
In March 1993, while living in Hernando County's Pine Island, I saved my roommate from drowning during the No-Name Storm. Rather than going to the evacuation center after being airlifted out by the US Coast Guard, I opted to write a first-person account of the near-death experience, which later in 2003 became the storyline for The Weather Channel's 'Storm Stories' mini-documentary. It was the first time I was ever on the opposite side of the camera.
In 1996, I was shifted to Pasco county covering the many communities there. My work earned me numerous Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Press Club and TBABJ's Griot Drum awards. I also served as vice-president of the short-lived Florida News Photographer's Association.
In 1999 I took on the duties of president, newsletter editor and contest coordinator for the Florida Press Club. I was named the club's most effective officer in some 50 years taking the club from 240 members to over 650 members statewide until 2003 when I stepped down.
During those years I pursued professional development and attended 5-day seminars at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg. I also attended seminars at the Palm Beach Photographic Workshops.
In 2010, I was again shifted into Tampa where I worked at the NewsCenter and became part of the converged newsroom of the Tampa Tribune and WFLA's NewsChannel 8. Working as a videographer was a blast. It was the first time my pictures were talking back to me and working with the likes of Rod Carter, Leigh Spann and Gail Guyardo was the experience of a lifetime. Not to mention all the incredible people who worked there and all those I met behind the video camera.
But in 2011, Media General Operations, the parent company of the Tribune and NewsChannel 8 instituted a reduction of staff members and my position with nearly 200 other co-workers lost our jobs when the company eliminated our positions.
In January of 2012 I began testing the waters of freelancing which brought me to the good folks at Patch.com where they've given me the opportunity to occasionally write and shoot pictures for their community Websites.
I'm glad to be here. I hope to serve the readers here the way I did for the thousands upon thousands of readers of the Tribune and TV viewers of Channel 8 of the past.