Let me get this out in the open: I've never been what you'd call a "morning person" -- I've hit the snooze button on my alarm clock so often, it's been polished to a lovely shine.
But I love being a part of 10 News This Morning! Our viewers are fantastic and great to connect with, our team is outstanding and fun, and the stories I get to cover are always interesting.
My alarm clock goes off at 2:30 in the morning, though -- so there are a few drawbacks.
I grew up over on Florida's Space Coast, so when it comes to anything involving science fiction or space exploration, I'm interested. As a news reporter, I've managed to live something of a dream -- so many opportunities have come my way, and I've worked hard to take advantage of all of them and share great stories with anyone who'll listen.
I've also spent much of my career as a military affairs reporter, telling the stories of the men and women who serve our country and the families who support them. I've filed stories from the Atlantic Ocean during the final voyage of the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy, and I've reported from Coast Guard helicopters, Air Force launch pads, Marine Corps barracks, Army homecoming parties, and Navy ships and submarines.
I think I first saw Tampa Bay onboard a school bus. We visited MOSI on field tips as a kid. Dad drove me over for Bucs games at the Big Sombrero. My buddies and I piled into the car to see the Rays play during their inaugural season at the Trop. I was so good at convincing my parents and friends to visit the Tampa Bay area over the years, it felt like a second home.
Finally, the Gulf Coast became home for me a few years ago, when I moved to Sarasota. Now, after heading up to Jacksonville for three years, I'm back by the Bay as a multi-media journalist for 10 News This Morning.
I got my start as a high school intern with a TV station in Orlando before attending the University of Florida. After graduating from UF, I began reporting in Orlando, covering my hometown, including the space program. On a cold February morning in 2003, I was at the Kennedy Space Center's runway to cover the landing of Space Shuttle Columbia, when the shuttle broke apart over Texas. I never thought my first appearance on CNN would be for such an awful thing that hit so close to home.
I later moved south to Sarasota, where I leaned against the winds of all four of Florida's 2004 hurricanes (including Charley, which devastated our viewing area; Ivan, which smashed my father-in-law's house; and Jeanne, which ripped apart my parents' roof -- if you don't take this hurricane stuff seriously, e-mail me, and I'll tell you why you should!) Reporting on the party outside the St. Pete Times Forum was an unreal way to experience the Lightning's Stanley Cup championship, and the nationwide story of the videotaped abduction of 11-year-old Carlie Brucia in Sarasota consumed our whole community for what seemed like an eternity.
At First Coast News, 10 News' sister station in Jacksonville, I got a healthy dose of Gator sports championships, covered the city's struggle to break out of a pattern of violent crime, and took on the challenge of spending a day in the work boots of viewers as I tried my hand at their daily work in a series of stories called "Do My Job!"
The team at 10 News has a reputation around the state as a group of award-winning journalists. I'm fortunate to have been honored with several awards during my career. This is the part where the boss tells me I'm supposed to brag, so here goes. My work has been recognized with twenty individual and team awards from the Florida Associated Press, along with a national Edward R. Murrow Award, two regional Emmy Awards, a regional Murrow Award, and a national Bronze Telly Award.
When I'm not waking up well before dawn to bring you the news (or after a long afternoon nap), you may run into me at a Rays, Lightning, or Bucs game, or you could catch me making a trip to Gainesville to watch the Gators play. When it comes to my favorite ways to pass a day, watch for me roaming a museum, aquarium, zoo, or theme park.
I'm a proud Eagle Scout, and in the past, I've served as a counselor for the Journalism merit badge.
Thankfully, my TV experience also prepared me for what I still consider the most important story of my life: my family -- specifically, the start of my family. With a spotlight shining, a microphone in hand, and a crowd of 40,000 people looking down from the stands, I proposed to my wife Cathy during the huge Gator Growl pep rally at the University of Florida, while standing on the 50 yard line at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. She said "yes" and we're now married, living with our two awesome dogs, Abby and June.