Employee Spotlight: Hank the Scuba Diver

Amy Hou  |  February 22, 2018   |  Urjanet News  


This month on our employee spotlight, we’re telling the story of Hank the scuba diver. Hank Caughman, director of U.S. development at Urjanet, started volunteering at the Georgia Aquarium in 2011 to join in with his daughters’ aquatic interests.

Diving In

Hank first started getting involved in underwater pursuits when he attended a scuba diving certification course with his two daughters. Both of his kids were interested in diving. One wanted to pursue a degree in marine biology, so he wanted a way to learn more about the marine world and be a resource for them in the future. That’s what inspired him to start volunteering at Georgia Aquarium.

Although his initial motivation was to help his daughters, Hank quickly discovered how much fun he was having on his own. He applied and was accepted into the scuba dive volunteer program for certified divers, a natural fit. From there, it was a simple and serendipitous progression to joining the beluga team.

Photo of Hank and daughters diving for employee spotlight

Underwater maintenance, Hank’s primary job as a volunteer, isn’t exactly glamorous. He and his teammates clean the acrylic. They scrub algae off of rocks. They feed the fish. But over time, as he frequently dove in the beluga exhibit, got to know the associated employees, and built a relationship with them, he was invited to the beluga team as well. Now he participates in “desensitization dives,” or dives that help animals get used to scuba divers for maintenance, safety, and other activities.  

Breaking Down Barriers

By now, Hank has spent a total of 2,000 hours volunteering at the Aquarium, and every day is as exciting as the first.

“When you’re in the water as a scuba diver, it breaks down barriers…It’s a raw, fearless interaction.”

“When you’re in the water as a scuba diver, there’s something fascinating about it. It breaks down barriers. Normally, when you meet someone for the first time, there’s all this anxiety and distance. But when you’re in the water, and visitors are on the other side of the acrylic, everyone’s having a great time. Kids are waving and signaling at you. It’s a raw, fearless interaction. And for some reason, the work is hard, but it doesn’t feel like work when you’re doing it there.”

Stay tuned for next month’s employee spotlight! If you’re interested in volunteer opportunities at the Georgia Aquarium, you can apply online. To learn more about our team, visit our Careers page.

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About Amy Hou

Amy Hou is a Marketing Manager at Urjanet, overseeing content and communications. She enjoys writing about the latest industry updates in sustainability, energy efficiency, and data innovation.

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