Adam Bigalk-Project Leader


I grew up in southeastern Minnesota. After graduating from high school I enlisted in the USNavy.  I served six years in the US Navy.  I was a Nuclear Machinist’s Mate and Engineering Laboratory Technician.  I graduated from Naval Nuclear Power School in Charleston, SC.  I qualified as a nuclear plant operator at the S8G prototype reactor in Ballston Spa, NY.  I served onboard the USS Alaska a ballistic missile submarine for 4 years.   The submarine was stationed at Bangor Submarine base in Silverdale, WA for my first 3 years.  The final year the USS Alaska went to Norfolk Naval Shipyard for a nuclear refuel.  This final year I served as the Leading Petty Officer for Reactor Laboratories Division.

 After completing my time in the Navy I realized I wanted to find a career where I worked outdoors.  I went back to school and finished a B.S. in Ecology from Minnesota State University.  After graduation I was searching for a job in the conservation field.  During my job search I received an e-mail about the Veterans Fire Corps.  This sounded like a perfect job for me.  I was a Corps Member on the first Student Conservation Association’s Veterans Fire Corps.  My crew worked on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in eastern Arizona.  We assisted in prescribed burns, fuel mitigation projects, wildlife projects, and timber stand improvement projects.  We also cut hazard trees that were left after the Wallow Fire, the largest wildfire in Arizona history.  I enjoyed the time I spent on the Veterans Fire Crew.  I decided to pursue a job as a wildland firefighter.  The Veterans Fire Corps provided me with the training and work experience to get hired as a seasonal firefighter.  I was hired to work on a Type 6 engine on the Chippewa National Forest in northern Minnesota.  After I completed my first season with the US Forest Service I returned to the Student Conservation Association as a Project Leader.  I lead a Veterans Fire Crew on the Prescott National Forest in Arizona.  I also work on a Type 6 enigine module for the National Park Service during the winter on the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.  I am currently a seasonal firefighter on the Mormon Lake Hotshots in Flagstaff, AZ.  I am looking forward to being the Project Leader again for another Veterans Fire Crew.