began his Grand Canyon career as a Hydrologic Technician for the U.S. Geological Survey in 1990. During the Glen Canyon Environmental Study from 1992 to 1996, he worked as a Hydrologist on sediment transport and other projects in the Canyon. He became a Grand Canyon river guide in 1993 and started working full seasons, April through October, in 1996.
Sam has come to know the twists and turns of the Colorado River, and its beaches and side canyons, very well. He has also spent a part of each summer guiding on wilderness rivers in Alaska, and has boated a variety of rivers in Washington, Idaho, California and Arizona. Sam is a past president and board member of Grand Canyon River Guides, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the Grand Canyon and helping people have the best possible river experience. Sam has filled the off-river seasons with work as a computer programmer, database developer, and ski patroller.
He graduated from the Zaki Gordon Institute for Independent Filmmaking in 2006 and is currently a documentary filmmaker specializing in movies that explore the spaces where the natural world meets human history and politics. Sam studied Creative Writing and Geology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Arizona, and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Geosciences from the University of Arizona.