A 1979 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Parks has qualified as both a submariner and naval flight officer. After retiring from the Navy, Commander Stephenson joined the defence contracting industry -- first with Hughes Aircraft, then Raytheon, then Lockheed Martin -- building combat systems for naval ships and, more recently, integrated command-and-control systems for national defence. Parks was employed in 2001 by filmmaker James Cameron as a technical advisor for his documentary, "Ghosts of the Abyss." Parks also contributed text and computer-generated 3D models to the film's companion book. Cameron brought him back in 2005 for the Discovery Channel/Earthship Productions-sponsored Last Mysteries of the Titanic expedition, where Parks fine-tuned the use of CG models as forensic tools in the continuing exploration of the wreck's interior. He's also been a technical/historical advisor for both the History Channel and National Geographic Channel. Parks dove to the Titanic wreck in 2005, participated as part of the Lone Wolf Documentary Group expedition crew during the 2006 and 2009 expeditions to the Britannic wreck, and was field producer for History during the 2010 RMST/WHOI Titanic Expedition. Lone Wolf featured Parks as the lead investigator in the 2009 PBS/NOVA documentary, "Killer Subs in Pearl Harbor," where he led the U.S.-Japanese team that found and identified the final Japanese midget submarine that participated in the Pearl Harbor attack.
Parks has a special interest in historical research and forensic re-construction, specialising in military and maritime areas where he can apply his personal experience. In addition to a Bachelor of Science degree in Naval Science from the U.S. Naval Academy, Parks holds a Masters in Political Science degree from Auburn University. Parks is married to Tamara and has two children.