Meet the NorCal MUFON Team

Northern California's Director/STAR Team, Ruben Uriarte

Ruben Jose Uriarte graduated from Cal State University at Hayward with a B.A. degree in Psychology and Latin American Studies and has taken M.A. courses in Public Administration. He has been a member of MUFON (Mutual UFO Network) as a Field Investigator, State Director for Northern California, and Deputy Director of Investigations/International Affairs. Ruben Uriarte has been involved with a large network of research organizations. He had served as a state coordinator for Crop Circle Phenomena Research International. He was also a former research director for Beyond Boundaries, a company specializing in taking tour groups to various UFO "hotspots" around the world. He also serves as a board member for OPUS(Organization for Paranormal and Support Understanding). Ruben has been interviewed on many local and national radio shows and television documentaries on the subject of the UFO Phenomenon, such as the Discovery Channel's "UFOs Over Earth", The Learning Channel, and the History Channel's "UFO FILES", "UFO HUNTERS" and "ANCIENT ALIENS". Ruben has been co-authoring a series of books with Noe Torres about major UFO crashes that have occurred along the border of the Southwestern United States, Mexico, and other historical cases. Their books include, “Mexico's Roswell - The Chihuahua UFO Crash”, “The Other Roswell – UFO Crash on the Texas-Mexico Border” and their recent book, "Aliens in the Forest - The Cisco Grove UFO Encounter". Please see their website: You can contact Ruben at

Assistant Director, Dev Rugne

Dev has over 45 years of UFO research and independent investigative experience. She became interested in UFOs at an early age and has had many UFO sightings. Her main interest has been the abduction phenomenon with a high interest in actual crafts being seen. In 1977, after talking with Betty Hill, she pursued her quest to become a UFO investigator and researcher. Dev joined MUFON in the mid 80’s, attending the Northern California meetings. After a hiatus with MUFON (but still independently researching and investigating UFOs), she concentrated on her career until she moved to Oregon in 2007. In January of 2008, she rejoined MUFON and became the Oregon MUFON Chief Investigator. In April of 2009, MUFON International launched the Star Impact Project (SIP), Dev was hired to conduct SIP investigations for Oregon MUFON. She was also hired for the SIP Dispatch Operator position, monitoring MUFON’s database for incoming sighting reports that met the criteria for rapid deployment. Moving back to Northern California in early 2010, she became a Section State Director for seven counties, then became the Chief Investigator later that year. Dev is now the Assistant State Director, and she's on the STAR team. She has spoken at several chapter meetings and conferences on completed cases. Dev has also been on a few UFO related radio shows, podcasts and a couple of TV shows. She has given Field Investigator training classes with Ruben and she continues to assist the Nor Cal Field Investigators.

Chief Investigator, Jerry Gerow

Jerry was born in California, grew up in Ohio, then back to California for the last 20 years. He came from a Pilot family, they all flew. He says, "Maybe this is one of the driving forces behind my passionate interest in all things flying." His background includes stints in The Army Reserve as an Officer, Hughes ARCRFT, Sheriff’s Deputy, Construction Company General Manager, and multiple UPS Store owners. He has never had a sighting but has discussed sightings with other pilots including one who flew an SR71 Blackbird. The pilot said that the SR71 was no match for what he had encountered. Jerry has been attending UFO meetings in the Sacramento Area for 12 years. He has always been interested in UFOs and who or what is flying them. He has never questioned their existence, he just always seemed to believe. One and a half years ago Jerry ran into a persistent MUFON Investigator who convinced him to sign up and start investigating. After over 100 cases investigated, Jerry is officially convinced of their existence. And, as an ex-military man and Police Officer, that is quite a statement. He now finds himself excited about the next case assignment. An exciting thrust into the unknown!

Field Investigator, Nancy C. Felipe

Nancy C. Felipe has lived in Fremont California for 37 years. She has been interested in "what is beyond Earth" since childhood. She had a "sighting" with her Grandmother when she was a child between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. Nancy found out years later that her sister had a sighting as well. Around 1998, she learned about MUFON (The Mutual UFO Network) and Opus (Organization for Paranormal Understanding and Support) at a Remote Viewing class and it stirred up her curiosity. Nancy did not attend any meetings until around 2002 while living in Orange County. She moved back to Northern California in 2005 and started to attend the MUFON San Jose meetings, and became a MUFON member. Nancy went to as many MUFON meetings and UFO Symposiums as possible but was not satisfied with just observing. She wanted to get involved, so she attended the 2008 MUFON Symposium and took the Field Investigator class. She became a Field Investigator in 2009 and was promoted to State Section Director in 2014. She claims, "It has been an interesting and enjoyable journey, and I'm looking forward to many more years investigating! The Truth Is Out There!"

Field Investigator, Valerie Benko

Valerie Benko is originally from Laramie WY but moved to Rocklin CA in 1998, where she resides today. Valerie is a Support Group Leader for the Alpha-1 Foundation. Valerie decided to become a field investigator for MUFON because, on July 20, 2015, her son, Grandson, and herself witnessed a star-like object (orb) flashing colors in the distant sky, which seemed to be out of place. Valerie suggested they should walk out to the main street in order to get a better view. Valerie’s grandson spotted a very bright light in the sky separate from the orb. In the blink of an eye, a triangular-shaped craft with 3 bright white lights and a red one in the middle, was hovering over them. Not only was this craft gigantic, but it was also completely silent. When they looked away from it, the craft disappeared in a blink of an eye. Valerie has never seen anything like it before, and being a skeptic she wanted to learn more. So she is on a mission to search for the truth, whatever it might be, she keeps an open mind and is always open to learning new things. She joined MUFON to learn more about the UFO phenomenon, as well as educate herself on what is possible in this giant universe.

Field Investigator, Hady Felfly

Since Hady was a child, he was always attracted to outer space, the unexplained, and the metaphysical. He has a lot of interest in ancient civilizations and considers that a major portion of our ancient history is still unknown to us. My curiosity made me realize that a vast universe must have a lot of exciting new things to discover, learn, and interact with. His interest in Astronomy and Astrobiology grew into an interest in UFOs.Some of his major interests include research about the forces of nature and energy fields, ancient structures and pyramids including underwater structures, crop circles, dreams, astral travel, telepathy, telekinesis, the afterlife, and others. Working as a Field Investigator has given him this opportunity to interact in real-time with various events which allows him to contribute to providing some answers to interesting topics. He can be reached at

Field Investigator, Rick Eno

Richard “Rick” Eno’s love of aviation sparked his interest in the UFO phenomenon. His original interest in the “nuts & bolt” craft has matured to understand that these phenomena have many layers and share commonalities with other paranormal sightings, activities, and areas. He is a guest co-host and show reporter on the radio program “Behind the Paranormal” with Paul & Ben Eno. He holds a BS degree in Zoology from the University of Massachusetts, an MPH in Infectious Disease Epidemiology from the Yale School of Medicine, and joined MUFON’s Field Investigator Team in 2019.

Field Investigator, Tammy Kornelis

Tammy is a native of California and has lived most of her life in the Foothills of Northern California. Living in the Foothills with very low light pollution helped to inspire her love of space and science in general. Having seen many unidentifiable objects throughout her life, from low-flying crafts with bright lights, to objects with many colored lights zooming around interchangeably, and watching them move in ways that currently defy physics has greatly intrigued her and sparked a lifelong interest in this phenomenon. Tammy has no doubt that there are things that science can not currently explain, but through observation understands that there is a whole world of the “unexplained” ready to be discovered and is excited to be on the cutting edge of what can be called “disclosure”. Tammy comes from a background in Science and Engineering. She has a Bachelor's in Environmental Studies with a Minor in Geology, a Master's in Education with an emphasis on Curriculum and Instruction, and teaching credentials in Multiple Subjects as well as General Science. She has also obtained training in many different STEM courses. Tammy worked as an Environmental Scientist for many years before deciding to become a Science and STEM teacher. She became a MUFON Member in 2021 and began attending her local meetings. Loving the meetings, she knew she wanted to become a Field Investigator for MUFON. She is looking forward to using the principles of Science and Investigation to help bring credibility to Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) or the current popular phrase of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP).

Field Investigator, Matt Berkey

Matt has been seeking the truth to the UFO/UAP phenomenon ever since he came across Bob Lazar’s story back in 2016, during his early college years. He studied Unmanned Aircraft Systems at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and works as an Engineering Technician at an Aerospace company. He is also a private pilot and UAS pilot, and unlike many other pilots with this topic, understands that there is a phenomenon in our skies that has the potential to cause serious harm and/or damage to people if left unsolved. His close sighting of a UFO/UAP back in 2021 in Vacaville, CA., set in motion the realism and seriousness of this phenomenon. It has made him dedicated to uncovering as much as possible to this mystery. Having joined MUFON as a Field Investigator in May of 2023, he wants to bring his passion of UFOs and skills of engineering and aviation to every case assignment. “Keep looking up!”

Field Investigator, Chris Sanford

Chris is from Northern California and is a 40-year Law Enforcement veteran. He and his wife reside in Amador County. They spend time enjoying their two Great Pyrenees dogs, goats, chickens and mini pot belly pig. Chris’s interest in Ufology began 8 years ago when he, his wife, and friends experienced multiple sightings of an Orange Orb that flew low over their location. The sightings of the Orange Orb occurred on three separate occasions over a three-week period. The Orange Orb displayed incredible aeronautical capability. On the last sighting, four Orange Orbs ascended from the ground in formation and flew up into the atmosphere until out of sight. Chris reported the sightings to MUFON and was impressed with their professionalism. This became his motivation to become a Field Investigator with MUFON.

Field Investigator, Vincent Jura

Vincent Jura, also known as Vinnie, grew up on a farm in rural Clovis, CA. At around the age of 12, he developed a particular interest in flying objects and became fascinated with Model Rocketry and aeronautics. As he grew older, his passion for the skies intensified, spending many nights stargazing and contemplating the vastness of space. Despite his desire, he never had the opportunity to witness a "flying saucer." During this period, two significant events amplified Vincent's fascination with unknown phenomena in the sky. The first was reading Erich von Daniken's renowned book, "Chariots of the Gods," and the second was the Apollo missions. These experiences further fueled his aspirations to become an astronaut. Vincent served approximately 30 years in Law Enforcement and retired in 2003. He then became a licensed private investigator and has since conducted numerous investigations. Although Vincent never achieved his goal of becoming an astronaut or witnessing a "flying saucer," he found fulfillment in his career in law enforcement. In 2023, he decided to join MUFON as a Field Investigator in order to further satisfy his curiosity about space-related matters. He hopes to achieve this by conducting MUFON investigations and connecting with like-minded individuals who share his passion for the "Benefit of Mankind."

Field Investigator, Bob Pullen

Bob was born and raised in Reno, Nevada. After High School he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He served a total of 24 years in the Navy, 3 years on Active Duty, and another 21 years in the Naval Reserve. He worked in Communications and held a Top Secret "Crypto" clearance for all 24 years of service. Simultaneously, he began his career at the "Phone Company". He held many different positions with Nevada Bell, Pacific Bell, SBC, and eventually AT&T. He retired from AT&T in 2021 with almost 38 years of service. Bobs' interest in UFO's goes back to his childhood, but not due to any particular sighting or incident. In fact, to his knowledge, he has never actually seen a UFO. His ongoing interest in "All Things UFO" prompted him to join MUFON. It seemed like a natural progression to become a Field Investigator. His other interests include HAM Radio, Music (guitar, bass, drums), and Martial Arts.