Select a presenter to see their bio below:
Alessandra Figari is one of the owners of Cave Training Mexico. Born in Milan, Italy in 1960. She moved to Mexico in 1999 when she decided to dedicate her life and experience to teaching diving, leaving behind my manager position in a non profit organization. Ale can speak and teach in fours languages: Italian, English, French and Spanish and is an IANTD Tec Instructor and Tec Full Cave Instructor, TDI Tec and Cave Instructor, NASE Worldwide Cave Instructor and Trainer, PADI and RAID MK6 CCR instructor, APSA Certified Cavern and Cave Guide. A PADI Course Director, PADI/DSAT Technical and Trimix Trainer and EFR Trainer, MKVI Poseidon Instructor.
Amy Houghton Warren
PADI Divemaster, Amy Houghton Warren is the published author of the most comprehensive guide book The Diving Guide: Cuba Scuba. Together with her father, Bill Houghton (published photographer), she’s made dozens of trips to Cuba under various US treasury licenses since 1998 and dived every region in Cuba. She’s offended by the exorbitant price gauging Americans currently face to legitimately travel to Cuba. That’s why she is showing fellow divers a better, more affordable way to scuba dive in Cuba that fully conforms to President Obama’s easing of travel restrictions announced on Dec 14, 2014. For more information, visit: www.cubascuba.tours
While creating a successful business, Dive Into Your Imagination, Annie Crawley, aka Ocean Annie, continues to travel and document the world focusing on life in our Ocean. She is uniquely qualified to speak about obtaining success by taking risks, living your dreams and creating your greatest life. Originally from Chicago and trained as a photo and broadcast journalist, Annie Crawley spent the past two decades living and working around the world. After learning to scuba dive and sail, she became a PADI Master Scuba Diving Instructor and a 100 ton US Coast Guard Boat Captain. She was named an SSI 5000 Platinum Pro Diver and inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame. Annie Crawley specializes in the Underwater Realm as an underwater photographer, filmmaker, and has created an award winning series of products for the next generation. Dive Into Your Imagination under Annie’s leadership will be releasing another series of programs at Our World Underwater on ocean education and leadership including books, educator/parent lesson plans and DVDS to change the way a new generation views the ocean, themselves and our environment. Annie relates the lessons learned growing up and traveling in a way that will empower, inspire and motivate you to go beyond what they believe they are capable. Annie Crawley believes in the principals of Conscious Leadership, you want to make sure you meet this dynamic woman
Responsibility, hard work and passion are words that clearly describe Antonio. Born to work and excel in the hotel business, he is one of the most well known, proactive and influential hoteliers in Honduras. As the general director of the Mayan Princess Beach & Dive Resort in West Bay, Roatan, located on one of the best beaches in the Caribbean, Antonio has overseen it rise from under construction to being a PADI 5 Start Dive Resort.
Barbara Buchanan is a photographer and videographer who travels the globe. She has worked on expeditions and archeologist on Blackbeard’s shipwreck Queen Anne’s Revenge documenting the excavation for the Dive Down Project. Her most recent project is filming the wrecks of Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands. She is owner of Scuba Planners Dive Travel and has arranged many expeditions including the Japan trip with Wreck Diving Magazine where she filmed the expedition.
Sharks have fascinated both Bill Fisher since childhood. As avid recreational diver, he hoped to spread the message that sharks do not live up to the negative reputation that is so often depicted. Through his films, he and his video partner Joe Romeiro portray sharks not as mindless killers, but as the beautiful and majestic creatures they are. Their ultimate goal is to help conserve and appreciate the beauty of the world’s oceans and its creatures.
Bob has been diving since 1997 and has traveled extensively in the Caribbean and ventured to places including: Palau, Truk and the Philippines for diving. Over the year Bob has been to Curacao 10 times and has dove both the East and West Ends of Curacao over the years. Bob lives in the Chicago area, works for IBM and has a MS from Western Il University. Bob is a certified PADI and NAUI DM.
Bob Sheridan, aka BAR "Bob Ain't Right" coined by local ice divers, is originally from Chicago, was Mid America Director of NAUI and had four dive stores from '72 until '88 when he relocated to Ft. Lauderdale. He began teaching diving in high school and college and continues to train instructors for several agencies. Upon moving to Florida, he opened a training facility and charter business. He is the past president of the Graves Museum of Archaeology and the Natural History in Ft. Lauderdale, FL and started UDT, Universal Diver Training, Inc. a dive agency in 2000.
Bruce Lynn is the Executive Director of the award-winning Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, located at Whitefish Point in Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula. Bruce started his museum career as an Historical Interpreter at Fort Mackinac on Mackinac Island in 1989, and later returned to work full-time for the Mackinac State Historic Parks. After graduating with a degree in American History from the Ohio State University, Lynn was accepted into Eastern Michigan University's Historic Preservation graduate program where he studied Heritage Interpretation. Before graduation from EMU, Lynn completed an internship at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum and developed a real passion for Great Lakes maritime history. During Bruce's career, he has worked for the Alfred P. Sloan museum (Flint), the Piatt Castles (West Liberty, OH) and was hired by the Ohio Historical Society to assist with the creation of an economic impact survey of historic sites for the Ohio State Legislature. In 2015 he co-authored, with award winning Great Lakes Maritime Photographer Chris Winters, the book The Legend Lives On, a richly illustrated meditation on the Edmund Fitzgerald. Bruce is married to wife Jill, a veterinarian in Sault Sainte Marie, and they have six "children"...four Chows and two cats.
Cathy Church has been photographing underwater since 1967. She has a Masters degree in Marine Biology and is recognized as one of the world's pioneers of underwater photography. She has presented her workshops throughout the United States since 1973 (and one in the UK.) She has written several hundreds of underwater photography how-to articles, one video, five books and one coffee table book. She and her staff teach underwater photography regularly at her busy Cathy Church’s Photo Centre in Grand Cayman. This gives her the opportunity to stay in touch with most of the camera equipment on the market today. Wait, there is more, she is also fun, clear, inspirational and well organized and just a very popular teacher. If her humor is not enough for you, her passion will be, along with her desire to make sure that YOU have the opportunity to learn how to make YOUR photos better and better.
In recognition of her work, she has received the coveted NOGI award for the Arts in 1987 and the DEMA Reaching Out award in 2000 when she was also inducted into the Woman Divers Hall of Fame and admitted as a member of the Explorers' Club. She was inducted into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame in 2008, is a Beneath the Sea Diver of the Year, and more.
Christopher Weaver has been diving the waters of Long Island and the world since 1978 and has spent hundreds of hours underwater accumulating a large and varied library of photographic images. With Michael Salvarezza, he has presented his work in hundreds of multi-media slide presentations and have appeared at Beneath the Sea and the Boston Sea Rovers Underwater Clinic. Their work has been published in various magazines such as: Skin Diver, Sport Diver, Asian Diver, Diver, Advanced Diver Magazine, Sport Diving Magazine, Dive Journal, World War II, Immersed and Lighthouse Digest.
Deb Karlson has been diving for 20+ years. She and her husband Mitch had been vacationing at CoCo View since 1992 and they have managed the resort since January, 2010. Deb has many years of hotel management experience and is an avid diver, making CoCo View the perfect place to call home. Commitment to her guests and to the resorts continued success makes CoCo View one of the most recognized dive resorts in the world.
Evan Sherman is the owner of Seasick Productions, a full-service multimedia company that specializes in underwater imaging. Based out of Orange County, California, Seasick Productions provides on location and studio production services around the world. Evan’s first dive with a camera, he fell in love with underwater videography. His second dive with a camera, he flooded it. He was 19 and had already learned a critical lesson about life as a professional underwater cameraman: passion fuels the artist, tools allow the artist to be. Evan later received his B.A. in Film and Electronic Media from California State University Long Beach. Evan’s professional underwater credits include television networks, Fortune 500 companies and numerous entities within the dive industry. Evan’s recent film, Bali Close Up, earned top honors at the World ShootOut Underwater Photo Grand Prix in Germany, Video of the Year at the ADEX Voice of the Ocean Competition in Singapore, the Best of Show and Stan Waterman Legacy Award at the Turquoise Bay International Underwater Film Festival in Roatan, and Silver at the Our World Underwater Video Competition. He is a contributor for DivePhotoGuide, Wetpixel and a SEA&SEA Alpha, ambassador for their products. Throughout the year Evan conducts dive expeditions and imaging workshops.
Faith has spent her life educating people about diving through her love and enthusiasm for the ocean. Whether as a biology teacher, Dive Master, dive store retailer, charter operator, equipment manufacturer and distributor, she inspires people and instills in them a passion for local diving. Twenty years ago she worked with DUI to develop the first women’s drysuits and now leads DUI’s Sales Team worldwide. She created the DUI DOG Rally and Demo Tour Program which promotes local diving facilities across the US, teaming dive retailers together while divers test dive DUI products. Certified in 1979, she has over 2500 divers including 700 technical dives. Faith was inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame at the 10th Anniversary Celebration at the Beneath the Sea Show in Secaucus, NJ March 26-28, 2010.
Howard & Michele Hall
Howard and Michele Hall are wildlife filmmakers specializing in marine wildlife films. Working as a team, Howard and Michele have produced and directed many television films including a National Geographic Special, three episodes of the PBS series Nature, and the five-hour PBS series Secrets of the Ocean Realm. In addition to winning the Best of Show at Wildscreen 1990, The Festival Choice Award at Jackson Hole in 1991 and Best Cinematography in 1993, the Hall’s television work has resulted in seven Emmy Awards.
Howard and Michele Hall are perhaps best known for their underwater IMAX® films. In 1994 Howard directed the first underwater IMAX 3D feature, Into the Deep. In 1998 Michele produced and Howard directed the IMAX feature, Island of the Sharks, which was an enterprise of Howard Hall Productions. In 2005 they returned to the IMAX 3D format by directing and producing Deep Sea 3D which was awarded Best Picture at the Giant Screen Cinema Association Conference and Best Large Format Film at Wildscreen 2006. In 2009 the Hall’s released the IMAX feature Under the Sea 3D. This film won best cinematography at the Giant Screen Cinema Association Conference in 2009 and Best Documentary from the International 3D Society in 2010. Their IMAX features have grossed more than $200 million in box office receipts.
In 2002 Howard was underwater sequence director and Michele was location manager for MacGillivray Freeman’s IMAX feature Coral Reef Adventure, a film in which both he and Michele are featured on-camera.
Howard was director of underwater cinematography for the Primesco Productions film Lost Worlds, the MacGillivray Freeman film The Living Sea, the IMAX 3D feature Return to Hubble, and was underwater cinematographer for MacGillivray Freeman’s Journey Into Amazing Caves. He was director of underwater cinematography and Michele was location manager and underwater still photographer for MacGillivray’s 2014 3D feature Journey to the South Pacific, and MacGillivray’s 2015 release of Humpback Whales.
Of the five highest grossing 3D films produced by IMAX Corporation, two were directed by Howard Hall. Into the Deep has earned box office receipts of over $70 million and Deep Sea 3D has earned over $95 million. The Hall’s recently released Under the Sea 3D has earned nearly $53 million.
The Halls have strived to make family-friendly films that raise awareness of and increase appreciation for the marine environment. During the past 25 years, the films they have produced have been seen by thousands of children and adults. They have received positive feedback in letters, emails and in person from many who have said that not only have their films increased their knowledge of the marine environment, but they have also been the inspiration to turn career choices toward marine sciences and / or environmental issues.
Both Howard and Michele are recipients of the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences’ (AUAS’) NOGI Awards. In 2011 they were named Divers of the Year at Beneath the Sea, and were also inducted into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame. In 2013 they received the International Wildlife Film Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Marine Conservation & Media. They were recognized by the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival with the Outstanding Achievement Award for Natural History Filmmaking in 2015. In 2016 they were named as honorees of the 2016 Hans Hass Award.
Howard holds a BS degree in zoology from San Diego State University. He is a member of the Directors Guild of America and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Michele is a Registered Nurse and holds a B.S. degree in Health Sciences. She is a member of the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Women Diver Hall of Fame.
Jack & Sue Drafahl
This husband and wife team has devoted their lives to teaching underwater photography. Jack and Sue have written over 800 articles and 7 books on photography and related subjects. They developed underwaterphototutorials.com an on-line subscription site featuring 1000 tutorials for underwater photographers. They lead photo dive expeditions to help divers hone their photographic skills, and conduct a yearly photo course in Bonaire. Their infectious enthusiasm makes for interesting workshops and seminars.
Jacques Star was born in Malbork, Poland with the name Jakub Szucko. He came to the United States with his family as a political refugee in 1981. Star grew up in Dallas, Texas, and when obtaining his American citizenship at the age of 10, he changed his name to Jacques in honor of ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau. Star obtained RFTV and Communications degrees at the University of Texas at Arlington, and started his own freelance business. By 2006, his work had been broadcasted on numerous national networks, including National Geographic, History Channel, ABC, NBC, CNN, TLC and FOX. Jacques also studied Environmental Science with an emphasis in Marine and Coastal Resources, and worked as a scuba lab tech working with an underwater rotary time lapse camera system at Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi.
Jennifer Idol helps others understand the underwater world through her photography, design, and by sharing her exploration. She created the Love our Waters campaign to help raise awareness. A technical diver and an underwater photographer, she’s been published in Sport Diver, Texas Aquatic Science, Outdoor Oklahoma, and Underwater Speleology. Large installations of her work are at the Lake Murray Wildlife Museum and Texas Association of REALTORS. Her design firm, The Underwater Designer, services clients in the water related-industries.
Jim & Pat Stayer
Jim and Pat are explorers and well-known underwater filmmakers. They co-authored 3 books and produced 30 DVDs. The couple has been referred to as the one of the best animal behavior videographers, according to Ernie Brooks. Jim & Pat served as President and Secretary of the Michigan Underwater Preserve Council and were founders of the Sanilac Shores Preserve. Together they ran a dive charter boat in the Great Lakes and discovered 8 shipwrecks. The Stayers were underwater cameramen for History Channel. Pat is a member of the Women Divers Hall of Fame and Jim is a Licensed Captain.
Captain Jitka Hanáková is the owner of Shipwreck Explorers LLC, and Owner/Captain of the charter boat Molly V, based out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Shipwreck Explorers offer recreational and technical scuba diving trips throughout the Western Great Lakes, operating Molly V seasonally from remote sites in Lakes Michigan, Huron, and Superior. Jitka is an avid Great Lakes diver, award winning underwater photographer, and also enjoys free-diving, cave diving, and ocean wreck diving. She has dived waters ranging from the Great Lakes to caves in Florida and salt water wrecks in the Atlantic Ocean including the wreck of the Andrea Doria. Jitka has been diving since 2000, has been using rebreathers (closed circuit) mixed-gas technology since 2008, and has successfully used this technology to gain access to cold water shipwrecks at depths approaching 400 feet. A US Coast Guard Licensed Captain, she has been working and diving aboard Molly V since 2007 and has been Molly’s Owner and Captain since 2008. Jitka has been active in both terrestrial research and on-water searching for new discoveries for many years. Her first discovery was the steamer M.H. Stuart in 2009, then the historic discovery of the steamship L.R. Doty in the spring of 2010. This world-class discovery resulted in a National Geographic documentary the "Ghost Ships of the Great Lakes", which has aired on national television. Jitka was the keynote speaker at the Ghost Ships Festival in 2011, where she shared her experiences finding and diving the wreck of the L.R. Doty. In the spring of 2015, Jitka and her team discovered and dove the long missing steamship Alice E. Wilds off of Milwaukee, completely preserved in over 300ft of water. Jitka works as a Business Analyst / Systems Consultant for local firms when the lakes are frozen.
John Stella has been a Dive Industry Professional for over 30 years, and has represented some of the most iconic equipment brands in the dive industry. He is currently the Northeast District Manager for SCUBAPRO USA. “it’s my dream job” His diving experience spans the globe, with a special passion for the hunt for Ancient Underwater Shipwrecks. His recent trips to Greece and the Aegean Sea, as a member of a Greek Archeological Dive Team has changed his life. “ My new passion” The team has found and documented 45 Ancient shipwrecks over a two year period, and some of these wrecks have rewritten ancient history as we knew it! Logging literally thousands of dives over a 40 year span, John carries a Platinum 5000 card from SSI. When not hunting for ancient shipwrecks, you can find John diving for lobsters and scallops, off the coast of Massachusetts, with his brother Joe, and close friends. You can read all about his last Ancient Shipwreck mission to Greece in the Winter 2016 Edition of Alert Diver Magazine.
Jonathan Bird is a professional underwater cinematographer and photographer. His films have appeared all over the world, on networks such as National Geographic Channel, PBS, ABC, USA Network, Discovery and even the SciFi Channel. He has won two Emmy Awards and two Cine Golden Eagles for his work. He is the author of seven books of underwater photography and the host of his own program on American public television Jonathan Bird's Blue World. Jonathan Bird's Blue World is back for an exciting third season! There are 9 exciting new half-hour programs in HD, exploring the mysteries of the deep around the world. Emmy Award-winning underwater cinematographer and naturalist Jonathan Bird is the dynamic host of Jonathan Bird's Blue World. His 20 years of experience in the field are evident in the high quality of this educational family-oriented underwater adventure series. Jonathan Bird's Blue World won the prestigious CINE Golden Eagle, praise from the National Education Association, the National Science Teachers Association and has garnered four Emmy awards! It airs across the USA on PBS and now reaches more than 72% of the households in the United States, as well as being broadcast in a growing number of other countries.
Keith Love is an encyclopedia of Gulf of Mexico fishing knowledge. He rattles off facts and parameters that he uses to make decisions that leave you feeling very confident. If you are looking for a trip of a lifetime, Keith and Texas Bluewater Safaris can provide it.
Kevin Magee was certified for scuba in 1984, moved to Cleveland, Ohio, in 1993, and discovered shipwreck diving in the Great Lakes shortly afterwards. He enthusiastically practices diving shipwrecks in the Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes. Kevin is the co-founder and Deputy Director of the Cleveland Underwater Explorers (CLUE), an organization that searches for shipwrecks in Lake Erie and has found more than 20 shipwrecks since its creation in 2001.
Larry McKenna: Filmmaker, photographer, author and adventurer; both under the oceans and on top of mountains in remote places (and locations in between). This is the biographical definition of Larry McKenna; doing what he does best; recording life, cultures; history and events so that others may see the World through his eyes, voice, pen and cameras.
Larry is a former United States Air Force aviator with a chest full of combat decorations. He served for 26 years in uniform while flying and designing new planes and helicopters before going onward to enter the commercial sectors of business, as an International banker and real estate developer and hotel/resorts operator, in the USA, in Central America and the Pacific region of islands. He is now a dedicated environmentalist to save the Leatherback Sea Turtle from its rapid spiral into extinction.
He founded his independent production studio in 1984 after several frustrations in hiring documentary crews to make his promotional films. Larry resolved that HE could make a better quality film than those he paid – and went on to do just that. Larry’s base of operations is Kingwood, Texas (close to Houston); but is rarely there because of travels, mainly in the Pacific/Asia regions. He is currently involved with conservation efforts to save the Pacific Leatherback turtles from a rapid extinction.
More can be learned about Larry’s activities by visiting web sites: www.happycatproductions.com and www.leathebackturtles.org
Leandro Blanco is an internationally acclaimed film maker with a background in music composition, recording and production. His passion for nature and underwater imaging combined with his film editing and compositing techniques distinguish his work. He is the only filmmaker that has won Antibes film festival during eight consecutive years in different categories. In 2004 he was named diver of the year at BTS (Beneath the sea NY) for his contribution to the art of film making. He is currently working with National Geographic on the Oceans Now project
Lynn Funkhouser was inducted into the inaugural Women Divers Hall of Fame (WDHOF). She is an internationally published photographer, author, lecturer, environmentalist, adventuress, and leader in dive travel. She specializes in underwater, nature, travel, and environmental images. In 2008, Lynn was inducted into the Society of Women Geographers. SWG members are women who love adventure and have added to the world’s knowledge. Members include Amelia Earhart, Eugenie Clark, Sylvia Earle, Jane Goodall, Margaret Mead, and Pearl Buck. As an environmentalist, Lynn is committed to making a difference on this planet through her images and lectures.
Mathias Nochetto, MD
Dr. Nochetto is DAN's Director of Medical Programs where he assists with development and implementation of medical programs worldwide. He supervises the Spanish and Portuguese medical hotlines. He has served as faculty for several diving medicine courses and university programs over the past 15 years. His particular interest and expertise is in marine toxinology.
Mel is an active technical/rebreather diving instructor trainer; and avid underwater photographer. She has over five thousand dives with more than three thousand technical dives. She began her diving career at twelve years of age as a junior open water diver. At age eighteen she was a divemaster and was a partner in a dive store. The early 1990’s brought about an increasing awareness for mixed gas diving, which Mel immediately embraced. Mel’s scuba diving career was slowed down a bit, between 1991-1996 while she completed her Bachelors of Science in Pharmacy degree at the University of British Columbia. By 2002 she had worked her way up to NAUI Course Director and NAUI technical instructor. In 2003 she earned her Advanced Trimix instructor rating with TDI. She also earned her IANTD technical training qualifications. In 2003 she taught for Divers Institute of Technology (DIT) helping to develop future commercial divers. Mel began down the rebreather path in 2003. She now currently instructs students and future instructors on most of the major rebreathers on the market. One of Mel’s most challenging and rewarding certifications was becoming a Megalodon and rEvo CCR Instructor Trainer (currently there are only a few worldwide). When Mel is not instructing she can usually be found in the water exploring wrecks or caves. Mel is a member of the Women Diver’s Hall of Fame. Aside from teaching Mel is passionate about underwater photography and writing. She is currently a staff photojournalist for Advanced Diver Magazine. Mel has made a genuine contribution to the diving community by increasing CCR diver knowledge and safety through her easy to read manuals. She has written many manuals including the TDI KISS CCR manual, TDI Semi-Closed Circuit rebreather manual, and the soon to be published Megalodon CCR manual. After much hard work Mel has independently published CCR Trimix Simplified and a universal easy to read rebreather guide on buying and diving the closed circuit rebreather, called “Rebreathers Simplified.”
Michael Salvarezza has been diving the waters of Long Island and the world since 1978 and has spent hundreds of hours underwater accumulating a large and varied library of photographic images. With Christopher Weaver, he has presented his work in hundreds of multi-media slide presentations and have appeared at Beneath the Sea and the Boston Sea Rovers Underwater Clinic. Their work has been published in various magazines such as: Skin Diver, Sport Diver, Asian Diver, Diver, Advanced Diver Magazine, Sport Diving Magazine, Dive Journal, World War II, Immersed and Lighthouse Digest.
Michel Gilbert & Danielle Alary
Michel Gilbert & Danielle Alary. Award-winning, lecturers, photography and multimedia producers, Michel and Danielle have been “at sea” for over 35 years. Authors of more than 1000 articles related to diving, travel and sailing, they are underwater photography columnists for Diver and En Profondeur (Into the Depths) magazines. Their work is sold worldwide.
Recipients of the Canadian Diving Achievement Award in 1991 and the Diver of the Year Award for the Arts at Beneath the Sea in New-York, in 1995, in 1997, they won the coveted Silver Diver Award at the Antibes World Festival of Underwater Images. Their multimedia production about the seals of the Gulf of St-Lawrence won a Grand Prize from the Ministry of Tourism of Québec. Danielle and Michel were honoured during the 37th edition of Our World Underwater in Chicago in 2007.
Danielle is a member of the Women Divers Hall Of Fame.
They have produced over 100 multimedia presentations featured at various events and venues, including museums and aquariums.
They are working on two books.
Michel Labrecque & Julie Ouimet
Canadians Michel Labrecque and Julie Ouimet are co-owners of N2Pix. Julie and Michel decided to go off the beaten path in 2007, leaving the corporate world behind and choosing the ocean. They are the previous owners of an award-winning PADI 5-Star IDC. Their intense passion for scuba diving and the underwater world has led them to the four corners of the world and into underwater photography and filmmaking. N2Pix specializes in underwater imagery and scuba expeditions. They are the Founders of the Turquoise Bay Underwater Film Festival, published photojournalists, guest speakers at major dive conferences and short film producers.
Michele Hoffman Trotter
Michele Hoffman Trotter has been enthusiastically diving for twenty-four years, holds a Masters’ degree in Marine Science from the University of New South Wales (Australia), and a Juris Doctorate and certificate in International Law from DePaul University. Michele is currently a faculty member at Columbia College, Roosevelt University, and School of the Art Institute where she teaches ocean sciences and sustainability, and she is also a PADI instructor and certified cave diver. Her underwater photography has won awards and appeared in various publications including Playboy.
Michele Hoffman Trotter
Michele Hoffman Trotter is an award-winning educator who began her love affair with the ocean at age five with the gift of a shell. At sixteen, she took her first life-altering breath on scuba, and by twenty-three she was a fully hooked PADI instructor. Michele holds an undergraduate degree in fine art from Columbia College, and advanced degrees in Marine Biology (University of New South Wales) and law (DePaul University).
Michele’s articles and photography have appeared in international publications, and she was lead author on a six volume collection of 21st Century skills based educational curriculum guides aimed at pre-k to 3rd grade for Dive Into Your Imagination. She is currently on faculty at Columbia College, School of the Art Institute, and Roosevelt University where she teaches a range of courses that span traditional ocean sciences to sustainability courses that encompass law, policy, and ethics and serves as Director of Education and Advancement for the Hawaii Association for Marine Education and Advancement. In her down time Michele is Co-Director of a film project called Microcosm that explores the ocean world through a microscope, and enjoys time with her husband Bob and young son Ryan.
Mike Young is a member of the Advance Diver Magazine Exploration team as well as the US Deep Caving Team. Recently Mike discovered a Mayan vase that dates back 1300 years while exploring and mapping cenotes (caves) in the Yucatan peninsula area. In 2010, Mike was on the J2 expedition, exploring a system in southern Mexico that is 1200 meters deep and took 2 days of caving just to reach the water.
Explorer and filmmaker Nancy McGee has lived a life of adventure and diversity. Known as Ms. Exosuit, AKA the Pachyderm Princess, she is the first female Exosuit pilot as well as a magazine centerfold (next to a 3000 lb. swimming elephant). The Explorers Club recognized her with a Fellowship for contributions to scientific knowledge in the field of geographical exploration, which include filming in locations so remote that local natives have never before seen Western people. Nancy produces, edits and films her own documentaries with a unique historical spin on culture and the marine ecosystem. Her credits include NBC, Universal Studios and Discovery. She also preserved several of Stan Waterman's vintage films documenting the early days of scuba diving. She is a frequent contributor to dive journals and is a featured speaker and emcee for national and international shows and film festivals. Nancy is a member of the Ocean Artists Society, Platinum Pro 5000, and the Women Divers Hall of Fame. Nancy has achieved these many goals while at the same time working full time in public education, personally touching the lives of thousands of children.
Patty L. Seery, MHS
Ms. Seery joined DAN in 2008 and currently serves as Director of Training. She is a licensed health care provider, a dive instructor and dive instructor trainer. She has taught CPR and first aid throughout her joint careers in health care and scuba diving.
Paul Cater Deaton
Paul Cater Deaton is an award-winning Writer, Producer, Director and Cinematographer. He is based in the Virgin Islands, and has filmed on six continents over a career spanning four decades. As an underwater filmmaker, he has spent more time underwater than most people spend in high school. He was recently certified in Shark Biology, Biodiversity and Conservation through Cornell University and the University of Queensland, Australia.
Deaton was one of the original three filmmakers attached to Ocean in Google Earth to produce mini-documentaries. Recent credits include Director of Photography for HBO Documentaries, Principal Underwater Cinematographer for The Amazing Race, and Field Producer, Director of Photography and Underwater Cinematographer for The Discovery Channel. In 2015, he helped make history by filming from a helicopter for a record-smashing speedboat run from Key West to Havana, Cuba. His "Showdown at Tiger Beach" was an official selection at 10 international film festivals, and won Best Documentary Short at two of them.
Paul engages in productions ranging from commercials, music videos and documentaries to TV programs and full-length motion pictures. His work has appeared on ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, BBC, MTV, CMT, HBO, VH1, ESPN, Fox, Showtime, HBO Documentaries, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Nickelodeon, TV2 Caribbean, Austin Music Network, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Tri-Star, Veronica Broadcasting (The Netherlands), ARD German Television, Planete TV (Poland), Beatty Satellite (Saudi Arabia), Proxima (Bulgaria), Caribbean Broadcasting Union (Barbados), the Travel Channel, DirecTV, Comedy Central, E! Entertainment TV, Bravo, Ocean in Google Earth, The New York Times, and the United Nations.
PCD is highly sought-after as a guest speaker and Master of Ceremonies at events all over the world. He has presented hundreds of seminars and workshops on underwater filmmaking, foreign expeditions, and other topics of high adventure. In 2017, he will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the prestigious Our World Underwater Film Festival, in Chicago, for an unprecedented fifth consecutive year.
Paul is a National Fellow in The Explorers Club, and a member of the Television Academy, Boston Sea Rovers, Underwater Archaeological Society of Chicago, Historical Diving Society, and the Rotary Club of St. Thomas East. He was honored by Rotary International with a Paul Harris Fellowship in 2004.
Peter Buzzacott, MPH, PhD
Peter Buzzacott is Director, Injury Monitoring and Prevention at Divers Alert Network (DAN). He has a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Western Australia, for researching risk factors for diving injuries. At DAN it is Dr Buzzacott’s role to design, implement and evaluate preventative interventions aimed at improving diver safety.
Ms. Deal is Vice President of Marketing at Divers Alert Network. She has worked in marketing for both profit and non-profit organizations. As a dive instructor, she has worked in dive centers in the US and the Caribbean.
Richard has over 32 years of dive travel experience. He was certified as an Open Water Scuba Instructor when he was 20 and has logged more than 5000 dives in over 50 destinations around the world. These destinations include the Maldives, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, Cocos Island, Galapagos, Indonesia, Philippines, Sipadan/Mabul, Palau, Japan, Colombia, Cozumel, Bonaire, and Belize.Richard is an expert on marketing and selling adventure trips to remote dive and snorkel locations. He travels an average of 150 days a year. In 2012, he started full time travel around the World and has dived extensively in Maldives, Thailand, Indonesia, Oman and Cuba
Rich is an avid water sports fan and fitness/wellness enthusiast. He lives on the road and spends time in Thailand, Texas, California and Chicago. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Rudy Whitworth has been an active scuba diver since 1978 and has been an avid UW photographer since 1983. He has been a winner in many world wide UW photo contests. As President of Seahorse Productions, LLC, Rudy has been an entertaining speaker at Our World Underwater, Beneath The Sea, SCUBAFEST and at the Great Lakes Shipwreck festival as well as many presentations to scuba clubs, marine organizations and schools. He has taught UW photography classes and his images have been printed in SKIN DIVER, Dive Travel and Dive Chronicles magazines as well as being showcased in 4 of Coral Reef Alliance calendars. He has done extensive Great Lakes diving and has honed his photographic skills in many exotic locations. His images are included in “Fishes of the Caribbean” fish ID CD/DVD marketed by ReefNet. Recently, his image was showcased in a scientific paper on Toadfish and also in Dec/09, a coral reef restoration slide show created by Rudy was shown at the Conference for Global Warming in Denmark.
Steve Arnam began his water career with a love for the ocean and all aquatic environments. This love turned into a bachelors in marine biology and a masters in science education. In 1983 he became a PADI scuba instructor, which enabled him to teach his passion and by taking dive groups on eco-dive trips wide. After teaching K - 12 science for 25 years. He is back full time to enhancing marine and aquatic awareness through conservation programs. "After all, we are all students of the water planet."
Tara Short is the Founder and Director of GreenEdventures, a sustainable eco-adventure company with trips in Alaska, Baja, Costa Rica, and Trinidad & Tobago. Tara is an engaging and funny presenter whose passion is ocean conservation, education, and adventure travel. Tara has over 15 years in the eco-tourism industry, with SCUBA Certifications as: PADI Open Water, Advanced Diver, Rescue Diver and specialty certifications as Underwater Naturalist, Deep Diver, Multi-Level Diver and Night Diver.
Tim Cothren is an Emmy nominated New York based Freelance Director of Photography/Producer with over 25 years of experience for all the major US and Foreign broadcast entities.
Todd Baldi is a NAUI Course Director and Trimix Instructor. He has logged over 4,000 dives and has been technical diving since 1989.
Tony Gramer has been diving since 1977 and is a certified PADI Divemaster. He is the president of Silent World Information Masters, Inc. (SWIM). He is presently of the board and Divemaster of Dossins Museum in Detroit, Michigan. His images have taken best in show and first place in photo contests throughout the United States, Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Mexico. His images have been included in Skin Diver magazine, Dive Boat Calendar & Travel magazine, Michigan Living magazine, Great Lakes Diving magazine, Michigan Underwater Preserve pamphlets, advertising catalogs, Nikon Calendar and CD covers.