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.
Alex Rose holds a B.S. in Biology, M.S. in Aquatic Biology, and has a wide variety of experience in the biological sciences including but not limited to bioacoustics research, science writing, teaching, public presentation, and aquatic animal husbandry and breeding. Alex is also a professional violinist, photographer, PADI Divemaster, and lover of all things aquatic. Her driving goal is to find ways to protect our world’s precious marine habits through diving, writing, education, and research.
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
Cathy Church has been photographing the beautiful underwater world 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 received the coveted NOGI award for the Arts in 1987 and the DEMA Reaching Out award in 2000. In 2000 she was 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.
Christopher Chin is a multi-agency scuba instructor and technical diver whose passion for the ocean stems back to childhood. He first became certified in 1996, and has been teaching actively since 1999. He is an accomplished underwater cinematographer and writer who has traveled extensively and speaks several languages. In early 2006, Christopher founded The Center for Oceanic Awareness, Research, and Education, and currently serves as its Executive Director. Christopher served as a Regional Stakeholder for the implementation of California's Marine Life Protection Act, and was heavily involved in the design of and support for the network of Marine Protected Areas adopted for California's North Central Coast. Christopher has presented at numerous conferences and forums, and has provided valuable testimony for the consideration of ocean policy issues to various municipalities, cities, and counties, as well as to standing committees of the California State Assembly and State Senate.
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.
Greg Lashbrook & Kathy Johnson
Over the years, Greg Lashbrook and Kathy Johnson have worked with scuba certification classes, on search & rescue operations, for commercial hardhat companies and assisted researchers across the Great Lakes basin. Their work with the US Fish and Wildlife, DNR’s and Fishes & Oceans Canada, among other organizations, has established them as Great Lakes marine life experts. To see more of Greg and Kathy’s work visit their website at www.GregoryAd.com In 1990, Greg and Kathy published their first book on Great Lakes diving and have since published articles for publications such as – Michigan Natural Resources Magazine, Sport Diver Magazine and USA Today Newspaper. From the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto to SHEDD Aquarium in Chicago and TV Japan in Tokyo, Greg and Kathy are committed to raising awareness about the importance of freshwater marine life. In 2007, they worked on “Mysteries of the Great Lakes” the only IMAX film featuring the Great Lakes region. National Geographic TV’s 2010 “Monster Fish” series premiere included their Lake Sturgeon footage. In 2011, their videos were presented to the U.S. Congress by a Great Lakes Fisheries Commission congressional delegation. In the fall of 2011, Greg and Kathy released a full length documentary entitled “Manistee Nme, a Lake Sturgeon Success Story”. And most recently they were featured on Michigan’s longest running PBS series “Michigan Outdoors”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Richard has over 30 years of dive travel experience. He was certified as anOpen 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.
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."
Steve has been an Ikelite Sales Rep since 2007 with an emphasis on underwater photography. His underwater photography experience dates back to 1976, and in 1980 he began teaching underwater photography in an effort "to help the world become a better place through underwater photography". Steve's main goal is to help others learn how to enjoy their passion for diving through the use of underwater photography. Students will not only develop their skills with digital SLRs , they learn the art of creating unique and entertaining presentations as well.
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.