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Seminar Speakers

At Scuba Show, scuba experts and industry professionals lead intimate and interactive sessions on all aspects of diving.

Here are the bios of our 2022 speakers. We bring together notable talent from across the industry to give engaging presentations. Each speaker has a unique background and a passion for diving.

Gretchen M. Ashton

Gretchen M. Ashton, CFT, SFT, SFN, SSC, NBFE, is an advanced scuba diver, nitrox diver, paddler, sailor and fitness professional with more than 70,000 one-to-one and group training sessions. She is registered with the National Board of Fitness Examiners, is an International Sports Sciences Association Preferred Education Provider and Elite Trainer which includes credentials as a personal trainer, specialist in fitness therapy, fitness nutrition, strength and conditioning, arthritis and boxing exercise. As a lifetime drug free strength athlete Gretchen set 21 World and 21 American records and is the second woman inducted into the AAU Power Lifting Hall of Fame. Gretchen is founder of ScubaFit LLC, and developed the ScubaFit®, FitDiver®, DiveFit® and SurfWalkingexercise programs for divers, instructors and water sports enthusiasts. She co-authored the PADI ScubaFit® Diver Distinctive Specialty, co-designed FitDiver® mobile fitness apps, and publishes FitDiver®Magazine. She shares her fitness message with the diving clubs, is an Expert Speaker for Los Angeles County Scuba Advanced Diver Program and Underwater Instructor Certification Course, at the Scuba Show, U.S. Dive Shows, and dive medicine conferences. Gretchen is a brand ambassador for Mobby’s and a mentor with Water Women, Inc.  Her writing includes Fitness Editor or contributor for World’s Best Dives, Unified Team Diving Journal, California and Florida Diver Magazine, X-Ray Mag, Scuba Sport Magazine, Alert Diver United States and Asia-Pacific, Divetime.com, ScubaBoard, Scuba Fitness Examiner at Examiner.com and her ScubaFit® blog. She is recognized by the President’s Council of Physical Fitness and Sports for inspiring and innovative accomplishments in fitness and in the Margaritaville Key West website culinary column.

Nancy Caruso

Nancy Caruso is a marine biologist and Director of Get Inspired, a non profit organization located in Orange County, CA.  Since 2002, Nancy has been working on restoring the kelp forest habitat of Orange County.  From 2002-2012 she taught 5000 kids to grow giant kelp in their classrooms which was outplanted in the ocean with the help of 250 volunteer divers.  Together, they restored Orange County’s kelp forests which had been gone for 20 years.  Next, Nancy began working on restoration of the once iconic, green abalone.  Again, she is using the model of 36,000 students growing abalone in their classrooms and volunteers helping to conduct all the field work.  She currently has 10,000 baby abalone and is hoping to start outplanting within the next 2 years. Nancy created the Seabass in the Classroom program in partnership with Hubbs SeaWorld Research Institute and has taught 4,000 kids to grow and release seabass on our coast.  The next species that Nancy has targeted for restoration work is the Pismo Clam.  This once abundant species is very hard to find on the Orange County coast and she wants to figure out how to teach kids to grow them and restore them back to our sandy beaches.

Louis Casabianca

Louis Casabianca began diving in 1980, in the days of beavertail wetsuits and horse collar BCs.  He has been a Divemaster since 1994, and a Specialty Instructor since 2000.  He has also been a Navy Scuba Diver since 1994, a surface-supplied diver/Navy Diving Officer since 1997, and a Mixed-Gas Diver since 2000.  A decompression chamber operator since 1997, he has served on multiple diving and salvage missions worldwide.  He has a Mechanical Engineering BSE from UC Berkeley, and still learns something new on every dive.

Dr. Madhavi Colton

Dr. Madhavi Colton

Dr. Madhavi Colton is an accomplished conservation scientist who is focused on helping the world’s ecosystems cope with the effects of climate change. She believes that coral reefs—one of the world’s most threatened ecosystems—can be saved for generations to come. Through her scientific research, she has developed a new approach to conservation that will help reefs around the world adapt to the effects of climate change. She is the Executive Director of the Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) and has a doctorate in marine ecology from the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Steve Creech

Steve Creech is President of the non-profit Wyland Foundation. Founded by world-renowned marine life muralist Wyland, the foundation has inspired millions of people to become more caring, solution-oriented stewards of our ocean, lakes, rivers, streams, and wetland. Over the last twenty years, Steve and Wyland have blazed a trail around the world – from massive art projects for the Beijing and Vancouver Olympics — to groundbreaking grassroots projects in support of our nation’s lakes, rivers, streams, and coasts. Steve is a former newspaper reporter and co-author with Wyland on several books, including “Hold Your Water: 68 Things You Need to Know to Keep Our Planet Blue,” as well numerous guest columns for SCUBA publications.

Lesley Figueroa

Lesley Figueroa is an undergraduate student and researcher at UC Santa Barbara pursuing an Aquatic Biology and Environmental Studies degree. Her research contributes to marine conservation efforts through the analysis of marine protected areas and dive tourism. She is an intern for the Spotting Giant Sea Bass team and has been managing the project since October 2021.

Jaclyn Friedlander

Jaclyn Friedlander

Jaclyn Friedlander is a TV personality and the author of the Friends with Fins children’s book series! When she isn’t diving or guest speaking to children about marine science topics, you can catch her live on HSN (Home Shopping Network) selling toys and electronics. She also hosts tourism videos for ad agencies and she is the host of the STEM series, Friends with Fins on Youtube. Check out her website for more information!

Mel Futrell

Mel Futrell is a PADI-certified open-water diver with additional Nitrox and Buoyancy Control training. As an instrument-rated pilot and aviation instructor who has been flying for 27 years, she also teaches Human Factors at Glendale College in the Pilot Training program. Upon earning her PADI-certification in 2012, Mel began investigating human factors in the diving field, her pursuits eventually leading her thousands of miles away across the pond to the UK and Gareth Lock. Mel also serves as an editor for the academic Journal of Human Performance in Extreme Environments.

Mark Gresham

Mark Gresham is the owner, President and CEO of PSI-PCI, Inc. A U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Gresham worked professionally in the dive industry for several years before joining Bill High’s PSI-PCI executive team in 1999. He apprenticed under High and became the owner of PSI-PCI in 2005. He has contributed directly to the development of scuba cylinder safety guidelines and training materials, and published cylinder safety bulletins. He is the co-author of the fifth edition of Inspecting Cylinders. Gresham provides technical training, information and consulting to cylinder manufacturers, USDOT, Compressed Gas Association, fire services, NOAA, NASA and many other entities that utilize high pressure cylinders as well as trained PSI-PCI inspectors worldwide. His leadership in development of the Oxygen Cylinder Cleaning course (the protocol adopted by NASA), and ongoing PSI-PCI Annual Updates keeps him at the forefront of the industry for knowledge and expertise. Seeing a need and requirements for valve service, he developed the Valve Repair Technician program. Additionally, the Eddy Current Technician program continues to be a source of invaluable information to hydrostatic testing requalifiers and other users. Today Gresham is considered by many to be the foremost authority on cylinder inspection and safety worldwide.

Jim Gunderson

Jim has been a diver since 1986. He began his diving career in Wyoming and has about 300 or so dives in high-altitude, fresh-water lakes. In 2001 he moved to Hawaii to pursue a degree in Marine Science (Oceanography) with an emphasis in Underwater Archaeology, from the University of Hawaii at Hilo. While there, he obtained his AAUS 100′ certification. In 2011 he became a NAUI Member. Currently, Jim has about 5000 logged dives and is a scuba course director trainer and a DAN Examiner. Jim is currently the Assistant Director of Training for DAN.

Jean Henry, PhD, and Clark Ross

Jean Henry and Clark Ross stopped in their tracks … one unique kayak and one manufacturer’s rep sat alone in a booth at the DEMA show, 1990.  Tapping into their backgrounds as whitewater river guides and SCUBA Instructor Trainers, they immediately realized the potential of this revolutionary new sit-on-top, self-bailing craft for expanding diving adventures.  Clark worked with the kayak manufacturer to design and produce the first-ever dive kayak, integrating features to meet the unique demands of safely utilizing the kayak to transport and provide surface support for a diver.  He created the Kayak Diving Division of Ocean Kayak and served as its Director.  Jean, a lifetime educator, recognized that a cross-sport requires cross-competence; she developed the first kayak diving training and certification materials for the diving industry, merging skills of paddling and diving. They are now working with the paddlesports community to bring paddleboards into the diving industry. Jean­ is a Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of Health Promotion and has been an All-American swimmer and D-1 coach, ARC Water Safety/Lifeguard Instructor Trainer and First Responder Trainer, and ACA whitewater Canoe/Kayak Instructor.  She is currently a SCUBA Instructor Trainer/Course Director for SEI.  Clark owned a whitewater river company and was a professional diver (underwater coordinator and stunt man for the movie industry).  He is currently a diving Instructor Trainer/Course Director for Scuba Educators International.  Clark and Jean are Co-Directors of the American WaterSports Association and both are listed in Who’s Who of Scuba Diving.  Their kayak diving expertise has been honed through lake dives, US coastal diving (all coasts), and manufacturer sponsored expeditions in the Caribbean, Sea of Cortez and Venezuela.  They have trained numerous kayak divers, as well as Kayak Diving instructors, watersports industry manufacturers’ staff, dive shop staff, and resort guides.

 

Karl Huggins

Karl Huggins has been the Director of the Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber Facility at the USC Wrigley Marine Science Center since 1992. He is noted for his work in decompression theory and models, which resulted in the Michigan Sea Grant (HUGI) tables and his participation in the development of the EDGE dive computer.

Karl is the 1990 recipient of the Leonard Greenstone Diving Safety Award, the DAN/Rolex Diver of the Year for 1993, the 2004 Conrad Limbaugh Memorial Award for Scientific Diving Leadership and the 2008 California Scuba Service Award.

Conner Jainese

Conner Jainese is a project scientist and graduate student at UC Santa Barbara. He has worked as an AAUS certified scientific diver at UC Santa Barbara since 2014, conducting underwater research at offshore oil platforms, nearshore artificial reefs, and natural reefs throughout the Northern Channel Islands. He has been a part of the Spotting Giant Sea Bass research team since its inception and has worked collaboratively with other giant sea bass research groups throughout Southern California.

Capt. John Kades

Captain John Kades has been an investigator/deputy coroner for the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office since October 2000. He has been a member of the department’s Special Operations Response Team (SORT) and has specialized in disaster operations, aircraft fatalities, drowning/SCUBA cases, and skeletal/buried body cases. He is currently one of the managers of the operations division that includes 6 lieutenants, 38 investigators, and approximately 30 forensic support staff. He also directly oversees the department’s Notifications Section, searching for and notifying the legal next of kin of the deceased.

As a member of the California State Coroner’s Association (CSCA) Captain Kades serves on the Association’s coroner curriculum development committee that recommends training standards for death investigations. He has a BA in criminal justice from UC Santa Barbara. He has been an active scuba diver since 1981. Kades spent 14 years as a public safety diver for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Underwater Search and Recovery team.

Ken Knezick

Ken Knezick is owner of Island Dreams Travel in Houston, Texas. He has logged more than 3,500 scuba dives and many thousands of hours underwater, quite literally around the world. From the Caribbean to the Pacific, his travels include most of the world’s great diving destinations. Ken served as Executive Director of Houston’s SEASPACE Exposition for 22 years. He is past President of Houston International Diver’s Club, and is a founding member of both the Houston Underwater Photographic Society (HUPS), and G.R.E.A.T., the Gulf Reef Environmental Action Team. Ken is a recipient of the PADI Project Aware/SEASPACE Environmental Awareness Award, and at DEMA he was honored with induction into the SSI Platinum Pro 5000 Society. An accomplished underwater photographer, when not actually diving Ken enjoys writing short stories, travelogues, and presenting seminars and workshops at dive shows and dive clubs around the U.S.A.

Ken Kurtis

Ken Kurtis

Ken Kurtis was kicked out of swim class twice by the time he was six (he didn’t like putting his face in the water). Hardly an auspicious start to a diving career. But Ken always loved being around the water, loved looking at fish, and in 1978 while running a radio station in Richmond, VA, was offered a chance to get certified and took advantage of it. Ken then became a NAUI Instructor (Top Candidate at his 1980 ITC) and has logged over 5,000 dives all over the world in such varied places as the Maldives, Indonesia, Yap, Tahiti, Bonaire, Easter Island, Alaska, and, of course, his beloved waters of Southern California. Ken is the owner of Reef Seekers Dive Co., speaks frequently to dive clubs about diving techniques and safety issues, has been chairman of Chamber Day/Eve since the early 90s, served for 10 years as a member of the Statewide Interests Group for the MLPA, and is a volunteer dive team leader at the Aquarium of the Pacific. Ken is an accomplished photographer whose photos & stories can be found in the pages of the California Diving News, Undercurrent, and other scuba publications, along with the monthly Reef Seekers newsletter. Since 2003, Ken has been a Forensic Consultant to the L.A. County Department of Medical-Examiner/Coroner. With all that, he still finds time to maintain an acting career (he was the voice of most of the hockey announcers in the 2015 documentary “Red Army”) and leads most of the local and foreign trips for Reef Seekers. He’s a very good cook, avid Scrabble & Boggle player, chases total solar eclipses, ran five L.A. Marathons, and is kind to animals and small children. Be sure to ask him his mantra about divers.

Rick Lesser

Ten time Super Lawyer Rick Lesser brings over three decades of dive litigation experience to the seminar, based on his representation of some of the industry’s leading manufacturers and training agencies. Rick has lectured repeatedly at both the annual recreational dive industry trade show and the annual Commercial diving conference. A lifetime diver, he is also the author of multiple articles relating to dive safety, risk management and maritime law.

Jorge Lopez

Jorge Lopez is a Southern California native and attorney of 14 years. He is licensed to practice law in California and Texas and has represented plaintiffs and defendants in complex litigation involving dive accidents as well as represented dive centers, agencies, and equipment manufacturers in transactional matters. An avid diver himself, Jorge was certified in Laguna Beach and cut his teeth at Shaw’s Cove and Catalina Island. He now splits his time between Orange County and Grand Cayman and has continued to progress as a technical diver. Jorge is certified to the level of mixed gas CCR and dives a KISS rebreather.

Walter Marti

Walter Marti has been diving since 1974 and an underwater video filmmaker since 1985. His films have been shown in many International Film Festivals and Contests. He is a featured presenter at the yearly Crystal Blue Resort, Anilao CritterFest Workshops. His work has been seen in various feature productions by BBC, PBS, etc. His films have been a regular feature of the Scuba Show Film Festival.

Lisa Niver

Lisa Niver is a PADI Divemaster with over 30 years of underwater adventures. She spent seven years on cruise ships and has been diving with sharks from Bora Bora, French Polynesia to Jardines de la Reina in Cuba, dry suit diving in Juneau, Alaska, wreck diving to 130ft in Vanuatu on the SS President Coolidge, a volunteer diver at the Long Beach Aquarium, diving with bull sharks at Shark School in Mexico and writing about coral restoration and Lion Fish hunting in Bonaire. She has traveled to more than 100 countries on six continents. Niver is an award-winning travel expert who founded We Said Go Travel in 2010 and now writes for WIRED, Teen Vogue, USA Today 10Best among many others. Her memoir, Brave-ish, One Breakup, Six Continents, and Feeling Fearless After 50, will be available in 2023. She is a KTLA TV travel expert and her YouTube videos on diving, travel, and more have over 1.5 million views. See her videos, articles, awards, and interviews here: https://lisaniver.com/one-page/.

Dan Orr

Dan Orr

Dan Orr is President of Dan Orr Consulting providing a variety of services to the diving community. Dan retired from the position of President of Divers Alert Network (DAN) where he helped DAN focus on its worldwide diving safety mission. Prior to coming to DAN, he worked and taught recreational diving in a retail store, developed and implemented course curricula in the academic environment, collected data and supervised research efforts in the field of science diving and tested diving equipment for military contractors. Dan has served on the Boards of various not-for-profit organizations during his career including The Historical Diving Society (President and Chairman of the Board), Diving Equipment & Marketing Association (DEMA -Chairman of the Board), Academy of Underwater Arts & Sciences (President), Force Blue (Chairman of the Board), Best Publishing Company (Chairman of the Board), WCH Media Group (Chairman of the Board) and The Institute of Diving.

He has published and co-authored over 200 articles and a dozen books and manuals including:  101 Tips for Recreational Divers, Scuba Diving Safety, Pocket Guide to First Aid for Scuba Diving Injuries; Pocket Guide for Hazardous Marine Life Injuries; and the DAN Oxygen First Aid for Scuba Diving Injuries Training Manual.

He has also been the recipient of many prestigious awards and honors including the NOGI Award in Sports/Education, the Leonard Greenstone Award for Diving Safety, the Our World-Underwater Award, Beneath the Sea’s Diver of the Year, the Wyland Foundation Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Hall of Fame for Divers with Disabilities, the DEMA Reaching Out Award, Inductee into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame and the NAUI Hall of Honor.

Brook Peterson

Brook Peterson is an avid scuba diver and underwater photographer who enjoys capturing the beauty of the underwater environment throughout the world. She is an original SEA&SEA Alpha ambassador. Her award winning work has been featured in both print and online magazines.

Brook is the owner and author of WaterdogPhotography.com, an online resource for underwater photographers. She writes tutorials on underwater photography and leads expeditions to diving destinations throughout the world where she coaches photographers of all levels.

Keith Rootsaert

Keith Rootsaert has been a SCUBA diver in Monterey since 1984 and is very active in the local diving community. Rootsaert is a past president and dive coordinator of the Monterey Bay Sea Otters Dive Club, holds a diving seat on the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council and works as a Dive Master for local dive boats and dive shops. In 2022 he became the executive director of the California Kelp Restoration Corps, a non-profit membership organization dedicated to restoring California’s kelp forests. He has enjoyed over 1000 dives in his 35 years of diving in places such as Mexico, Bonaire, the Cayman Islands, Florida, Hawaii, and Washington state, but most of his diving is logged in the cold waters along the California coast.

Rootsaert will speak about his extensive experience with Reef Check California and the “Urchin Experiment” in the Pacific Grove Gardens Marine Conservation Area. His latest Kelp Restoration Project in Monterey at Tanker’s Reef allows volunteers to cull an unlimited number of purple and red sea urchins. The 25 acre project is closely monitored by the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Ocean Protection Council and Reef Check California. The efforts of over 600 dives by volunteers culling over 400 thousand urchins is making a measured difference in the kelp forest community and changing people’s attitudes about the role of divers in providing ecosystem services.

The presentation will be of interest to divers who have witnessed the transformation of California’s kelp forests and provides an avenue to participate in group efforts to remove large urchin barrens and restore the kelp forest ecosystem they enjoy. For more information please see g2kr.com.

Jess Rosas

Jess Rosas is an active County of Los Angeles SCUBA &  Skin/Freedive Instructor who been involved with training and educating SCUBA divers, freedivers and dive leaders in local oceanographic patterns and processes for safe exploration of the coastal and offshore island waters of Los Angeles County for the past 21 years through emphasis and practice of critical watermanship skills, repetitive acclimation and exposure to the differing seasonal turbulence patterns of the Los Angeles County nearshore coastal environment.

He has been an active volunteer with the County of Los Angeles Department of Parks & Recreation Underwater Unit Programs for the past 21 years as lead instructor trainer for the Underwater Instructor Certification Course (UICC), program director/lead instructor for the Rocks, Rips & Reefs (“3Rs”) program, and a lead instructor for the Advanced Diver Program (ADP).

His work with the Los Angeles County Underwater Unit programs has been profiled in California Diver and NAUI Sources magazines, and he is also an active speaker to various dive clubs and organizations.

Jess has also served as a Board Member of the Los Angeles County Underwater Instructors Association.

Jess has been recognized for his service to the County of Los Angeles Underwater Unit programs as a recipient of the prestigious Conrad Limbaugh Award, and the “Outstanding Instructor” award, given by the Los Angeles County Instructor Association. Jess is also an NAUI instructor & Instructor Trainer and active SSI Instructor.

Andy Sallmon and Allison Vitsky Sallmon

Andy Sallmon and Allison Vitsky Sallmon are a photojournalism/photography team that has been working together since 2010. Individually, their work has been recognized in international underwater and nature photography competitions, featured on the walls of aquariums and museums, and published in books and magazines on diving, nature, and photography. Their images and articles are among the most published in North American diving media today. The two combined have over 60 years of recreational and technical diving experience with more than 10,000 dives all over the world, however, their favorite place to dive is the rich, temperate water of their home state: California. Andy and Allison live in San Diego.

Dale and Kim Sheckler

Dale Sheckler has been actively diving California since 1973, Kim since 1982. The couple founded California Diving News in 1984 and published and edited the magazine until December of 2011. They are now contributing writers for the publication. They also founded the Scuba Show in 1987 and produced it successfully until 2011. Kim and Dale have authored many books including Southern California’s Best Beach Dives and Diving and Snorkeling Guide to the Channel Islands. In 2012 they were presented with the California Scuba Service Award for their many years of tremendous service to the California diving community.

Marty Snyderman

An inductee into DEMA’s SCUBA diving Hall of Fame, Marty Snyderman is a proud recipient of DEMA’s 2008 Reaching Out Award. He is also an EMMY Award winning cinematographer, still photographer, author and speaker specializing in the marine environment. Marty is being honored by the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences in the field of the Arts as the 2018 NOGI recipient. As he has been for many years, Marty serves as the Marine Life Editor and columnist for Dive Training magazine and as the Senior Editor and columnist for California Diving News.

Jim & Pat Stayer

The Stayers, Explorer Club Fellows and Boston Sea Rovers Associate Members, are well-known underwater filmmakers dedicated to sharing shipwrecks, animal behavior, and remote dive destinations around the world. Jim & Pat have discovered several historic shipwrecks, co-authored 3 books, produced hundreds of multimedia presentations, and their footage has appeared on numerous major networks worldwide.  They have directed several evening film festivals and are popular presenters across North America. The couple has been diving for 47 years and ran a charter boat on the Great Lakes.  Jim is a USCG Captain and Pat is in the Women Divers Hall of Fame. Together they have led an amazing life of adventure.

Dr. Tabby Stone

Dr. Stone is a retired pediatrician in the Los Angeles area. He has been an avid diver since his initial certification in 1979. Shortly after that, he developed an interest in diving medicine. He is a past president of the Pacific Chapter of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society and wrote the Medical Facts column for Discover Diving magazine from 1988 to 1999.

Mark Strickland

Mark Strickland’s life-long connection with the sea has included 10,000+ dives and careers as ocean lifeguard, captain, scuba instructor, and live-aboard cruise director. An accomplished underwater photographer and passionate conservationist, his editorial credits include several books, periodicals like BBC Wildlife, Conde Nast, Geo, National Geographic World, Nature’s Best, Natural History, Outside and most major dive magazines. Mark is also co-author and primary photographer of Lonely Planet’s award-winning book, “Diving and Snorkeling Thailand”. His images have been displayed at the Smithsonian Institution, United Nations Visitor Center, and galleries including G2 in Venice, CA. Mark currently serves in various roles at Bluewater Photo, including leading international trips each year to his favorite dive destinations.

Devon Tompkins

Devon Tompkins has been shooting underwater photos since 1979. His diving experience encompasses recreational, commercial, and scientific diving. Now in his 20th year as the preeminent underwater housing service technician, his company Pacific Housing Repair and is the Sea & Sea Service Center for North America, as well as the warranty repair center for Aquatica. Devon’s u/w photographic interest concentrates on the realm of extreme light spectrum imaging; ultraviolet and infrared.

Bonnie Toth

Bonnie Toth is creative director and owner of Bonnie Toth Advertising & Design in San Clemente, CA. In collaboration with Karen Straus, she designed and produced Dottie’s memoir, Trailblazer: The Extraordinary Life of Diving Pioneer Dottie Frazier. Over the last fifteen years, Bonnie has volunteered countless hours behind the scenes to promote, grow, and raise awareness for the Women Divers Hall of Fame, twice chairing its board of trustees and serving as president and treasurer for two terms. Bonnie is currently the Managing Editor for the Journal of Diving History.

Women Diver Hall of Fame Members are the pioneers, leaders, innovators and world record holders throughout the international diving community. These areas of diving and undersea endeavors include: the Arts, Science, Medicine, Exploration & Technology, Underwater Archeology, Business, Media, Training & Education, Safety, Commercial & Military Diving, Free Diving, and Underwater Sports. There are currently 250 Members in the Women Divers Hall of Fame, hailing from 30 U.S. states and Territories and 20 countries worldwide.

WDHOF provides educational, mentorship, financial, and career opportunities to the diving community throughout the world. Each year, WDHOF awards scholarships and training grants that provide financial and educational support to individuals of all ages. To date WDHOF has awarded over half a million dollars to over 500 individuals.

Steve Wertz

Steve Wertz is a Senior Environmental Scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). Since 1991, he has served CDFW on variety of marine research and management projects. In 2008, Steve became involved in the design and implementation of California’s globally recognized network of marine protected areas (MPAs). Designed using a scientifically guided, stakeholder-driven approach, the MPA Network consists of 124 individual MPAs and 14 special closures that encompass approximately 16% of California’s jurisdictional waters, with 9% in no-take MPAs. As California approaches the 10-year anniversary of network completion, Steve and his amazing crew are preparing the first comprehensive review of the MPA Management Program and progress of the MPA Network towards meeting the ecosystem-focused goals of the Marine Life Protection Act.

Rochelle “Shelli” Wright

Rochelle Wright is Manager of Commercial Programs at DAN, Divers Alert Network. Shelli’s current role at DAN allows her to engage with professionals and businesses about the many facets in the diving industry. She is currently licensed in all 50 states and has been a licensed agent in the industry for over 25 years actively working with all lines of insurance products.

Shelli is also an avid scuba diver and holds certifications for instructor, full cave and technical diver. She also serves on the board of a large scuba club in the Raleigh/Durham area of North Carolina.

With her extensive experience in the industry, Shelli combines her knowledge of insurance and her passion for diving into risk mitigation and safety education.

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