What inspired you to become a diver?
I come from a family of divers (in the Midwest!) so diving was our favorite way to spend our vacations – and get away from those cold Kansas winters.
Why did you decide to become a PADI Divemaster?
I always knew I’d move to an island at some point in my life so I decided to combine my love for diving with photo/video and soon enough I was on my way to Grand Cayman with a job as an underwater videographer. After Hurricane Ivan hit, I lost everything so I decided to send my magazine and video clips to Sport Diver magazine. The rest is history.
What is a day in the life like for you as an magazine editor?
Editing and writing articles is obviously part of the job but I actually spend the vast majority of my time brainstorming ideas with other divers, writers and photographers. Aside from diving, it’s my favorite part. We have a great team of contributors who keep us up-to-date on what’s happening on the road so it feels like we always have our fingers on the pulse of the dive industry.
What do you think are the most important personal characteristics to have a job like yours?
An adventurous spirit and a love for diving is definitely key. The second you become jaded or feel entitled it seems the focus disappears right along with the passion. It’s important to keep things fresh and have an open mind.
What are some things a diver should have on his/her resume for a job like yours?
A love for diving is important but the golden team members are the ones that think outside of the box – those who are proactive and get a thrill out of coming up with new story ideas and projects. Working with those people is great for the team as a whole for the pure fact that their energy can be contagious. We also tend to flock toward the more adventurous people who have traveled/backpacked around the world and/or lived as expats. The travel bug is always a good thing.
How has your PADI training benefited you in your career?
Without becoming a PADI Divemaster I never would have lived my dream as an underwater videographer in Grand Cayman. And without that experience I never would have had the drive to apply at Sport Diver. That decision whole-heartedly changed my life, and while it sounds cheesy, I’ll never forget the day I made that decision and I’ll always be grateful for the path it has created for me.
Any bits of advice for divers who aspire to a job like yours?
Believe it or not, sometimes the best gift is the one that has been disguising itself as a storm.
What underwater critter would you like to see that you haven’t already?
The glorious great white!
What is your favorite place to dive?
Rainbow River. It’s the most magical fresh water spring and it’s right here in Florida. You can dive it for over an hour (wear a 7 mil) but it’s filled with freshwater springs and even fossils of shark teeth.
What’s your favorite movie about scuba diving, or the ocean?
Splash. (Tom Hanks, Darryl Hannah, 80s dive gear … what’s not to love? )
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