New Leaders of the Diving Industry

New Leaders of the Diving Industry –
by Gene Muchanski
Editor, The Dive Industry Professional 

It’s taken thirty years to return full circle to recognizing the true Leaders of the Diving Industry.  Of course it took an economic meltdown caused by a worldwide pandemic to make us realize that our recreation is dependent on Dive Industry Professionals who create and maintain our market by selling dive equipment, training and travel.  Like in the game, Musical Chairs, when the music stopped in our industry, the only ones that found a seat were the the Dive Industry Professionals who had developed a solid customer base over the years.  Customers they kept in contact with during the lock-down.  Customers that will join them again when the market opens.  Customers that will keep them in business while others are going out of business.  These are the true leaders of the diving industry and it’s about time we gave them the recognition they have earned.  Because without them, many of our big dive companies wouldn’t exist.  That goes for equipment manufacturers, training agencies and travel companies.

So who are these unsung heroes that have managed to escape our eternal gratitude and recognition?  Why it’s those Scuba Instructors who teach people how to dive.  Dive Store Retailers who sell dive equipment to new divers so they can go diving.  And Dive Travel  Specialists who take those new divers on exciting diving adventurers, both locally and worldwide.  These are the people who are responsible for creating the market we have for the programs, products and services we all sell.  They maintain the market for us by acquiring, retaining and recapturing customers for all of us.  And it’s because of them that our market and our recreation grows.

You might ask who benefits from all of their hard work.  The Training Agencies sell a ton of certifications.  Dive Equipment Manufacturers sell a lot of gear.  Travel wouldn’t be the multi-trillion dollar industry it is without a reason to travel.  Apparel companies, service businesses and non-profit organizations all benefit from a healthy market when economic times are good.  And that’s a good thing.  Many of the “Opinion Leaders” that we admire so much because of their films, photos and seminars would have no outlet for their craft if not for the divers that are created by hard working industry professionals.

It’s going to take a long time for the diving industry to catch up to where it was before the pandemic.  And if I remember correctly, the market has been flat or declining for almost twenty years!  I know hundreds of dive businesses that are praying to get back even a small percentage of that old declining market.  To do that we need to adopt a plan that will put us back to work, doing what we do, by servicing our current customers.

Forget about trying to find new divers in this market at this time.  The quickest way to get back on our feet is to reach out to our current customers and get them diving again.  They are already trained and if we get them diving again, they’ll buy more gear or have their gear serviced.  We’ll sell more dive gear and travel.  Two out of three isn’t bad, considering the alternative.  The two groups of industry professionals that should have a customer database are the dive instructors and retail dive stores.

As spelled out in our DIVE LOCAL website at www.divelocal.org  we drew up local dive communities by geographical regions and states.  We listed the dive stores that are open to the public and are teaching diving, selling gear and conducting travel.   We added the Manufacturing Sales Reps who are in constant contact with their dealers and we added the dive equipment companies they work for.  This forms the basis for our recreational recovery.  As the dive stores reach out to their current customers and then to their former customers, the industry should start to improve.  We can shift our focus to finding new customers after we get on our feet again.  That will give the training agencies a chance to recover.  Right now, the priority has to be on the “acres of diamonds” in our own back yards – our current customers.

The last thing I want to mention is that things are going to be different from this point onward.  There has already been a shift in priorities in the business of diving in our recreation.  Many Dive Shows have been cancelled.  The DEMA Show was cancelled for the year.  We can’t wait a year and a half before we meet with our customers or vendors again.  There may not be the need for dive shows anymore if our recreation doesn’t recover.  Right now, the industry is looking for dive leaders who will get their current customers back in the water and do the things they need to do to build their business.  Maybe now is the time to learn more about databases and customer contacts than it is about what level of Instructor you are?  This is not the time to spend money on building your resume or wishing you could be at a party impressing people with your qualifications (the qualifications that are giving you zero income right now).  It’s time to roll our sleeves up and get to work producing results for our business or our employer’s business.  It’s time to be a Producer – not a Player.  Our recreation’s future is counting on you.  Let’s get to work.

I hope you found this article at least thought provoking.  It’s actually one article that didn’t just come off the top of my head.  The basis of the article came from conversations with a number of industry leaders in our field.  Leaders that are still running their businesses and actually doing better than most.  It also is based on a number of observations we’ve shared  among our peers in the industry.  While many business leaders are confused or clueless in today’s economy, there are a number of you that are seeing a very bright silver lining in the dark clouds ahead of us.  I know that you will do very well by altering your course to get your company to safe harbors.  I am hoping to do the same.  Here’s to a safe passage.

Posted in Business Improvement, COVID-19 Related | Leave a comment

Editorial – June 2020

As We Move Forward –
by Gene Muchanski
Editor, The Dive Industry Professional 

The COVID-19 Pandemic is not the only catastrophe we are dealing with this year.   We have, are, or will be dealing with the corona virus, a devastated economy, civil unrest, future economic uncertainty and the potential for a number of destructive hurricanes this year.  All happening in an election year.  What can we do?  I recommend that we all Think, Plan, Act and Move Forward.

In this new century and in the new normal of a post-covid-19 era, we have to think about what is important to us.  Our life, our family, our friends, our business, and our purpose in life.  It’s time to think and not to react or blindly follow.  We have to decide what is important to us and to keep our eye on our life’s goals as we move along the path of challenges and opportunities.

We have to plan for the future.  I have always done better at things when I had something to work toward.  Having a plan gives you a road-map to follow that has a beginning, a middle and an end.  If you’ve planned correctly, your ending is more likely to be a successful one and given a few course corrections, have a higher degree of confidence that you will achieve your desired outcomes.  The best thing I like about plans is that you are making a public commitment to yourself and others about what you are working toward and why.  No hidden agendas.  No flying by the seat of your pants.  Just a plan saying to the world, “This is what I am doing with my life. This is me on paper”

When you have a plan and something to work toward, it’s easier to get into action.  Without a plan, we have a tendency to do nothing.  Especially if there are a lot of distractions around us or obstacles in our way.  How many of you are paralyzed right now because of the uncertainty in the world?  Well, don’t be.  It’s time to take action.

Moving forward is the only way we are going to make progress. Making progress is good for the soul.  It makes us think, plan and act.  It restores our confidence in our selves, our industry and our world.  It’s the actions we take that make us realize that we are indeed, the masters of our lives and the architects of our dreams.  In the final moments of our life we will probably not regret the things we’ve done as much as the things we didn’t do.

With so many dive shows being cancelled this year in addition to the annual DEMA Show being cancelled, the diving industry has come to the realization that we are on our own.  On our own to think, plan, and act so that we can move our businesses forward in the way that is best for us and our customers.  The bond that builds a successful business is the bond between buyers and sellers.  

As we move forward in the new millennium, I want you to know that Dive Industry Association is here to work with you, as part of a global network that focuses on bringing buyers and sellers together to increase the sale and usage of diving equipment, training and travel products.  Our 18-page Members Guide spells out our member benefits that can help you sell more profitable products to more successful customers by being a part of our global dive business network.  Read Member Guide

For more information, contact:
Gene Muchanski, Executive Director
Dive Industry Association. Inc.
email: gene@diveindustry.net
Phone: 321-914-3778
Website: www.diveindustry.net

 

Posted in Editorials | Leave a comment

Building Customer Relationships – The Winning Key Ingredient

Building Customer Relationships – The Winning Key Ingredient –
by Gene Muchanski
Editor, The Dive Industry Professional 

As part of our post-COVID-19 rebuilding of the diving industry, I was looking for that magic silver bullet which could change the direction of the diving industry for the better.  Staying at home during the COVID-19 lock-down helped me see that the solution to our lack of industry growth has been right in front of us all this time.  Scuba diving is a social recreation.   It’s in our DNA – always dive with a buddy.

When our recreation got underway in the early 1960’s there were two types of certifications.  Diver and Instructor.  That’s all we needed to get our recreation off the ground and to tell you the truth, that’s all we need today as we rebuild our industry.  OK, I admit that we have a little wiggle room here.  But follow me.  We became divers because we loved the water and wanted to experience something new, exciting, or different.  We liked it so much that we wanted to teach our family and friends how to do it so we could share our experiences with others.  I became a diver when I was 15 years old and started teaching my friends how to dive right away.  Why?  Because I needed and wanted someone to dive with and there weren’t that many divers around back then.  Within a very short period of time I had a bunch of friends to go diving with. Of course, as the industry matured and I became old enough to be an Instructor, I enrolled in an Instructor Certification Course and set out to expand my inner circle of fellow divers.

Fast-forward 52 years later, after a long, successful career in the business of diving.  I realize that  a market for our recreation is created, maintained and grown by teaching people how to dive, selling them dive equipment, taking them diving and keeping them active.  What we have to realize now is that we MUST follow through with this concept in order for our industry to survive, rebuild and grow.  We can no longer create new divers and then abandon them.  It’s not the quantity that’s important anymore, it’s the quality.  Quality is forged by a bond between an experienced scuba diver and a new diver.  Creating numbers for numbers sake will not work in this post COVID-19 scenario.

As world economies begin rebuilding after the pandemic, cruise ships will suffer if they continue to focus on the numbers of passengers without paying attention to the impact these travelers are having on the ports-of-call they visit.  Travel writers are already blogging about Islands that are demanding less visitors, less environmental impact, less health risks but more spending per visitor.  They want quality visitors who will support their fragile economies, not drain it of its resources.  I believe the airlines will follow a similar path in terms of quality versus quantity.  Scuba Diving as a recreation would be wise to follow a similar approach.

Progressive Dive Industry Professionals are seeing that it is in their best interest to focus on teaching less people to dive, but teaching people who have a stronger desire to purchase their equipment, go diving and stay active in the recreation.  I think it is very important that diving instructors spend the necessary time to create a relationship with their students and help mentor them as active divers.  By learning how to create and maintain a professional relationships with their student, they will be able to maintain and protect the market they have created.  Creating a market for diving by certifying new divers is only good for you if you follow through.  Creating more divers and abandoning them to businesses that sell to the market you developed is a receipt for disaster.  These businesses have not developed a relationship with these new divers and will never care for them the way you do (or did).

Building customer relationships is the most important ingredient in business.  Creating a market and maintaining it properly will make the market grow.  When you don’t build a relationship with your students and you don’t protect your customer contact database, you are taking yourself out of the profit picture and handling over your customers to your competitors. Who are your competitors?  You would be very surprised to learn what we have discovered.

Dive Industry Association is teaching a course on the importance of building customer relationships.  It’s all about the acquisition, maintenance and recapture of your current customers, former customers and future customers.  The online, private course is $150.  It covers nine chapters of starting, growing and succeeding in your business.  The chapter on growth customers alone will make this course worthwhile to you in the new millennium.

Don’t let your competitors steal the market you created.  Take control of your customers, your business and your destiny.  If you want to succeed in this post-COVID-19 environment, you need to change the way you look at the business of diving.

For more information contact:
Gene Muchanski, Executive Director
Dive Industry Association, Inc.
eMail:  gene@diveindustry.net
Web: www.diveindustry.net

 

Posted in Business Improvement | Leave a comment

Editorial – May 2020

Rebuilding The Diving Industry –
by Gene Muchanski
Editor, The Dive Industry Professional 

The COVID-19 Pandemic has given us the opportunity to stop and think about what we do for a living.  And for a recreation.  With all this time on our hands, Dive Industry Professionals are faced with some hard realities on how to proceed in the future.  We know this pandemic is very serious.  It’s devastating to the health of our people and it’s devastating to our economy.  Without a doubt, this crisis will change the way we live, work and recreate.  So let’s deal with it, learn from it and move forward.

I’m a Dive Industry Marketing Professional. Not a Doctor, a Government Health Official or a Politician.  World leaders in the medical profession are studying the virus, trying to find treatments and cures for it and are working non-stop to save lives.  Organizations like the CDC are recommending precautionary measures for citizens to follow and we should heed their advice.  Business organizations like the Small Business Development Centers are helping Entrepreneurs apply for loans, obtain grants and learn how to navigate through this economic nightmare.  Even in the diving industry I am seeing encouraging work coming from some of our leading companies.  This pandemic will end and hopefully soon.  We will get through this and the rest of our lives will be in our hands.  It’s time to start planning for the future – a bright future.

In my opinion, the diving industry has and will change forever.  I don’t see us getting back to the way it used to be.  It will be different and in many, many years hopefully better.  Consider this to be our golden opportunity to rebuild the diving industry.  For the better.

Over the past sixty years, scuba diving as a recreation grew.  Many of our Founding Pioneers have since passed away and a second generation of diving adventurers have picked up where our pioneers left off.   I hope they remember what our pioneers did to make the recreation start, grow and succeed because we are at a point in time where we are going to have to rebuild the industry, post COVID-19.

The Dive Industry Association has a plan for rebuilding the diving industry,  It’s based on what our early pioneers did in creating the market for our recreation but not making the same mistakes we made in the past twenty years.  Our plan is spelled out in our campaign DIVE LOCAL.  Scuba diving started out as a local social recreation.  Scuba Diving enthusiasts bought or made diving equipment to enjoy the wonders of their local rivers, lakes, quarries and oceans.  Being social animals they taught their family and friends how to dive.  On Weekends they went diving together – locally.  Divers started talking pictures underwater, exploring shipwrecks, and doing some wonderful underwater exploration.  As the travel industry matured, divers had more options and oceans to explore.  During the off-season divers read scuba diving magazines, joined dive clubs and went to local dive shows and film festivals.  As more people took up diving, the sales of diving equipment, training and travel increased.  More dive stores opened up, more companies distributed diving equipment and certification agencies grew. Dive travel was introduced and blossomed.  Three things started the industry on its decline.  The Baby Boom generation got older and new population numbers decreased.  The 21st arrived and the industry was still using 20th business tools or none at all.  COVID-19 brought the world to an all halt.  But there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and hopefully it’s not a train.

We can start rebuilding our industry right now.  As we learn to deal with the corona virus and stay safe, let’s rebuild our recreational infrastructure.   We start by creating Regional Territories, made up of states, made up of local diving communities.  As outlined in our website www.divelocal.org we make Dive Stores the center of each Local Dive Community.  Add the Equipment Sales Reps who visit these stores and then the diving equipment companies that reside in these communities.  Next we add the Training Agency Sales Reps and the agencies they represent that visit the Retailers.  The completion of the first phase of this rebuilding is to add Local Dive Travel Specialists who sell local and extended dive travel.  We now have a complete Local Diving Community of Dive Industry Professionals.  All that’s left to do is add the Local Divers and we have a complete Local Diving Community.

Our new White Paper, The Rebuilding of Local Diving Communities will spell out, step-by-step how the diving industry can rebuild itself post-COVID-19.

For more information, contact:
Gene Muchanski, Executive Director
Dive Industry Association, Inc.
email: gene@diveindustry.net

 

 

Posted in Editorials | Leave a comment

DIA Continues To Rebuild Local Dive Communities

Rebuilding Local Diving Communities
by Gene Muchanski, Executive Director
Dive Industry Association, Inc.

Local Diving Communities are the backbone of the Diving Industry.  Markets for our programs, products and services are created locally, nurtured locally and maintained locally.  Our recreation grows because of Local Diving Communities that teach people to dive, sell them dive equipment, take them diving and keep them active in the recreation.

The Diving Industry got its start, as we know it today, about sixty (60) years ago.  It was a different time, a different demographic and a different world.  The recent challenges we are facing due to a global pandemic is making us all realize we have not given our recreation the nurturing it needs to stay relevant in the 21st Century.  Nor have we kept up with the modern tools and technologies that enable businesses to better serve their customers.   The diving business community is not operating on all cylinders but the passion for diving continues in the generations that have followed the first diving pioneers.

Before the older generation of Dive Industry Professionals turns over the baton to the next generation of Industry Leaders, we owe it to them to rebuild the recreation and restore it to its former glory.  As Madonna has done countless of times, we need to reinvent ourselves for the 21st Century.

The Dive Industry Association is rebuilding the Diving Industry, Worldwide.  Why now and why us?  Primarily because we have a plan to right the industry and we have the support and encouragement of our Members and the International Dive Business Community.  Why us?   Because we want a better industry for all Divers – Dive Industry Professionals and Recreational Divers alike.  We are tired of the industry fragmentation, the petty political bickering and the rush to vertically integrate dive companies in order to gain market share and industry control.  Let’s face it.  As an Industry, what we have done in the past is not working any more.  The time to recreate the diving industry has come.  And we all have a part to play in the rebuilding.

Dive Industry Association started this campaign to rebuild the diving industry with its first comprehensive direct mail campaign in over 7 years.  Read our blog, dated April 14, 2020.  I guess we were not the only ones who stopped using direct mail and got in the bad habit of only using electronic marketing?  That was a hugh mistake and I believe we all paid a high price for that error in judgement.   With Direct Mail, thanks to Modern Postcard,  we started rebuilding Local Diving Communities on a State and Regional level.  The center of each State Diving Community are the Local Dive Stores.  Our current count is 1581, but we know that will change in the days to come.  Each Dive Store belongs to a State Diving Community which is a part of a larger Regional Diving Community.  Each Dive Store is invited to participate in growing its own Local Diving Community.

On Thursday we will conduct our second direct mail campaign to reach the 157 Dive Equipment Manufacturing Reps in our database.  At the same time we will be inviting 443 Dive Equipment Manufacturers to join our rebuilding process.  Again, these numbers will change as we verify the Manufacturing Companies and their Sales Agents.

The campaign to rebuild our Local Diving communities is multi-phased and is part of our total industry plan.  The entire plan focuses on bringing Buyers and Sellers together to increase the market and grow the recreation.  The primary focus of growing the market is to increase the sales of diving equipment, training and travel.  We encourage all Dive Industry Professionals and Recreational Divers alike to follow our progress in unifying the diving industry through Local Diving Communities.  Every Diver has a part to play in order to grow our recreation.  No one is excluded and every Diver can be a part of this industry (recreation) rebirth.

So the first phase of this campaign is underway with bringing in Dive Stores, Sales Reps and Equipment Manufacturers.  We will launch our second mailing on Thursday, May 7, 2020 to include equipment manufacturers and their Sales Agents.  Phase 2 will include adding the Training Stakeholders to the mix and inviting the Local Training Reps and their Agencies to join and support their respective Local Diving Community.  Phase 3 will include inviting local Travel companies to participate in the campaign to increase the sales of travel for their travel companies worldwide.  With the completion of the first three phases to the program, the industry should have the beginning of new Local Diving Communities that focus on the sales of diving equipment, training and travel in order to grow the recreation by 1) Teaching people how to dive 2) Selling them dive equipment 3) Taking them diving 4) Keeping them active.

But our program of rebuilding the diving industry doesn’t stop there.  After focusing on the sale of diving equipment, training and travel, there are many more phases to the rebuilding process.   The industry has many different stakeholder groups and industries that specialize in diving, water sports and adventure travel.  The final analysis will not be in completing the project but in seizing opportunities as we create them along the way.

This is going to be FUN – Rebuilding our Industry – The right way this time.

For more information contact:
Gene Muchanski, Executive Director
Dive Industry Association
email:  gene@diveindustry.net
Trade Web: www.diveindustry.net
Project Web: www.divelocal.org

 

Posted in Business Improvement, Local Diving | Leave a comment

Important Message From Pro Dive International

IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM OUR STAFF AT PRO DIVE INTERNATIONAL

Dear Friends!

If you are one of the many people we have hosted on our boats, you will know, we think of you as family. We love showing you the beauty of the underwater world, and to share our passion with you!

Unfortunately, COVID-19, for now has shut us down. Our company is doing everything possible to take care of us, but with operations closed and no customers diving, of course it’s difficult. With more than 150 people, we are a big bunch at Pro Dive, plus families attached. And, in our country, employment insurance is not available, nor other forms of effective government aid, to help us through this time.

So, our friends at SeaSave suggested to support us with this fundraiser. We think, it’s a great and very humble idea, for which we are grateful, and we hope you feel the same.

Needless to say, that 100% of the proceeds of this fundraiser will be received exclusively by us, the Pro Dive staff, in order to help cover our salary payments.

Please help us now, to support ourselves and our families through this rough patch.  We promise to be back, and ready to serve you again as soon as the COVID-19 crisis is over, hopefully very soon!  Stay safe and healthy, and thank you!

Your Pro Dive International Team.   https://donorbox.org/prodive

Your assistance with the matter will be greatly appreciated, especially by our staff.  Thanks and stay well!

Markus Fleischmann
CEO & President
Pro Dive International Dive Centers
Mexico & Dominican Republic
+52 (1) 984 802 8387 Corporate Office Mexico
+52 (1) 984 745 0763 Reservations Central
prodiveinternational.com
idcmexico.com

Posted in COVID-19 Related, Press Release | Leave a comment

Women Divers Hall Of Fame Scholarships

Women Divers Hall of Fame celebrates their 20th Anniversary
By offering 20 Learn-to-Dive Training Grants in 2020!

The WDHOF Scholarship Program was created in 2002 with the first scholarships: An annual WDHOF Scholarship for divers seeking to expand their knowledge of diving, the Hillary Viders Ph.D. Scholarship for divers enrolled in college programs or field work in marine science and conservation, and the Lifeguard Systems scholarships for public safety diving qualifications. Scholarships were, and continue to be, presented in the spring.

Since 2002, when WDHOF awarded those first three scholarships, the program has grown to 63 scholarships and training grants in 2020, sponsored both by individual patrons (including WDHOF members and Associates) and by WDHOF through donations given on-line or through our annual fundraisers – at DEMA: Tropical Dreams and Paradise Sunsets, at Beneath the Sea: the WDHOF Scholar Brunch and through the WDHOF annual dive trips. Many of the names and descriptions of the scholarships and training grants have evolved over the years, but continue to be sponsored by our supporters, Members, and Associates.

As of 2020, the Women Divers Hall of Fame has awarded over half a million dollars to 421 individuals.  Nobody else in the dive industry is doing anything of this magnitude and we are proud to announce…  “20 for 20” 

20 Learn-to-Dive Training Grants in 2020

To celebrate the Women Divers Hall of Fame 20th Anniversary, we are excited to announce 20 unique training grants for open water dive training.  After all, none of the amazing women in WDHOF would be where they are today if it were not for an open water certification in their past. For many, this experience opened up an entirely new world of possibilities.  WDHOF wants to give this opportunity to others.

Therefore, beginning April 1, 2020, WDHOF is opening up applications for 20 Open Water Certifications worth $1000 each; this can be spent entirely on training or a combination of training and equipment.*

Applicants can visit www.WDHOF.org to apply. Applications are now open and will close on May 31, 2020.

The selection will be made on or before July 1, 2020.  This grant is open to any and all women of any age who want to learn how to dive. 

*Equipment up to $500

Posted in Scholarships | Leave a comment

Building A Local Diving Community

Building A Local Diving Community –
by Gene Muchanski
Editor, The Dive Industry Professional 

A local diving community consists of all Recreational Divers and Dive Industry Professionals in a given geographic territory.  At the center of every local diving community is a group of Retail Dive Centers.   Retailers serve the industry as the market creators, market ambassadors, and market maintainers.  The front line ambassadors of a local market are dive instructors, dive stores, dive travel specialists and dive clubs.   Their purpose is to create a market for the industry, maintain that market and grow the recreation.  Every Dive Industry Professional should know that the number one mission of the diving industry should be to:  1) Teach people to dive  2) Sell them diving equipment 3) Take them diving and 4) Keep them active in the recreation.  Dive instructors create the market by teaching people how to dive.   Retail Dive Centers sell diving equipment to get people in the water.  Tour Operators and Dive Travel Specialists take people diving, both locally and internationally.  Dive Clubs, Event Producers and Media companies keep people active in the recreation.  So to build an active local diving community, it requires that every dive industry professional do their part in the creating, maintaining and growing their own community or market.

What was lacking in the 20th Century Plan to grow our recreation was a logical reason why we were building a local diving community in the first place.  As early scuba diving enthusiasts we wanted to share our love of the recreation with our family, friends and neighbors.  We were all caught up in the short term gratification of getting people to try scuba diving.  There was never a long term plan to get people to become scuba divers.  Somehow the faulty logic that scuba diving was cool but it was so expensive got into our industry DNA.  We believed it and passed it on to our students, who became scuba instructors and passed it on to their students.  We still hear that illogical argument today.  Today – in a world where there are more million dollar boats than scuba instructors.  Stores that sell more $100,000 Automobiles, $30,000 Motorcycles, $15,000 Watches, $10,000 Computers, and $500 Sneakers than we sell scuba diving equipment!  Enough with the minimum wage mentality.  Scuba Diving, like any other recreation, has a certain cost to it.  People today are smart enough to understand the cost – benefit – value of any recreational option.  Let’s help our customers reach a personal purchasing decision that is right for them and give them a sufficient number of buying options to help them become the divers they want to be.

In the 21st Century we need to focus on teaching people to dive, selling them the diving equipment they need, want and can afford, taking them diving and keeping them active. We need to think about creating a local diving community around us like we did in the last century but this time we also need to think of it as building a market for the things we sell.  Things that help people become scuba divers, go scuba diving and stay active as scuba divers. We also need to remind ourselves that after we build a market for our programs, products and services that we don’t lose or not follow-up on that market.

The economic engine for growth in our industry is centered around the sales of diving equipment, training and travel.  The Retail Dive Center is the heartbeat of the industry because they specialize in the sale of these three categories and they do all four things necessary to create, grow and succeed in the market. In doing that, each store builds a circle of influence around them that perpetuates the recreation.  If they are as enthusiastic about sharing diving with others as they are about diving itself, their store becomes the glue that holds their local diving community together.  That is the sole reason we start with local dive stores when we attempt to build and support a local diving community.

Dive Industry Association has a plan.  As a Trade Association that focuses on the business of diving issues for the industry, our mission is to create a sustainable diving industry by bringing buyers and sellers together.  Our first step is to create Local Diving Communities Worldwide.  We created a strategic plan, a manifesto so-to-speak,  that covers the scope of the project as well as the breakdown of actionable items that will help us achieve our desired outcomes in a logical and organized manner.

We started by verifying all of the Retail Dive Centers in the United States that we have contact information for. Over 1,800 postcards were mailed to these stores at the beginning of April.  As we receive notification of bad addresses and change of addresses, we follow up with a phone call to the store or by checking out their websites.  Either way, at the end of the campaign we should have a good base of stores to begin with.  Each week we will be following-up with all the dive stores in one state.  We’ll ask the current retailers to look at our list of stores in their state to see if they can verify their fellow retailers.  We are also looking to add any contact information we currently don’t have, like store owners and managers, phone numbers and email addresses.   When each state is finished, we will have a core group of dive stores in each state to begin building a Regional Dive Community.  A map of our proposed Regional Diving Communities are listed on our website at www.divelocal.org  In the United States we have active diving communities in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Bahamas & Caribbean, North Central, South Central, Northwest, Southwest and Pacific.  States that are included in these regions are listed on the website.

Our first state to follow-up on after our mailing is Alaska.  The State of Alaska is part of the Northwest Region of the United States.  We currently have 17 dive stores in the state that accounts for 1% of the 1804 dive stores in the US.  The Northwest Region has 127 dive stores, accounting for 7% of the total dive stores in the US.  Our follow-up of the Alaska Dive Stores will include speaking to manufacturing sales reps in the region and dive equipment companies who have these stores as their Dealers.  Since our mission is to bring Buyers & Sellers together in the diving industry, it should be a very positive issue with the local Dive Stores, Sales Reps and Manufacturers to have a complete and accurate contact information listing of all the dive stores in the area.  As you can see by the postcard text, the Dive Industry Association is inviting each Retail Dive Center to become a member of the Dive Industry Retail Association, which is a part of the Dive Industry Association.  The purpose, focus and mission of the Retail Association is to create a local market for our member stores and work to maintain and grow these markets.

In the coming months we will add all of the other Dive Industry Professionals to their respective local diving community.  In an orderly fashion, we will next add Training Agencies and their Regional Sales Reps.  After that will be the dive travel sector with their Local Dive Operators, Liveaboards, and Dive Travel Specialists.  There are many other Dive Industry Professional Groups we have plans for, but we can discuss that at a later time.  The ultimate goal is to add certified divers to each regional dive community to complete the process.  At that point we will have created a local diving community of buyers and sellers who have learned to dive, bought their equipment, gone diving and stayed active in the recreation.

***

If you think we are on the right track with this DIVE LOCAL program, please contact Gene Muchanski to offer your assistance and support.

Dive Industry Association, Inc.
Gene Muchanski, Executive Director
email: gene@diveindustry.net
Web: www.diveindustry.net
Web: www.divelocal.org

Posted in Local Diving | Leave a comment

COVID-19 Effects on Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society

COVID-19 Effects on the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society®

Due to the unprecedented circumstances of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society will defer the 2020 Rolex Scholarships and the 2020 Internships until Summer 2021. Having just recently selected three new Rolex Scholars and five new Interns, the decision to postpone was not easy.  However, the Society’s Board of Directors recognizes the seriousness and uncertainty of the pandemic and decided it would be irresponsible and potentially unsafe to send Scholars and Interns out into the world at this time.

Additionally, the Society’s annual Symposium and Rolex Awards Ceremony, scheduled for June 6, 2020, in New York City, will be moving to an online, virtual event. Exact details are still in development, but we plan to have presentations from the returning Scholars and Interns as well as the world premieres of the films from the 2019 Rolex Scholars.

We, as the Board of Directors, are disappointed that we cannot meet in-person this year.  However, it is more important than ever that we celebrate success in the face of challenging times.

We look forward to celebrating with you all soon.

***

About the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society

Since 1974, the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society has fostered leaders in the underwater world through experience-based scholarships and internships focused on, in, and around underwater-related disciplines. Since the beginning, Rolex has been the Society’s ‘partner in education.’ OWUSS is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization and is a separate entity from the Our World Underwater Dive and Travel Show.

For more information or to follow the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society:
visit our website at https://owuscholarship.org/ or follow us on Instagram: @OWUSS, or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rolexscholarship/ and https://www.facebook.com/groups/2446514415/

Posted in Press Release, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ultralight Control Systems Has New Owner

March 23, 2020

Ultralight Control Systems is celebrating 25 years in business with just one owner, Dave Reid and Terry Schuller.  We would like to let you know that Ken Kollwitz our long-time employee will be purchasing the business from us starting March 27th.  The business will be shut for a week from March 27-April 5th.

The particulars for the business are:
Ultralight Control Systems Inc.
401 N. Lombard St. #E
Oxnard, CA 93030
(805)484-3334 (same telephone #)
1-800-635-6611 (same 800 number for US calls)

The transition should go seamlessly.  Any outstanding invoices through March 27th should be paid to the address you currently have on file.  All invoices dates April 6, 2020 and beyond will go to the address above.

Dave and I would like to thank you for all your support over the years in continuing to purchase our products.  Our success is owed to all our customers and dealers.  We are excited about a new chapter in our lives.

Kind Regards,
Terry and Dave

Posted in Press Release | Leave a comment