During our 2014 Gala, we presented the 2014 TEKDiveUSA awards. These awards were voted on by the public and we could not have been more pleased with the winners. It was an astounding group of individuals and it was a pleasure to share the stage with these incredible technical divers.
TEKDiveUSA Media Award
The inscription reads as follows: “For most influential technical diving publication.”
The media award is always one that receives many votes, and this year the competition was very strong. But as the weeks passed and the votes rolled in, it was obvious that one publication had definitely grabbed the lead in the voting. One could say that this book is the definitive layman’s guide to decompression, however I’m sure that its author would be the first one to admit that we are just scratching the surface when it comes to understanding decompression science.
Ladies and gentlemen this year’s TEKDiveUSA Media Award’ for the truly outstanding book “Deco for Divers” goes to Mark Powell.
TEKDiveUSA Innovation Award
The inscription reads as follows: “For innovation and/or product design that has increased the safety and extended the field of technical diving.”
As the votes came in this year, one company’s name came up time after time. As leaders in both personal dive computer technology as well as CCR controller technology, they have helped to redefine the terms “innovation and customer service”. Not always an easy combination to pull off.
This years TEKDiveUSA 2014 Innovation Award goes to Bruce Partridge of Shearwater Research.
TEKDiveUSA Discovery Award
The inscription reads as follows: “For outstanding contribution or significant research that has resulted in a discovery that has advanced the field of technical diving.”
I think everyone in this room as a young child dreamed of finding pirates gold on a newly discovered shipwreck. One man has spent literally most of his life in search of an illusive target. Over a 20-year period, while searching for this target, he and his team discovered over 15,000 previously unknown shipwrecks. (I’m pretty sure I would have been happy with the first 9 or 10!)
Undeterred, he persisted until his ultimate goal was reached, the discovery of a Swedish War ship dating back to 1650, preserved in pristine condition. He documented the wreck with both an amazing book and multiple soon to be released video projects. Please welcome this year’s TEKDiveUSA Discovery Award” winner Richard Lundgren for the discovery of Mars the Magnificent.
TEKDiveUSA Outstanding Contribution to the Diving Industry Award
The inscription reads: “The unsung hero who has gone the extra mile to support and develop others in the field of technical diving.”
I suspect that the winner of this award puts more miles on his van per year than a cross-country long haul truck driver! Rarely is there a day that goes by when he hasn’t posted on Facebook a notice about a clinic, class or presentation in some far flung hole in the wall somewhere in the US or in the world for that matter! A fierce defender of the industry, a dedicated instructor, mentor and teacher, champion of the little guy, and most of all, an all around nice guy – please join me in congratulating Pete Nawrocky as this years winner of the “TEKDiveUSA Outstanding Contribution to the Diving Industry Award”
TEKDiveUSA Exploration Award
The inscription reads as follows: “For significant exploration in the field of technical diving.”
Out of all the awards, this was the most hotly contested contest. There were literally dozens of entrants that could have easily won this award including many who are sitting here in this room tonight. That said, there were actually two divers who were neck and neck in the final tallies, so we have decided to award this years TEKDiveUSA Exploration Award to two cave divers who frequently dive together as a team.
Including such challenging exploration projects as the Weeki Watchee Springs project, the Phantom Cave Project, and most recently pushing the end of the line in Manatee Springs, as well as dozens of unnamed small systems in Cave Country over the past couple of years, these two fearless explorers have been involved with some of the most notable cave exploration projects in the USA over the past few years.
Please give a round of applause to the Dynamic Duo, the Bruthers from another Mutha, the Bobsie Twins, the Terrible Twosome, both with identical accents, Brett Hemphill and Andrew Pitkin! Come on up guys and share a few words with us!
TEKDiveUSA 2014 Diver of the Conference Award
The inscription reads as follows:
“For inspiring technical divers around the world and significant contribution to the technical diving field.”
Without a doubt, this individual received an overwhelming majority of votes from our on-line voting polls this year. He has been diving for over 40 years. An active cave diver and instructor, a technical dive equipment designer, explorer, in demand speaker, educator, environmentalist, and the list goes on and on. He is constantly on the road promoting his own dive equipment company, but also helping to spread the “love of diving”.
He is truly one of the pioneers of side mount diving and has lead the way with the evolution of side mount equipment. A former training director for the NSS-CDS and now a TDI Instructor Trainer, he is currently the CEO of DiveRite, an industry leader, husband and father. I am happy to welcome Lamar Hires as the TEKDiveUSA 2014 Diver of the Conference.
TEKDiveUSA Lifetime Achievement Award
The inscription reads:
“For a lifetime of consistent contribution and discovery that has opened up the field of technical diving.”
As a pioneering technical diver and cave diver, this young man (with emphasis on the “young”) has probably touched the lives of more technical divers than anyone else on the planet. As a founding member of the National Association for Cave Diving, the first cave diver training organization in the United States, he was active in helping to guide early technical training protocols.
You will notice his name on various cave maps and his picture in early training manuals (usually with very short shorts or a Speedo, no shirt and copious amounts of chest hair showing!) In 1991 he joined Dick Rutkowski in a new organization called IANTD, dedicated to teaching Nitrox to recreational divers. In 1992 he was named President and Chief Executive Officer of IANTD, a position that he held until 2005. Our mystery man was one of the pioneers in diver training and the development of dive tables for the use of Trimix as a breathing gas. At age 75, our Lifetime achievement Award winner is still actively teaching CCR, Cave Diving, Expedition Trimix and is active in martial arts, XXXXXXX, has published a number of technical diving texts, including the Technical Diver Encyclopedia, Exploration and Mixed Gas Diving Encyclopedia and Tek Closed Circuit Rebreather.
There’s not a technical diver in this room that has not been influenced by him in one way or another. Please join me in welcoming the man with more signature titles behind his name than anyone else in the world – Mr. Tom Mount!