DIT Instructors & Faculty
Mike “Doc” Redeen, Director of Training, SCPO/E-8/USN/RET
Originally from Missoula, Montana, “Doc” graduated from the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center (NDSTC) in Panama City, Florida and spent 26 years active duty in the U.S. Navy. His Naval career included experience as a Diving Independent Duty Corpsman and took him all over the Western Pacific, Philippines, Florida, Hawaii, Connecticut, Guam and Virginia. To expand his skills and knowledge base, Doc has completed the Undersea & Hyperbaric Medical Society’s (UHMS) two-week, extensive Physician’s Training in Diving Medicine course in June 2012 at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) campus in Seattle.
As an Instructor, Mike enjoys passing on his knowledge and experience to the next generation. At DIT, Doc has instructed in Physics, Medicine, Chamber, Intro to Lightweight, HeO2, Deep Dives, Midterms and Finals. Doc recommends that future divers take initiative, have a good attitude, be willing to learn and practice using their “two eyes, two ears, and one mouth” to be successful in the industry.
Advice to students
“Never give up; take it one day at a time.”
Michael Kleinfelder, Assistant Director of Training
Mike is a DIT graduate who has been an instructor at the school since 2007. In his diving career, Mike has worked with inland companies in Seattle, San Francisco, and Louisiana. Most recently, Mike has trained DIT students with courses on the M/V Response for Sur-D O2 Deep Dives and the HEO2 Mixed Gas Theory/Finals Week
Advice for DIT Students and Alumni
“Remember, in the water, you’re working in an environment that we as man, are not meant to be in. Place safety as your highest concern not only for yourself, but also for all those you work with. Share your knowledge and experience. Strive to keep your work ethic high and work as a team.”
Jim Bernacki, DIT Instructor—Welding, Burning, PO2/E-5/USN/USNR
Jim is from Chicago, Illinois and has a career background in welding and ironwork. He is a 1993 graduate of DIT, whose diving career is focused in the marine construction industry, where he has worked in Hawaii and throughout the state of Washington. Jim’s training at DIT gave him full awareness of what to expect in a diving career, in which he’s also practiced skills such as decision making, problem solving and being able to handle any situation in the worst conditions.
Among Jim’s favorite dive projects were installing a fish spawning habitat at the Bill and Melinda Gates estate on Lake Washington and inspecting of the hull of a ship in Honolulu Harbor for contraband before it was allowed to enter the harbor. The best part of being a commercial diver for Jim is the personal satisfaction of doing work that most people know nothing about. The worst thing is the risk that dive jobs involve. Jim stays current with industry and its advances, knowing that the industry will always be evolving with technology and that there will always be work wherever there is water.
Advice to be Successful as a Diver
“Be prepared for hard work. Learn and remember as much as you can from every project. You will most likely use that skill again.”
Randy Busby, DIT Instructor—Deep Dives and Finals, PO3/E-4/USN
Randy is a 1998 graduate of DIT. He served in the Navy as a Boatswains Mate 3rd class and was a rescue swimmer attached to the Inshore/Underwater Warfare group in the Pacific NW. His diving career began with a year in the Gulf of Mexico, then five years as an inland diver conducting repairs and inspections on dams, water towers and piers. Randy spent seven years with Global Diving & Salvage in the Gulf working on P & A, salvage platforms and hurricane work.
Randy became an instructor at DIT and enjoys students’ enthusiasm. His favorite part of instructing is seeing students’ faces when they’ve accomplished a task and realize the project was not so bad, or that it was hard, but they got it done and can be proud of themselves. Randy thinks that the hardest challenge for new graduates entering the dive industry is the learning curve for the rate or speed of how work gets done in the industry; new divers need to learn quickly 100% of the time to move ahead. Randy teaches DIT students the need to put in their time starting in the industry, knowing that they don’t get stuff handed to them as young divers.
Advice to Divers
“Ears open, mouth shut. Be a sponge; soak up every bit of knowledge. Also, look at the divers ahead of you. Find a diver you respect and emulate him; do what he does, find out what gear he wears and wear that, follow his example and become like him.”
Britt Coates, DIT Instructor— Physics and Medicine, Chamber
Britt was born in Wenatchee, WA and has spent two thirds of his life living in Washington State. A graduate of the 106-08 DIT class, Britt spent a year and a half after school working in the Gulf of Mexico with Global Diving & Salvage on plug and abandon (P & A) work of killing oil and gas wells. He continued his diverse dive experience in more than a year with Ballard Diving & Salvage on dive jobs doing dam work and supervising a couple high profile HazMat jobs. In some memorable salvage diving, Britt worked on jobs in which the ship being salvaged was disassembled underwater. Some of Britt’s other dive work thus far has taken him to Florida with Subsea Global Solutions (Miami Divers) where he worked in ships husbandry, inspections, and repairs on vessels including Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, the largest passenger vessel ever built. In Florida, Britt also worked for Underwater Engineering Services (UESI) in underwater construction and conducted bridge inspections & repairs, power plant inspections, and nuclear power plant maintenance. Britt has traveled to the Bering Sea for a 6-month stint of flange up projects and inspection work as well.
In June 2013, Britt spent 5 weeks supervising a dive team at Palmer Station, Antarctica, one of only 3 U.S. Antarctic research facilities in the Antarctic Circle, and 4 days journey by sea off the southernmost tip of Chile. Palmer Station hosts employees from Lockheed Martin and researchers from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Amidst waves filled with floating iceberg chunks, the dive team built a new boat launch to accommodate larger vessels that will expand the radius from 2 miles to 25 miles’ capacity for collecting research samples.
Advice to New Divers
“Commercial diving is a challenging industry that will refine you. It will bring the best out of you if you are willing to face the challenge.”
Steve Coleman, DIT Instructor—Deep Dives, First Aid/CPR/O2/AED, CPO/E-7/USN/RET
Steve L. Coleman was born and raised in Beaverton, Oregon and attended Beaverton High School. After graduation in 1990, he joined the U.S. Navy as Hospital Corpsman in March of 1991. Steve worked with the Marine Corps for 12 years growing his background in hospital-based medicine and psychiatric care. He later attended the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center in May of 2003, earning class Honor Graduate. In total, Steve served 24 years in the U.S. Navy as a Hospital Corpsman achieving the rank of Chief Petty Officer. He was a Qualified Master Training Specialist at two commands. He served 12 years as a Diving Medical Technician earning a Hyperbaric Oxygen Technician Certification and a Bachelors’ Degree in Health Care Management.
Throughout his military career, Steve was a Deep Sea Independent Duty Corpsman (IDC) assigned to MDSU-TWO in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He served at three Explosive Ordnance Disposal commands providing medical coverage during high risk operations involving MK-16/SCUBA diving, parachute and demolition operations. His deployments included Anti-Terrorism Force Protection during 2008-2009 and a 2010 deployment on the USNS Grapple with a mission of providing salvage work in the country of Albania along with instruction and education of diving and salvage to host nations. Steve said his most memorable moment was responding to the 2010 Haiti Earthquake in Operation Unified Response, “where I was able to treat a local commercial diver suffering from DCS type II. As the Senior Diving Medical Technician, I led and oversaw the successful treatments resulting in the diver’s ability to walk unassisted following multiple US Navy [Treatment Table] TT-6’s.”
Steve joined us at Divers Institute of Technology in August 2015 to instruct in the HazMat I/HAZWOPER and First Aid/ CPR/ AED modules. He’s already adding his skills and resources to enhance our students’ training in both modules.
My advice to new divers is:
“Look to the past as much as you look at the present. Lessons learned have come from those who put their blood, sweat and tears into diving, some which we have learned came at the cost of losing our brothers and sisters. As divers today it is important to do what is necessary to not let mistakes repeat themselves and listen to those who have “been there and dun it” and “Got the tee-shirt”.”
Jason Conover, DIT Instructor — Lightweight and Rigging
Jason was born in Seattle and is a Seattle/Everett, WA native who attended DIT as a member of the 110-08 class. After he graduated, Jason started his diving career working offshore in the Gulf of Mexico with Epic Divers & Marine. He later expanded into diving internationally, working with Technip and Aqueos, as well as doing some inland diving with Associated Underwater Services (AUS).
Some of Jason’s favorite dive work has included the demolition of decommissioned oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico using hydraulic diamond wire saws and explosives, as well as installing spool pieces in saturation for new pipeline construction.
His professional background includes a diverse welding background using all processes but focusing on TIG welding on aerospace parts, hydroplane propellers, and basically anything except regular steel (titanium, stainless, brass, aluminum, etc.). He’s also been a Nutritional consultant and Level 1 CrossFit Trainer and Coach at CrossFit Advantage, with an emphasis on CrossFit Weightlifting and Gymnastics. Jason returned to join the DIT Instructor Staff in September 2016.
Advice for new divers: “Keep your head down and work hard, and work to develop a keen eye for details. Keep your safety and your coworkers’ safety a top priority.”
Jake Dow, DIT Instructor–Offshore, HazMat
A Pacific NW native, Jake was born and raised in Centralia, Washington although his offshore dive work has taken him to places like Nigeria, Mexico, and the Bahamas. Jake graduated from DIT in 2006 and also was trained as a Union Journeyman Carpenter, working both for Kuney Construction and then later Cal Dive International. In commercial diving, Jake’s favorite work is heavy, big salvage work like removing old platforms with 800- to 1000-ton lifts because the process is big and the work is exciting. As a diver, Jake valued his dive team like family–especially a particular core group of guys who dove together, bailed each other out, and “became men together.”
Advice to New Divers
“Set clear short term and long term goals. Focus and do your best to obtain them! In the dive world you have to have “grit.” Work hard!”
Sam Green, DIT Instructor—First Aid/CPR/O2/AED, SCUBA, SCPO/E-8/USNR
Sam joined the instructor team at DIT in April 2012 teaching Physics and Medicine and developing a Diver Medic program for DIT. He also currently serves as a Reserve Chief Hospital Corpsman at the Undersea Rescue Command in San Diego, California.
Before coming to DIT, he was a Master Training Specialist at the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center in Panama City, Florida. Sam also served on the USS Safeguard out of Sasebo, Japan, at the Yokosuka Ship repair facility in Japan, and at the Deep Submergence Unit in San Diego.
Some highlights from his diving career involved salvage of an Air Force F-16 in the Yellow Sea, salvage survey for the recovery of a TBD-1 Devastator in the Marshall Islands, a vast amount of experience in international ships husbandry, and the creation of a device to facilitate Advanced Cardiac Life Support in a hyperbaric environment. In June 2012, Sam also completed the Undersea & Hyperbaric Medical Society’s (UHMS) two-week, extensive Physician’s Training in Diving Medicine course sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
“Always be yourself; unless you can be John Galt. Then, always be John Galt.”
Neil Hansen, DIT Instructor—Hydraulic Tools, NDT, CDR/O-5/USNR/RET
Neil has more than 30 years of global experience in both military and commercial marine operations. He has consulted on numerous projects in ship salvage, naval architecture and marine surveying as a recognized expert in risk management, safety analysis and oil spill response. A Utah native, Neil received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Utah through an NROTC scholarship and a Naval Officer’s commission in 1979. Neil attended the U.S. Navy School of Diving and Salvage in Washington, DC among the last classes to train in the MK- V heavy gear, and the first class to train in the then new MK-12 helmet. He spent nine years in fleet diving and salvage operations. On leaving active duty, Neil continued as a reserve officer assigned to diving, EOD and mine warfare units, with three recalls to active duty in the Persian Gulf.
Since 1988, Neil has consulted in ship salvage, diving, marine operations and safety, as well as oil spill response planning with Jamestown Marine Services and others. He has conducted assessments in the Gulf of Mexico, on the Hackensack River, in Guatemala and Piraeus, Greece. Neil developed the Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasures Plan for the U.S. Antarctic Program and was a principal author or editor for several U.S. Navy safety and salvage manuals, including the U.S. Navy Salvage Engineer’s Handbook. He was also a contributing editor for the Research Vessel Operators Committee Safety Manual. Neil has been involved in military, commercial, scientific, public safety and recreational diving and joined DIT as an instructor in 2006.
Advice for Students
“When you are new to the industry, remember that you are a pebble amongst boulders, striving to become a rock.”
Mike Hemion, DIT Instructor—SCUBA, Inland
Mike is from Los Angeles, California and has been teaching all levels of SCUBA for more than 30 years. He has certified divers for PADI, NAUI and CMAS . He has done SCUBA repairs for over 35 years and spent numerous years doing hydro testing on SCUBA tanks. Mike has done underwater search and rescue, search and recovery, underwater inspections and repairs. Mike spent several years working for Los Angeles area studios as a dive supervisor, dive consultant, Medic/First Aid and dive trainer for shows such as Baywatch and Murder, She Wrote. Mike also trained the Los Angeles’ sheriffs in Search and Rescue and trained stuntmen for movies and studios. He has organized countless underwater clean-ups and received the Denny Award from the City of Seattle in 2011 for underwater clean-ups in numerous local lakes. Mike has owned and operated two dive stores in the past and has been and Instructor at DIT since 2001.
“Be excellent to each other and party on, Dudes!” –Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure
“From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free.” – Jacques-Yves Cousteau
Amanda Hamerston, DIT Instructor – Physics/Medicine, Lightweight/Rigging
Mandy grew up in the interior of British Columbia, Canada. She is a 2009 graduate of DIT and joined the Instructional Staff in January 2013 to work with the SCUBA and Inland courses. Mandy’s varied experience includes working as a Dive Master on a yacht on the Great Barrier Reef, which allowed her to travel and dive in Australia, New Zealand, and Thailand. In non-dive work, she spent 5 years rappelling out of helicopters fighting forest fires. As a commercial diver, Mandy has worked for an inland company on Vancouver Island. In jobs all over the province, her inland work included Inspections, Salvages, Hazmat diving, and mainly underwater construction such as dry dock extensions, drilling in anchors, and installing mooring systems for the Vancouver float plane terminal.
Quote to Live By:
“What we anticipate seldom occurs, what we least expected generally happens.” Benjamin Disraeli
Josh Oxley, DIT Instructor—Welding, Burning
Southern California native Josh graduated from DIT in 2005 and started his career offshore working all over Mexico, Florida, and the Gulf of Mexico on various dive jobs. Josh’s work included installation, removal, inspection and repair of offshore oil and gas pipelines and platforms. Career skills that Josh has gained from the diving industry include problem solving, effectively dealing with large companies and learning how to work alone on the bottom. Two qualities Josh recommends for divers who want to be successful in the industry are ability to work with people of various personality types and a good work ethic.
“Be aware that choosing diving as a career is a big lifestyle change and a big investment in yourself.”
Bradley “Pete” Peterson, DIT Instructor—DMT (Advanced Course), SSG/E-6/USA/RET
A Coos Bay, Oregon native, Pete graduated from both the U.S. Army Special Operations Diver’s Course and Dive Medical Technician Course in 1998 and served 21 years as a U.S. Army Medic. Pete also trained in the Advanced Diving / Hyperbaric Medical Team Program in Key Largo, Florida and is a NAUI Instructor. In October 2015, he completed the Undersea & Hyperbaric Medical Society’s (UHMS) two-week, extensive Physician’s Training in Diving Medicine course at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) campus in Seattle to further expand his knowledge and skills.
Pete has been on several active Army dive teams and his military dive experience includes salvage, mapping and recovery work for the Joint Personnel Accountability Command (JPAC), demolitions of a 300-man barracks and UXO in the Marshall Islands, and international missions such as security swims, recovery of military equipment, and beach landing and harbor surveys in Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar.
Pete is currently the Course Director of the Diving Medic program at DIT, filling these highly demanded positions in the undersea industry.
Advice to Divers
“Make sure you have a strong family and a solid plan for finances. Divers’ lives are that of the nomad, very similar to the military. Divers have to be wise about money matters, and have a deep larder for slow work periods. It’s a great lifestyle, with great pay and benefits, but there are slow times. It takes time and you have to pay your ‘dues’ to work your way up in the industry.”
Jeff Stiefel, DIT Instructor— Hydraulics, Salvage, NDT
Born at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Jeff was an Army brat who grew up all around the country. As a graduate of the 112-05 class at DIT, he worked for U.S. Underwater Services as a Diver and for Central States Underwater in Houston, Texas as a Supervisor and Project Manager. His specialty, and favorite dive work, is flanging up spool pieces. Jeff enjoys giving back as a DIT Instructor.
“Learn all you can, as much as you can to your skill level, to become an asset to the commercial diving industry.”
Jason Faurot, DIT Instructor – SCUBA
Jason was born and raised in Sheridan, WY. He received his SCUBA instructor certification in Oct 2007. SCUBA jobs and instruction provided an, “exciting hobby that paid for itself” until he enrolled at DIT in class 105-14. Since graduating dive school, he has continually worked in the inland sector of the dive industry, first for Harbor Offshore Inc. and then Liquid Engineering Corp. He returns to DIT as an instructor to share his passion for underwater work.Dawn joined DIT’s Accounting and Dive Shop teams in October of 2016.
Joel Duker, DIT Instructor – Offshore, HAZMAT
Joel is a Seattle native born in Redmond, WA and graduate of Nathan Hale High School. After graduating dive school at DIT in Class 110-06, he began his commercial diving career in the Gulf of Mexico with a year at Tiburon divers. Joel hired on and spent 8 more years in the Offshore sector with industry giant Cal Dive International until they closed in 2016. Bringing his robust offshore experience to the next generation, Joel joined longtime friend and coworker Jake Dow at DIT in April 2017 as part of the Offshore and HazMat instructor team.
Advice to students: “Remember it is the little things that we do in our industry that make a big difference! No one was born knowing how to do any of this, so remember to work within your skill level and absorb as much as you can every day!”
Daniel Matthes, DIT Instructor
Daniel was born and raised in Tome, NM, a small farm town of less than 2000 people nestled along the Rio Grande Valley on the foothills of the Manzano Mountains. He came to DIT right after high school and served as DIT class president for 106-06, later doing adding General Studies at Lonestar College in Houston and General Studies/Lab Assistant at the University of New Mexico. (Ask Daniel about his UNM Paper: Identification of Skunk Species Submitted for Rabies Testing in the Desert Southwest.)
Early in Daniel’s commercial diving career, he worked deep water platform support with Epic Divers and Marine, eventually moving over to the shallow water pipeline support sector with G&G Marine. The majority of his dives were conducted in the blackout conditions of the “mud hole” part of the Gulf. The work is very similar to that of an offshore diver, however, crews operate closer to that of the Inland sector, so Daniel’s experience shows how interconnected these sides of the industry can be. He began supervising full time in mid-2013 before making the transition to Seattle to join the DIT family in August 2017, where he’s since revamped the Inland module and is challenging students daily in their real-world Inland dive site skills.
Quotes to live by:
“Failure is only postponed success as long as courage ‘coaches’ ambition. The habit of persistence is the habit of victory.” – Herbert Kaufman
“Discipline is based on pride, on meticulous attention to details, and on mutual respect and confidence. Discipline must be a habit so ingrained that it is stronger than the excitement of the goal or the fear of failure.” – Gary R. Blair
Life Support & Hat Technicians
Robert “Bobby” Roe—Director of Life Support & Facilities Manager
Bobby was born in Columbus, Ohio (“Go Buckeyes”) in 1983. As a child, Bobby traveled with his family while his father was in the Navy (CPO). When his father retired from the Navy in 1989, Bobby’s family returned to the Pacific Northwest and settled in Everett, Washington. At age 14, Bobby started working for his grandfather in a furniture/woodworking business, where his grandfather taught him the use of various hand tools, power tools, and heavy machinery. At age 17, Bobby became a supervisor in his grandfather’s company with a crew of 5 employees. When his grandfather retired and closed the business, Bobby then worked in the construction field until he enrolled at DIT in 2009.
After graduating from DIT, Bobby worked for an inland diving company based in Montana and was promoted to dive supervisor after a short time. He spent 3 years working with the inland company, and traveled throughout the United States before joining the Life Support and Facilities team at DIT. Bobby is a certified Kirby Morgan Hat Technician and trainer. He teaches the monthly Kirby Morgan Hat Technician course for graduates and members of the diving community.
Dive Vessel Captains
Andre Ninaud, DIT Vessel Captain
Andre has lived in the Pacific Northwest for more than 30 years and is an experienced vessel captain who has worked in the fishing industry throughout Alaska, the Aleutian Islands and Bering Strait for nearly 20 years. He later joined Clipper Navigation and spent 10 years running fast catamarans to Canada. He also has operated various other vessels prior to joining DIT in 2010. Andre holds a U.S. Coast Guard license 100-ton Master/1600 Mate.
James Greenway, Associate Vessel Captain
James is the part-time captain of DIT’s training vessel for divers during dives on Lake Washington.