Instructors & Instructional Staff

DIT Instructors & Faculty

 Mike “Doc” Redeen, Director of Training

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

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

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—Offshore, HazMat, Lightweight, Rigging

BrittBritt 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—First Aid/CPR/AED, HazMat

SteveColemanSteve 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 — Physics and Medicine

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—Physics, Medicine, DMT (Advanced Course)

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).

Sam is currently the Course Director of the Diving Medic program at DIT, filling these highly demanded positions in the undersea industry.

Advice
“Always be yourself; unless you can be John Galt. Then, always be John Galt.”

Neil Hansen, DIT Instructor—Hydraulic Tools, NDT

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.

Advice
“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

Doug Irish, DIT Instructor—Deep Dives, HEO2 Theory/Finals

Doug IrishDoug was born in San Diego, California and spent most of his childhood years growing up in south Texas.  After graduating high school in 1990, he joined the U.S. Navy and volunteered to attend second class dive school in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  He spent the next 20 years as a Navy Diver and became diverse within all technical aspects of military diving.  In Ships Husbandry, Doug was hand-selected to help engineers write and supervise the first-ever waterborne propeller changes to a new class of Navy ships.  In Salvage, Doug’s experience included recovery of multiple aircraft (he recovered the flight data recorder for the 1996 TWA Flight 800 747 crash!), sunken foreign international marine vessels, Marine Corps amphibious assault vehicles, and search and recovery of victims.  Throughout his Navy diving career, Doug participated in Underwater Demolition training; Special Operations with Marine 3rd RECON and EOD; Aviation Water Survival; Instructing initial military divers, supervisors, and DOD civilians; Saturation diving; and Experimental diving protocols testing and approval of new technical diving equipment.  After retiring from service, he ventured into the inland commercial diving workforce around the Gulf of Mexico and southern states doing bridge inspections, reinforcements, and repairs.  Doug also has worked commercially with Army Corps of Engineers, dams, paper mills, and shipyard boat launches.

Advice To New Divers

“If you do it just for the money without passion behind your motivation, you will be looking for work a lot.  Communication, common sense, and good safety practice will increase your chances of sticking around in our waters!”

Matt Jones, DIT Instructor—Light Weight, Rigging

Matt was born and raised in Kansas before gaining 10 years of experience in the military as a Fleet Marine Force Corpsman from 1995 to 2005. Matt is a DIT graduate from Class 101-06 and returned to DIT as an instructor for Light Weight and Rigging in February 2013. Matt has traveled in dive jobs all over the world working with Inlet Offshore Divers in Alaska and with Global Diving and & Salvage/ Global Offshore Divers in Washington, Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico and internationally. Matt is a member of Piledrivers & Divers Union 2520 (AK) and 196 (WA) and is one of DIT’s certified Dive Medical Technicians (DMT) on staff.

Advice for Students
“Listen more than you speak.”

Bill McGilton, DIT Instructor—Curriculum Development

Bill is from Tacoma, Washington and has grown in his appreciation of the underwater environment since 1954 when he first became a SCUBA diver. Bill earned a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from University of Washington and a Systems Management master’s degree from UCLA before his 36-year engineering career at Boeing, which included testing operations for a space station.  He also served 12 years in the Army reaching 1st Lt. with161st Infantry and serving as the Officer Candidate School Commandant at Ft. Lewis.  Bill’s career path has taken him throughout California, Florida, Missouri, and the Philippines.  He has taught SCUBA since 1966 and has been the director of 3 SCUBA organizations.  He is a DCBC SCUBA Supervisor and one of the only established, certified aquanaut instructors in the country.  Besides five years instructing at DIT, Bill’s most recent diving venture was setting up a dive lab in the Philippines to grow coral naturally from scratch.  The dive lab has been active for 9 years. For DIT, Bill designed a self-teaching physics curriculum, and has taught Physics, Medicine, SCUBA, and Offshore courses in addition to tutoring students.  Even after 5000 dives, Bill enjoys diving because it’s a challenge that involves never-ending learning and keeps you in good physical shape.  He thinks successful divers are those who have a desire to succeed, a “want” to go do it, and those with a good attitude.
Advice
Bill instructs students to “realize that diving is a dangerous career”, but reminds them that “divers who are well-trained reduce their risk factors”, so his advice for them is: “Stop taking notes and LISTEN more.  If you don’t understand something, raise your hand and ask!”

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.


Advice

“Be aware that choosing diving as a career is a big lifestyle change and a big investment in yourself.”

Bradley “Pete” Peterson, DIT Instructor—Physics, Medicine, Light Weight, Rigging, SCUBA

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.


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—NDT, Offshore, HazMat, Rigging

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.

Advice
“Learn all you can, as much as you can to your skill level, to become an asset to the commercial diving industry.”

 

Life Support & Hat Technicians

Robert “Bobby” Roe—Director of Life Support, Facilities Manager

Robert RoeBobby 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.

Kyle Crane, Associate Vessel Captain

Kyle is the part-time captain of DIT’s training vessel for divers during dives on Lake Washington.