Most people don’t have the privilege of landing a career job prior to getting their degree.
But Damon Beattie, a Divers Institute of Technology (DIT) graduate, took the initiative most people don’t take. He went to the company before he went looking for the right school.
While stationed in Alaska with the military, Damon saw a commercial diver in an ad on the front of a GI magazine. “When I came to Seattle, I had a list of companies I was interested in working for”, Damon explains. “Wanting to have a plan after getting out of the military, I went knocking on doors of the companies asking about requirements for being a commercial diver with them. Global Diving and Salvage was one of those companies.”
Damon has been with Global Diving and Salvage for three years. He started with the company before even beginning his commercial diving training at DIT.
He was hired as an environmental technician with the company. The job gave him experience working with divers and on dive sites.
One of his jobs was helping with the demolition of houses on an Indian reservation. Hazardous materials leftover from a nuclear power plant had been used to build the houses. He also helped with marina fires and cleanup.
But Damon still needed the training.
Diver 2.0: Advancing His Career With the Right School
After researching requirements for being a diver, Damon went in search of the right school.
And 3 main things led him to DIT:
As a student at DIT, Damon still worked for Global Diving and Salvage on the weekends and when he wasn’t studying.
DIT proved to be a quality fit. Damon knew he’d be working in dangerous environments. It requires “muscle reflex” as he calls it. Being able to quickly recall information learned in the classes at a moment’s notice is essential for diving jobs.
He also took Dive Medic Training classes to improve his knowledge base. Having DMT certification gives him extra confidence for facing potential emergencies.
Knowledge Immersion: The Core of Learning at DIT
At DIT, the instructors establish “muscle reflex” with their students. “They’re very clear on making sure the information is getting to you and making sense”, Damon says. “They would stay at lunch or after class.”
They’re also honest. “The instructors don’t sell you on something diving isn’t going to be. They don’t try to build it up as something glamorous.”
Riding the Waves of Commercial Diving- Offshore and Inland
Within a week of completing dive school, he was on his first dive job.
And his jobs have taken him on an amazing ride. In Juno, Alaska he helped remove and raise a World War II tug boat.
His most recent job has been working on the Seattle Tunnel SR99– replacing the Alaska Way Viaduct in Seattle. His office is a giant boring machine named Bertha. With it, he and the crew are working to replace part of Seattle’s elevated highway with a tunnel that will allow the public more access to the city’s beautiful waterfront.
When Damon isn’t resurfacing WWII boats, he’s working on assembling and maintaining his equipment for the next big job. These are called “shop days”.
With his experience, the world is an open book. He is looking to work internationally in the future. Getting international jobs requires a lot of hands-on experience. So for now, he’ll keep getting all the experience he can.
Written by Beth Smith, Staff Writer for Water Welders.
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