Jason Conover, Jason Lott, and Jason Cole have a lot in common besides their first name.
They share a passion for underwater welding and both recently joined the team at Diver’s Institute of Technology as instructors. They come armed with worldwide experience, spanning almost three decades in combined years.
We wanted to get to know these instructors better, so we asked them a few questions.
DIT: Where are you from originally and what sparked your interest in commercial diving?
JConover: Seattle. I used to be a welder (aerospace) and looked into underwater welding.
JLott: I’m originally from the small farming town of Corcoran, California. I happened across a television commercial for a dive school recruiting for new students in Southern California. After talking with a recruiter, I applied and was accepted to dive school. I never looked back.
JCole: Camano Island, WA. I saw a College of Oceaneering commercial on TV. Having a construction background, I couldn’t think of anything better than working underwater doing what I was doing topside anyway.
DIT: Describe one commercial diving job that stands out in your mind (what, where, when, challenges, team)?
JConover: My first saturation run was in Dubai doing construction on a 30” pipeline. The bolts for flanges were 5.5 feet long, nuts measured over 5” in diameter, total weight of hardware was about 150 pounds. 20 of those went into each connection. And these flanges were 8 feet off bottom, so we had to lift them up there.
JLott: We performed a dive job with the US Navy in Sardinia. The job required us to remove debris that had accumulated in the anchorage area over a time that spanned before WWI. Aside from the actual diving we became very close with our military counterparts and I learned quite a lot about how the US Navy conducts their diving missions and training. Having the rare opportunity to be able to live on land during the job, we had the opportunity on our off time to explore the area and enjoy the Italian culture.
JCole: One that stands out in my mind wasn’t actually a job so much as an accident on dive station. We had two divers in the water on a light duty job in Seattle. The hose to the regulator was not properly tightened down by the tender and it came off at depth (12 feet of fresh water). He obviously went off communications and the second diver alerted us to the situation. The quick action of the whole dive team got him to the surface and did a full resuscitation and the diver is alive a working today.
DIT: What will be your faculty role at DIT? What are some qualifications/experience you have that lend to these classes?
JConover: Right now I am teaching Physics and Medicine, which is good because I am fairly mathematically inclined. I believe I will also help out with Offshore, as I have spent the majority of my dive career in that field, and I also hope to help teach the DMT course at some point.
JLott: I’m currently assigned to teach the Deep Dives portion of the course. Exposing students to the deepest depths required of them during the course, I intend to bring my experience of diving deep with air [oxygen], mixed gas, as well as Surface decompression procedures. Hopefully this will boost the students confidence in not only performing tasks in deeper water, but to help them gain early experience in the necessary procedures and methods that are required in surface decompression.
JCole: Operations Manager of DIT’s dive shop, Northwest Dive Supply. Some qualifications I have are: Commercial background along with being a Naui Instructor, 12 years of management experience along with vendor management experience.
DIT: How do you feel about living in Seattle? What is most appealing to you about the area?
JConover: I am from this area and I am happy to be living here. I like that the water and the mountains are both accessible.
JLott: There’s been no regrets on relocating to Seattle. I like having the ability to live the city life with the option of getting totally away to the countryside
JCole: The Food! The area is beautiful. One of the few places you can Ski AND Dive in the same day!
DIT: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not diving or teaching?
JConover: I am a coach at a CrossFit gym in my area. I snowboard when conditions permit, and try and take weekend trips with my wife. And when that doesn’t happen I am in the garage working on a project truck
JCole: Traveling traveling traveling. Just got back from 12 months driving through, in, and around South America
DIT: What instructors or other divers have impacted you the most in your diving career? And what do you hope to pass on to your students?
JConover: Charlie Gruber (Diver) Terry O’Brien (Supervisor).
I would like to pass on Awareness and Efficiency. [Students] need to be aware of a lot: what their task is, what’s going on around them, the measures they need to take to complete their task safely, and efficiently.
JCole: Actually, it wasn’t so much a commercial instructor but a recreational one. He taught me about how to approach student problems differently than a normal Instructor would. He also taught me how to always change my teaching methods to adapt to certain people or classes.
DIT: What are 3 words you would use to describe yourself?
JConover: Aware, realistic, efficient
JCole: Honest, ambitious, motivated
DIT: What are some “non-diving” projects that you’ve done that have actually lent to your commercial diving skill and experience?
JConover: Welding and fabrication
JCole: My construction background in general.
DIT: Can you give an overview of your background in commercial diving? When and where you started?
JLott: I graduated from the College of Oceaneering in December 2005. I was hired by a company in the Seattle area that outsourced divers to Global Industries where I was sent as a dive tender. I remained in the Gulf for almost three years where I worked my way to full Diver status. My first overseas job was a joint operation with the United States Navy Dive Unit (MDSU 2 ) located in north islands of Sardina, Italy. After returning to the US, I was contact by Global Industries to take part in a subsea construction job of the coast of the Congo, West Africa. It was there that I received another lead that led me to go to work for Kreuz Subsea based in Singapore, diving all over Asia, mainly off the coasts of Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Burma, Borneo, Vietnam and India. I eventually took the next step in my diving career and obtained certification to dive Saturation. In 2014 I left Kreuz Subsea and went to work for Technip, Singapore and worked mainly in the Persian Gulf off the coast of Dubai.
JCole: I started right out of the gate as most students do and headed right to the gulf. Worked for American Oilfield Divers, then to Ceanic. Took a pro bono job in Guam salvaging the remains of the 1601 ship Santa Margarita. After a couple years the draw of working in the water again took over and I came back and went into some light duty freelance work which transferred into starting at Seattle Diving and Salvage. Eventually I became the operations manager for Aquatic Weed Control. From there went to the management side of dive retail and ran a local shop eventually becoming a NAUI Instructor.
DIT: What do you enjoy most about diving?
JLott: What I have found I like most about commercial diving is the lasting friendships I’ve made with people from all over the world and traveling to exotic location.
JCole: The freedom of movement, the peacefulness, and the ever changing environment, structure and animals underwater.
DIT: What made you decide to go into educating others? What are you looking forward to the most about working at DIT?
JLott: After traveling from one location to another for work and achieving the goals I laid out for myself when I entered the industry, I decided that I wanted to share my experiences with those looking to make diving a career and help guide them to success.
JCole: I look forward to working at DIT because of the leadership and staff already in place and as an industry leader in diving education there is no other place to be.
Beth Smith, Staff Writer at Water Welders
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