For those few that don’t know Watson DeVore, here is a very short summary of his many achievements:
- Former Director of Education for Scuba Schools International for 6 years.
- Held a seat on the Recreational Scuba Training Council Board for 6 years.
- Created and conducted the global quality initiative / US update for all SSI IT/ICs.
- Revised all SSI programs at the time and co-authored new programs.
- Co-authored and collaborated on the global standards for SSI.
- Instituted the SSI Retail Advisory Board.
- Instituted the SSI Technical Diving Board.
- Developed several training products that are still used today by SSI.
- 7 years as the Midwest business consultant for SSI prior to moving inside to become the Director of Education.
- Established and operated a successful Dive Center in Southern Oregon for 13 years.
- Established and operated a Hydro testing facility in Southern Oregon for 13 years.
OK Watson, you have just shocked the dive world and joined RAID after so many years with SSI. The obvious question: why?
What I enjoyed most in my time as Director of Education for SSI Globally was feeling like I was part of a family. When I left the dive industry, I thought it was for good, but I guess once you are in the dive industry for as long as I was, almost 26 years, it’s hard to leave something you are so passionate about. I am really excited to be back and most of all, I feel like RAID has put the family back together again. Paul Toomer former Director of Technical Training for SSI, Mike Wells former Director of SSI Freediving, Jim Holliday former CEO of SSI Australasia, Col McKenzie and his team from SSI Australasia and Mark Mccrum former Manager SSI Australasia are all part of the team at RAID HQ that I have worked alongside for years. I am also excited to be working with many of the former SSI distributors, now RAID around the world again.
It has also been great to see the rest of the RAID Executive team assembled. It’s almost like a who’s who of the global dive industry, especially with Terry Cummins (ex PADI VP) and James Rogers (ex PADI UK Director) on board, Tech Diving icons like Paul Haynes and Charles Hawkes and many others. All these guys are really committed to making some big changes in the dive industry and it will be wonderful to be part of something so new, yet based on an unbelievable wealth of industry experience.
Having personally co-authored and written more manuals than most people in the dive industry, I know the challenges with getting them right, especially the first time. For example, by the time you print a student manual the information can be out of date. So with the 100% digital solution that RAID offers across 60 different courses you will always have the most current information at your fingertips.
Was this as hard a decision for you as it seems?
I did not make the decision to come on board with RAID lightly. I took a good look at how the program was put together and the way it handles quality control is simply unbelievable. The way the skills are taught in the water at the beginner level is not a re-write of old ideas or concepts, but rather a totally new way to teach. I believe this new way will improve the quality of diver training for years to come.
I also saw what RAID has been able to achieve corporately in such a short period of time since their re-launch early this year. Regional offices already in Australia, Asia, Africa, Italy, Korea, Philippines, Middle East, Latin America, UK and now the USA – You have to agree that this is impressive in anyone’s language and a testimony to what this global team is capable of achieving.
And again, one of the main reasons I have chosen to become a part of RAID is the fact that I will be working hand in hand with my longstanding family and friends from around the world.
So how do you see RAID provides value to the dive industry and especially what do you see as the benefits of its educational programs to divers:
I feel the future of the dive industry is the Millennials. Through online education utilizing the internet, we will be able to bring the younger generation into our industry which it so desperately needs and has been emphasized by DEMA. It will also help those older, time poor executives with disposable income to avoid the potential horrors of sitting in a classroom for hours. RAID is an established online leader in the field of education allowing the student to work at their own pace 24/7. The student, regardless of age or demographic, is fully qualified on the theory side prior to ever stepping into a dive center for their water work. This is paramount to the success of the student and is highly marketable. The student can then go straight into the water and embrace the very reason they wanted to learn to dive.
We must embrace the Millennials. The future is RAID!
Thank you Watson and very best wishes to you and your future with RAID.
For more information about RAID and the courses they offer visit www.diveraid.com.