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Our Staff

Over Qualified, under paid, and loving the diving lifestyle! Our Instructors are handpicked and the best in the business. Only the best of the best get to join our ranks and be called a Dive Right In Scuba Instructor. Our staff of Instructors and Divemasters is here to ensure you have the most fun possible. Come see why we fell in love with the diving lifestyle.

Rod Pedersen

Rod Pedersen

Favorite Places to Dive: Lake Michigan, Florida Keys, Bahamas, South Carolina, & Turks and Caicos.

Why I became A Diver: Rod love's teaching new divers as he sees the look of enjoyment, excitement, curiousness, and adventure in the students saucer like eyes. He has taught in Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Turks & Caicos, Bahamas, Florida Keys. He enjoys just getting wet and relaxing watching the large pelagic as well as the micro life of the underwater world.

DRIS Responsibilities: Rod does a bit of everything around the shop. Overseeing the Training Department, accounting, and being the owner of Dive Right In Scuba, Rod is the hardest working DRIS Employee!

**Rod Passed away February 17, 2016 and is sorely missed by his family, DRIS Family, friends, customers, studends, industry professionals, and all those that had the pleasure to meet him. 

Mike Pedersen

Mike Pedersen

Favorite thing to see:Anything underwater! There is so much life under the water, how can you go wrong.

DRIS Responsibilities:Mike oversees the general Day to Day of the store and online store. Managing DRIS is something he loves to do and has a passion for growing scuba in the area.

Why I became a Diver: To explore

Mike Theobald

Frank Collette

Favorite thing to see: Anything underwater or in the ocean

DRIS Responsibilities: Frank is the Server Guru! He does a great job in the IT department and making sure all is running smooth for DRIS online store.

Why I became a Diver: I got into scuba because while on a snorkeling trip in Cozumel I saw several divers below me and I really wanted to be down there so I decided to get certified. Now I'm a certified Rescue Diver.

Sashko Andonov

Favorite thing to see: The underwater live, its amazing what mother nature have prepared for us underwater.

DRIS Responsibilities: Sashko is the Code Guru! He does a great job by making sure the online store is up to date, packed with latest features and better than any other site out there!

Why I became a Diver: Exploring is the best way to understand the world, What place is better to be explored then the place were we all come up underwater :)

Terry Farmer

Terry Farmer

Favorite places to dive: Saint Martin, Grand Cayman, Florida, Gilboa Quarry, Lake Michigan.

DRIS Responsibilities:Support the online store and our full service shop by ensuring all products are shipped out as if they were my own. You can also find me in the storefront helping customers or just trying to help out where needed.

Why I became a Diver: It all started on a trip to Grand Cayman with my family in 2006. I was snorkeling while watching my Father and Sister in law playing with Sting Rays. I thought it looked like a lot more fun down there then I was having at the mercy of the waves and looking out for the notorious blind eel. That afternoon I was in a pool all geared up learning to do what I love now. The only thing I regret is waiting so long to try it.

Kasia Wolender

Kasia Wolender

Favorite places to dive: Cozumel, Curacao, Cenotes, Gilboa Quarry, Lake Michigan.

DRIS Responsibilities:Anything and everything...I help out the team with everything we can to make sure you have a great experience here at Dive Right In Scuba

Why I became a Diver: It all started in Cozumel with a set of snorkeling gear. I wanted to be able to go deeper and be closer to the reef and animals. I became certified as soon as I got back from that trip. It's been my passion ever since.

Chris Lowe

Chris Lowe

Favorite Places to Dive: Florida Keys, St. Lucia, Lake Michigan, The Outer Banks, pretty much anywhere there is something to see!

DRIS Responsibilities:Anything and everything...I help out the team with everything we can to make sure you have a great experience here at Dive Right In Scuba

Why I became a Diver: I had always dreamed of diving, so I decided when I came home from Iraq, that it was time to turn that dream into a reality. Once I took my first breath underwater, there was no turning back....I WAS HOOKED!!!!

Chris Spoo

Chris Spoo

Favorite thing to see: Caves and Mines

DRIS Responsibilities:Tank Monkey

Why I became a Diver: The year was 1998, I was bored, and it looked cool. Later on I was bit by the exploration bug, which led me to caves, mines, shipwrecks, and rebreathers.

Kim Berry

Kim Berry

Why I dive:I love the underwater world!

DRIS Responsibilities: Helping make every customer get their order as soon as possible. I help out all over the store and I try to make sure every customer had a great DRIS experience.

Tim Linse

Tim Linse

Favorite places to dive:St. Croix, the Great Lakes, the Florida Caves & Wrecks.

DRIS Responsibilities: Front of the Store Sales, Customer Service, and Scuba Instructor. My mission is to make every customer feel right at home at Dive Right In Scuba.

Experience:PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, PADI Tec Trimix Instructor, SDI Open Water Instructor, TDI Advanced Nitrox & Decompression Procedures Instructor, EFR Instructor, Managed a Midwest Dive Store and a Caribbean Dive Store. Certified Regulator Technician, Cylinder Inspector, and Trimix Gas Blending Instructor.

Credentials:PADI Courses: Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Rescue Diver, Divemaster, Discover Tec, Tec 40, Tec 45, Tec 50, Tec 56, Trimix Tec Diver, Sidemount Diver, Tec Sidemount Diver, Peak Performance Buoyancy, Project AWARE, Deep Diver, DPV Diver, Night Diver, Wreck Diver, Self-Reliant Diver, Equipment Specialist, Underwater Photography, Trimix Gas Blender, Enriched Air, Emergency Oxygen Provider, Boat Diver, & Dry Suit Diver. SDI/TDI Courses: Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Rescue Diver, Divemaster, Advanced Buoyancy, Boat Diver, Computer Nitrox, Deep Diver, Dry Suit Diver, Equipment Specialist, Marine EcoSystem Awareness, Night-Limited Visibility, Search & Recovery, Solo Diver, Underwater Navigation, Underwater Photography, Underwater Video, Wreck Diver, Intro to Tech, Nitrox, Nitrox Gas Blender, Sidemount, Advanced Nitrox, Decompression Procedures, CPR1st, CPROX, & CPROX1st AED.

Rachel Fisher

Rachel Fisher

Favorite thing to see:Manta Rays, Turtles, Sharks, Dolphins

DRIS Responsibilities: Manage Drysuit Repair making sure customers are aware and up to date on the progress of their drysuit repair. Also part time sales and instructor.

Why I became a diver:I started diving for fun on family holiday and then completely fell in love with the sport. Underwater has become my happy place, you leave all stress and problems on the surface and enjoy the dive.

Experience:Certified 2002, PADI Professional 2012. Became an OWSI in 2013 and started working directly with a Course Director teaching for an internship for Divemasters, teaching everything from Open Water to Specialties and Divemasters. I eventually became an IDC Staff Instructor and assisted on many IDCs. Although my experience is mainly in the warm waters of Cozumel Mexico; I’m looking forward to the challenges and learning experiences of Local Chicago Diving.

Dan De Craene

Service Department, Public Safety Dive Specialist

Favorite place to dive: Anywhere that isn't black water. The wrecks in Lake Michigan will always have me in the cold water.

DRIS Responsibilities: I work in our service department repairing and maintaining regulators, cylinders and valves, BCDs, and full face masks. I also work closely Public Safety clients in training, sales, maintenance, and consulting.

Why I became a diver: I started diving to become a member of my fire department's Under Water Rescue and Recovery Team. With ten years experience as a Public Safety diver, I have experienced many black water dives.

Stephen Zolper

Stephen Zolper

Favorite things to see: Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes, Cenotes of the Yucatan Peninsula, reefs and walls of Cozumel, Bonne Terre Mines. Also, new divers developing skills, retaining knowledge, increasing awareness, and gaining appreciation for the marine environment.

DRIS Responsibilities: I work full-time at the dive shop primarily as an equipment service technician maintaining and repairing regulators, full-face masks, BCDs, tanks, valves and rental gear. I also assist with VIPs, gas blending and compressor maintenance.

My experience:I became a certified diver in 2013 and a Dive Master in early 2016. I completed my SDI Instructor training in May of 2017. I have Instructor ratings for Night and Limited Visibility, Deep,Underwater Navigation, Advanced Buoyancy, Computer, Nitrox, Dry Suit, Wreck, Equipment Specialist, Rescue, Divemaster and all First Response Training courses. I am an active member of DAN, REEF, Project Aware and The Cousteau Society. I have dived various locations in the United States, Caribbean Islands, Mexico, and Central America.

First Response Training Instructor for all courses

Why I became a diver: As a young child I wanted to be Aqua Man. While growing up I became fascinated with the explorations and discoveries of Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Exploring the underwater realm freely, witnessing the creation and life cycles of creatures uninterrupted, a peaceful and serene way of escaping the hectics of every day life all appealed to me. With medical advancements and dive gear innovations I was finally able to turn my life long dream and passion into a reality. For me, diving truly is a state of being...

Chris Wilhoyt

Chris Wilhoyt

Favorite things to see: : If I had to pick one place it would be Bonaire; some of the most beautiful and inspiring dives I’ve ever had were in the Caribbean. However, I am truly happy just being underwater blowing a few bubbles be it in a pool, the Great Lakes, an underwater pump-room or the open ocean

Other courses I enjoy teaching include:: Peak Performance Buoyancy, Diver Propulsion Vehicle, Emergency Oxygen Provider, Fish ID, Dry Suit Diver, Underwater Photography, Deep Diver, Nitrox, Boat Diver, Underwater Navigator, Search & Recovery, Wreck Diver, Project Aware, Aware Coral Reef Conservation, Care for Children w/AED, Computer Diver, Underwater Pumpkin Carving, Dive Against Debris, and Surface Marker Buoy.

My experience: I started diving in 2011 and within the year was almost to 100 dives. My passion for diving drove me to keep learning and through experience and courses I soon decided to start the road to becoming a dive professional. In 2016 I joined the ranks of Dive Instructors and have worked my way to become a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer and EFR Instructor.

Why I became a diver: I have always had an interest in diving and was finally given the opportunity when my son got older and expressed interest in the ocean. As a common passion for both of us we decided to try diving and became hooked for life. Now diving is an integral part of my life and I enjoy being able to share the experience with others.

Augie Juricic

Favorite thing to see: Great Lakes shipwrecks, Bonne Terre Mine.

DRIS Responsibilities: Anything and everything...I help out the team with everything we can to make sure you have a great experience here at Dive Right In Scuba.

Why I became a Diver: I have always been big into snorkeling, and diving seemed like a perfect fit. I am also a history buff, and there is so much to explore under the water that has been hidden away.

Dante

Dante

Favorite thing to see: Bubbles!!

DRIS Responsibilities:I make sure to inspect everyone that walks in the door. If you don't see me, I might be sleeping, just don't tell the boss!!!

Why I became a Diver: Still trying to finish my Openwater Class...I just can't focus, I keep staring at the bubbles and trying to attack them!

Rod Pedersen

Rod Pedersen

Favorite Places to Dive: Lake Michigan, Florida Keys, Bahamas, South Carolina, & Turks and Caicos.

Why I became A Diver: Rod love's teaching new divers as he sees the look of enjoyment, excitement, curiousness, and adventure in the students saucer like eyes. He has taught in Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Turks & Caicos, Bahamas, Florida Keys. He enjoys just getting wet and relaxing watching the large pelagic as well as the micro life of the underwater world.

Experience: First Breath underwater was July 1960. Instructor Trainer, CPROX1st AED CPR trainer, Emergency First Response CPR, AED Trainer, Open Water Instructor Trainer, Advanced Open Water Instructor, Rescue Diver Instructor, Dive Master Trainer, Assistant Instructor Trainer, Solo Diver Trainer, Professional Cylinder / Scuba Inspector, Visual Tank Inspector, Valve Repair, Eddy Current Inspector.

Instructor for the Following Specialties:

Advanced Buoyancy, Boat, Computer Diver, Computer Nitrox, Deep, Diver Propulsion Vehicle, Drift Diver, Dry Suit, Equipment Specilaty, Full Face Mask, Ice Diver, Marine Ecosystem, Night & Low Visibility, Search & Recovery, Underwater Navigation, Underwater Photographer, Underwater Video, Wreck Diver, Solo Diver, Visual Inspection, Cprox Administrator, Cpr1st, Cprox1stAed, Digital Photography, Project Aware, Fish ID, Aware Coral, Reef Conservation.

Marc A Morale

Opportunities scuba has given me:I've been on the scuba speaking circuit having presented seminars & workshops at the Scuba Show Long Beach, Beneath the Sea NJ, DEMA, the Ghost Ship Festival, and Chicago's own Our World Underwater. These speaking opportunities lead me to collaborate with Bonica Precision on their teaching guide and underwater videography & photography scuba agency teaching specialty.

My experience:"I've been a Dive Professional since 1997 and I maintain a SDI/TDI Instructor Trainer and a PADI IDC Staff Instructor status. Despite my instructor status, I enjoy playing the role of a Divemaster the most. Meshing with students, hauling tanks, leading dive groups, finding & pointing out underwater photo ops, and rinsing gear at the end of a dive is still fun & enjoyable to me. Oh, did I mention I grill a mean quarry burger?"

Hobbies (not related to scuba): In 1976 I joined a church scout like group called Royal Rangers. Through the program I became a frontier reenactment camper. I can typically stick a Bowie knife or a hawk 9 times out of 10 at 5 paces. Today I am proud to be a volunteer leader in the program that my 2 boys have joined me in.

Guilty admission: I am a life long Chicago South-Sider and a self deprecating Cubs fan.

Why I became a diver: My interest in the ocean and scuba began long before I became a certified diver. The documentaries of Jacques Cousteau initially kindled an interest in me. I can recall tuning into Chicago’s PBS station channel 11 WTTW in hopes they would be airing an adventure of his. As a youth on any given Sunday, I can recall tuning into Chicago’s Channel 9 WGN to watch “Family Classics” with Frazier Thomas in hopes the movie adaptation of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea would be on. When my family went on it’s first trip to Disney World (in the early 80‘s) I couldn’t wait to go on 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. I still remember holding my breath (a scuba no-no) as the submarine ”descended.” My childhood was dramatically impacted by the visual images of movies, television, and Disney magic. Perhaps that is why I now have such a passion for underwater videography and photography. To be able to capture a moment of interest or excitement underwater and share it with family and friends is a great joy of mine.

Karl Wexelberg

Karl Wexelberg (Public Safety Specialist)

Favorite thing to see: I just love to be IN THE WATER. So anything I see underwater is a bonus, especially helping new students get their certifications and watching them grow as divers.

My experience:  I became a certified diver in 1992. Since then I have traveled to many locations worldwide and have taken the opportunity to explore many things. I have continued to gain experience and improve my dive education. I am currently a member of Coal City Fire Protection Water Rescue team as an ERDI Public Safety diver and Swift Water rescue technician.

Credentials SDI Course Director Instructor Trainer, Open Water Instructor/Trainer, Course Director, and Open Water Instructor. Instructor certifications in the following SDI specialties: Advanced Adventure Diver, Advanced Buoyancy, Advanced Diver, Air Fill Station Operator, Rescue Diver, Dive Master, Boat Diving, Computer Diver, Computer Nitrox, Deep Diver, Drift Diving, Dry Suit Diver, Equipment Specialist, Full Face Mask, Ice Diving, Marine Ecosystem Awareness, Search and Recovery Instructor, Shore & Beach Diving, Solo Diving Instructor, Underwater Navigation Instructor, and Wreck Diving FRTI Instructor/Trainer and Instructor for Adult, Child, & Infant Emergency Care Course; Child and Infant Emergency Care Course; Workplace CPR/AED Course; Bloodborne Pathogens Course, and Oxygen Administration Course ERDI Instructor/Trainer, ERDI 1 and 2 Instructor, ERDI Tender instructor, ERDI Supervisor, Dry Suit Ops Instructor, Ice Diving Ops Instructor, Full Face Mask Ops Instructor, Surface Ice Rescue Ops Instructor, Contaminated Water Ops Instructor, IL OSFM Water Operations Instructor, Surface Ice operations Instructor, PADI Master Scuba Diver Training Instructor and the following PADI specialties: Dry Suit, Deep, Enriched Air, Full Face mask, Night, Peak Performance Buoyancy, Project Aware, Search & Recovery, Self-Reliant diver, Underwater Navigation. And Emergency First Response – All levels

Why I became a diver:  I became a diver because I got a taste of it with the military. I have always loved being in the water. Once I was under water and breathing, it became a passion.

Dave Wetherald

Dave Wetherald (Public Safety Specialist)

Favorite thing to see: In the Great Lakes it would be an almost intact shipwreck with decent visibility (I have experienced in excess of 80' visibility). If I am in the Caribbean it would be the different forms of sea life but especially sharks, dolphins and turtles. On the West Coast it is pretty cool to swim through a kelp forest because you never know what you might find.

Why I became A Diver: It may sound trite but I, like many others around my age, became a diver because I was glued to the TV every time Sea Hunt was on (the good one starring Lloyd Bridges � not that the remake with Ron Ely). It was pretty cool when my wife and kids presented me with the boxed set of the entire series for Father's Day one year.

Experience: I started my first SCUBA course through the Chicago Park District in 1973; I only wish I could find that certification card. I started working with diver education around 1976 at Western Illinois University under the direction of Bob Clow (PADI Instructor #M-9 and one of the founders of PADI). I participated in a PADI Instructor Training Course in 1983 that was partially taught by Ralph Erickson (PADI President & Founder). Over the years I ascended through the PADI professional ranks of Divemaster, Instructor, Master Scuba Diver Trainer, Master Instructor and became a PADI Course Director in 1994 with the ability to teach about 30-35 specialties. I am an Emergency First Response (ERD) Instructor Trainer (formerly a PADI Medic First Aid Instructor Trainer) and previously held the rating of Instructor Trainer for the Divers Alert Network (DAN). I crossed over to ERDI/SDI/TDI in 2009 and now specialize in Public Safety Diving where I can combine my diving knowledge with over 30 years of law enforcement experience.

Rachel Fisher

Rachel Fisher

Favorite thing to see:Manta Rays, Turtles, Sharks, Dolphins

DRIS Responsibilities: Manage Drysuit Repair making sure customers are aware and up to date on the progress of their drysuit repair. Also part time sales and instructor.

Why I became a diver:I started diving for fun on family holiday and then completely fell in love with the sport. Underwater has become my happy place, you leave all stress and problems on the surface and enjoy the dive.

Experience:Certified 2002, PADI Professional 2012. Became an OWSI in 2013 and started working directly with a Course Director teaching for an internship for Divemasters, teaching everything from Open Water to Specialties and Divemasters. I eventually became an IDC Staff Instructor and assisted on many IDCs. Although my experience is mainly in the warm waters of Cozumel Mexico; I’m looking forward to the challenges and learning experiences of Local Chicago Diving.

Jim Shapard

Jim Shapard

Favorite thing to see: My favorite thing to see, underwater, are wrecks. I am always fascinated, and even a little bit "spooked" by seeing a huge, man-made vessel, designed and built to float on top of the water, setting on the bottom. It's a bit humbling. There's also a sense of history with wrecks not intentionally sunk..

Why I became A Diver: I became a diver because I wanted a new adventure in my life. Scuba diving has never disappointed me in that area. Every dive is an adventure!

Experience:First breath underwater was July 15, 1997. Currently a PADI MSDT (Master Scuba Diver Trainer) and an SDI Open Water Instructor.

Credentials

Open Water Instructor, Advanced Open Water Instructor, Rescue Diver Instructor, and Divemaster Instructor.

Instructor for the Following Specialties.

Peak Performance Bouyancy, Wreck diver, Multi-level Diver, Underwater Navigation, Search and Recovery Diver, Underwater Photographer, Deep Diver, Night Diver, Boat Diver, and Enriched Air Diver

Favorite Places to Dive

Jim loves it all, from a mud hole to the crystal waters of the Cayman Islands. His very favorites are most of the Windward and Leeward Islands of the French, Dutch and British West Indies, especially Dominica. Jim also enjoys Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and the Florida Keys. Jim says the best midwest diving is right where we train, Haigh Quarry!

Jim says. "There's nothing like the magical moment when a student first breaths underwater. I can see the excitement in their eyes! It is such a kick to introduce people to the beautiful and thrilling underwater world!"

He has taught in Illinois and the Florida Keys.

Matt Gruca

Matt Gruca (Public Safety Specialist)

Favorite Places to Dive:Cal Sag Canal, Lake Michigan, Rotan and Cozumel.

My Experience:In the summer of 2001 I became a PADI OWSI and in January 2004 I became a SDI OWSI. Currently I am employed Full-Time with the Palos Heights Fire Protection District, since 1998 and became an ERDI Public Safety Instructor in June 2006. I am also the MABAS 19/22 Water Rescue and Recovery Team Leader, which currently has 50 members that specialize in Dive, Ice, and Swift/Flood Water Rescue. Furthermore the team uses Sonar technology to assist in victim and evidence recovery. In April 2006 I was certified to teach the IL OSFM Water Operations course and I can also teach all 5 of the OSFM Technician Courses. This year at the 2014 MABAS Conference I was voted onto the IL MABAS Water Rescue Committee.

Credentials: PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor, Dry Suit Instructor, Ice Diver Instructor, SDI Open Water Scuba Instructor, Dry Suit Instructor, CPROX1st AED CPR Instructor, ERDI Instructor, Dry Suit Ops Instructor, Ice Diving Ops Instructor, Full Face Mask Ops Instructor, Surface Ice Rescue Ops Instructor, Contaminated Water Ops Instructor, Underwater Crime Scene Instructor, Swift Water Instructor, OSFM Water Operations Instructor, Watercraft Technician Instructor, Dive Technician Instructor, Ice Dive Technician Instructor, Surface Ice Technician Instructor, and Swift Water Technician Instructor.

Tim Linse

Tim Linse

Favorite places to dive:St. Croix, the Great Lakes, the Florida Caves & Wrecks.

DRIS Responsibilities: Front of the Store Sales, Customer Service, and Scuba Instructor. My mission is to make every customer feel right at home at Dive Right In Scuba.

Experience:PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, PADI Tec Trimix Instructor, SDI Open Water Instructor, TDI Advanced Nitrox & Decompression Procedures Instructor, EFR Instructor, Managed a Midwest Dive Store and a Caribbean Dive Store. Certified Regulator Technician, Cylinder Inspector, and Trimix Gas Blending Instructor.

Credentials:PADI Courses: Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Rescue Diver, Divemaster, Discover Tec, Tec 40, Tec 45, Tec 50, Tec 56, Trimix Tec Diver, Sidemount Diver, Tec Sidemount Diver, Peak Performance Buoyancy, Project AWARE, Deep Diver, DPV Diver, Night Diver, Wreck Diver, Self-Reliant Diver, Equipment Specialist, Underwater Photography, Trimix Gas Blender, Enriched Air, Emergency Oxygen Provider, Boat Diver, & Dry Suit Diver. SDI/TDI Courses: Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Rescue Diver, Divemaster, Advanced Buoyancy, Boat Diver, Computer Nitrox, Deep Diver, Dry Suit Diver, Equipment Specialist, Marine EcoSystem Awareness, Night-Limited Visibility, Search & Recovery, Solo Diver, Underwater Navigation, Underwater Photography, Underwater Video, Wreck Diver, Intro to Tech, Nitrox, Nitrox Gas Blender, Sidemount, Advanced Nitrox, Decompression Procedures, CPR1st, CPROX, & CPROX1st AED.

Kelly Grahn

Kelly Grahn

Why I became a diver: I grew up in Upper Michigan and was always around water and boats. I remember one of my favorite pastimes was laying on the living room floor watching Jacques Cousteau on PBS. Diving has always fascinated me and was always something I wanted to do.

My Experience: I snorkeled extensively as a kid, but there wasn’t an opportunity to get Scuba certified. As an adult, I took a discover course and a resort course, and finally got certified. After I had gone as far as I could recreationally, with a bunch of specialties and became a PADI Master Diver, I headed down the DiveMaster path and got both SDI and PADI Divemaster Certifications. I spent a year working as a DM before I headed down the Instructor path. I enjoy working with students and seeing their excitement when they take their first breaths underwater and when they “get” the weightless sensation just right.

Credentials: SDI Open Water Instructor, and Instructor the following SDI specialties: Advanced Adventure Diver, Advanced Diver, Rescue Diver, Dive Master, Underwater Navigation, Night and Limited Visibility, Wreck Diver, Advanced Buoyancy, Computer Diver, Deep Diver, Computer Nitrox, and Dry Suit Diver.

Favorite Thing to See: I like a mix of wrecks and reef, boat and shore diving. I enjoy the history of the ships, how they served, how they went down, and combine this with my interest in history in general. I enjoy observing aquatic life and colorful underwater features. Turtles, rays, eels, and sharks are my favorites, but also the very small creatures that you have to slow down and look closely to find.

Nancy Huntington

Nancy Huntington

Favorite thing to see: I enjoy any kind of diving, from the crystal clear, warm waters of the Caribbean to the often murky cold, more challenging waters of the Midwest. On any given non training weekend during the summer , I enjoy exploring the many wrecks located in the depths of The Great Lakes. I also enjoy seeing ocean marine life including sharks, dolphins, stingrays and turtles. I am still , however , in search of the “ elusive “ Seahorse ( I have yet to spot one in its own habitat ) .

My Experience:My first dive dates back to 1986 in St. Thomas , V.I. as a “ discover scuba “ session. I also enjoyed diving in Nassau , Bahamas and the Dominican Republic over the years before coming back to Chicago and obtaining my PADI Open Water certification. I went on to complete Advanced Open Water followed by specialties in Deep, Wreck, Navigation, Multi Level , Night , Nitrox, Drysuit , Solo diver , Rescue Diver & Master Diver . I realized early through my own course work just how fun it would be to work with students, so I made the transition to the professional venue by completed concurrent SDI and PADI Divemaster certifications . After assisting with students under the direct supervision of other instructors / instructor trainers at Dive Right In Scuba for awhile, I knew working on achieving my Open Water Instructor Certification was the logical next step for me. My OWSDI certification was completed in May 2015 .

Credentials: SDI Open Water Instructor. Instructor certifications in the following SDI specialties: Advanced Adventure Diver, Advanced Diver, Rescue Diver, Dive Master, Underwater Navigation, Night and Limited Visibility, Wreck Diver, Advanced Buoyancy, Computer Diver, Deep Diver, Computer Nitrox, and Dry Suit Diver.

Why I became a Diver: My passion for diving goes way back to my love for the water. A quick history includes many years of summer lifeguarding jobs along with competitive swimming in high school and throughout college. The Earth is made up of 75 % water , there’s lots out there waiting to be explored . Having a tank on your back along with proper training opens a whole world that many will never experience. Ready to take the plunge ?!?

Stephen Zolper

Stephen Zolper

Favorite things to see: Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes, Cenotes of the Yucatan Peninsula, reefs and walls of Cozumel, Bonne Terre Mines. Also, new divers developing skills, retaining knowledge, increasing awareness, and gaining appreciation for the marine environment.

DRIS Responsibilities: I work full-time at the dive shop primarily as an equipment service technician maintaining and repairing regulators, full-face masks, BCDs, tanks, valves and rental gear. I also assist with VIPs, gas blending and compressor maintenance.

My experience: I became a certified diver in 2013 and a Dive Master in early 2016. I completed my SDI Instructor training in May of 2017. I have Instructor ratings for Night and Limited Visibility, Deep,Underwater Navigation, Advanced Buoyancy, Computer, Nitrox, Dry Suit, Wreck, Equipment Specialist, Rescue, Divemaster and all First Response Training courses. I am an active member of DAN, REEF, Project Aware and The Cousteau Society. I have dived various locations in the United States, Caribbean Islands, Mexico, and Central America.

First Response Training Instructor for all courses

Why I became a diver: As a young child I wanted to be Aqua Man. While growing up I became fascinated with the explorations and discoveries of Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Exploring the underwater realm freely, witnessing the creation and life cycles of creatures uninterrupted, a peaceful and serene way of escaping the hectics of every day life all appealed to me. With medical advancements and dive gear innovations I was finally able to turn my life long dream and passion into a reality. For me, diving truly is a state of being...

Chris Wilhoyt

Chris Wilhoyt

Favorite things to see: : If I had to pick one place it would be Bonaire; some of the most beautiful and inspiring dives I’ve ever had were in the Caribbean. However, I am truly happy just being underwater blowing a few bubbles be it in a pool, the Great Lakes, an underwater pump-room or the open ocean

Other courses I enjoy teaching include:: Peak Performance Buoyancy, Diver Propulsion Vehicle, Emergency Oxygen Provider, Fish ID, Dry Suit Diver, Underwater Photography, Deep Diver, Nitrox, Boat Diver, Underwater Navigator, Search & Recovery, Wreck Diver, Project Aware, Aware Coral Reef Conservation, Care for Children w/AED, Computer Diver, Underwater Pumpkin Carving, Dive Against Debris, and Surface Marker Buoy.

My experience: I started diving in 2011 and within the year was almost to 100 dives. My passion for diving drove me to keep learning and through experience and courses I soon decided to start the road to becoming a dive professional. In 2016 I joined the ranks of Dive Instructors and have worked my way to become a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer and EFR Instructor.

Why I became a diver: I have always had an interest in diving and was finally given the opportunity when my son got older and expressed interest in the ocean. As a common passion for both of us we decided to try diving and became hooked for life. Now diving is an integral part of my life and I enjoy being able to share the experience with others.

Mike Pedersen

Mike Pedersen

Favorite thing to see:Anything underwater! There is so much life under the water, how can you go wrong.

My Experience:I have been diving since 1992 and have been having fun underwater ever since! With a few hundred dives under my belt, I have been diving all over the world. I have learned so much over the years and enjoy helping new students learn to dive.

Why I became a Diver: To explore

Joseph (Yosef) Mendelsohn

Joseph (Yosef) Mendelsohn

Favorite thing to see:Every location I have dived has been a source of inspiration and amazement in one way or another. From the magnificent shipwrecks in Lake Michigan, to the other-worldly cenotes in Mexico's Yucatan, to the awesome sharks off of Jupiter, Florida, every experience has made me grateful for the good fortune and privilege of being a diver!

My Experience:I have dived many of the "usual" locations such as Florida, the Caribbean, and the West Coast. I have also worked as a divemaster on a liveaboard in Thailand for a couple of months until the real world called me back. I am certified as a Rescue Diver, Divemaster, and Technical Diver (Advanced Nitrox/Decompression) through PADI and SDI. My joy in diving comes in no small part from continually trying to advance my skills and knowledge by continuing my dive education and experiences!

Why I became a Diver: Diving is something I had always wanted to do. About seven years ago, at a travel expo, my wife pretty much threw me into a 4-foot wading pool with some scuba gear on, and I was hooked! In addition to the beauty of the underwater world, I am also motivated by the intellectual challenges of diving, And last, but certainly not least, I have made many new friends from all walks of life (both geographically and politically) who I am thankful to now call friends!

DRIS Responsibilities: I do quite a lot of crewing on our affiliated charter operation. I take pride in making sure that, in addition to safety (our #1 objective), we ensure that all divers feel comfortable on the boat, and have a great time both above and below water. I love getting to know the divers who come out with us, and try my best to make sure that they have the kind of experience that will make them want to return to dive with us again and again!

Chris Lowe

Chris Lowe

Favorite Places to Dive: Florida Keys, St. Lucia, Lake Michigan, The Outer Banks, pretty much anywhere there is something to see!

DRIS Responsibilities:Anything and everything...I help out the team with everything we can to make sure you have a great experience here at Dive Right In Scuba

Why I became a Diver: I had always dreamed of diving, so I decided when I came home from Iraq, that it was time to turn that dream into a reality. Once I took my first breath underwater, there was no turning back....I WAS HOOKED!!!!

Joe Ward

Joe Ward

Favorite Places to Dive:Lake Michigan, Local Quarries, Hawaii, and the Gulf of Mexico

My experience: I became a certified diver in 1997. Since then I have worked to improve and advance my skills. I have gone diving in a variety of locations, continued to take courses, and have also became a public safety diver.

Why I became a diver:I grew up in a family of divers, and have been around scuba diving entire life.

Scot Ward

Favorite things to see: Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes, Cenotes of the Yucatan Peninsula, reefs and walls of Cozumel, Bonne Terre Mines. Also, new divers developing skills, retaining knowledge, increasing awareness, and gaining appreciation for the marine environment.

My experience: Started Scuba Diving in 2005 after some Snorkeling on trips to the Keys. DM since fall 2017. Around 700 dives.

Favorite places to Dive: Bonaire, Saba, St Croix, Bahamas, lakes, quarries pretty much anywhere

Mark Tan

Mark Tan

I run an insurance and financial services practice by day, but I'm a diver every other moment I can get in the water! My wife, Camille, and I were certified in the Summer of 2015 after 7 years of vacation resort courses and telling ourselves "We should really get certified sometime...". Thankfully we stumbled across DRIS one evening while walking downtown Plainfield during an automotive Cruise night. Since then, I have really enjoyed exploring warm and cooler water locations both locally and abroad. I'm always "tweaking" my gear, buying this**, changing that. I love the technical aspect of the equipment, dive theory, and physics behind it. Other hobbies include cars, cigars, and photography (both above and under the water). **Mark is no longer allowed to go into DRIS by himself because he always ends up impulsively buying something and now requires "adult supervision" when in the store.

Credentials: SDI: Open Water, Nitrox, Deep, Night, Limited Penetration Wreck, Navigation, Rescue, Advanced Open Water, Master Diver, Dive Master, and the rare and highly coveted Underwater Pumpkin Carving Diver. PADI: EFR/CPR and Dive Master

Places I've gone Diving: Straits of Mackinac (Lake Huron/Lake Michigan) Shipwrecks, Lake Michigan Shipwrecks, Grand Cayman, Hawaii, Playa Del Carmen, Cancun, Key Largo, Gilboa Quarry (OH), Haigh Quarry "The Caribbean of the Mid-West" (IL).

Camille Tan

I work with my husband, Mark, running our Insurance and Financial Services practice and along with SCUBA am a Nationally ranked competitive swimmer. When I am not under the water, I am usually racing on it. You'll find me regularly competing in open water races throughout the summer and racing indoors in the winter. I was drawn to SCUBA through my love of travel, adventure, and the water. My favorite dives are the ones when we see turtles, rays, and sharks. I've been lucky enough to have seen a pod of dolphins swim by on a dive as well!! I enjoy wreck diving and the history of our maritime legacy, and having access to the Great Lakes (while chilly) has proved to be a fun challenge. I'm not one to swap out gear or make things too complicated, but I love to keep learning and growing as a diver. I began diving because it is fun, and I like to keep things lively and entertaining. Being in the insurance field, I'm very aware of risk mitigation and do everything I can to keep our dives fun and safe! In the rare moments I am not in the water I enjoy gardening, wine, cars, and travel.

Credentials: SDI: Open Water, Nitrox, Deep, Night, Limited Penetration Wreck, Navigation, Rescue, Advanced Open Water, Master Diver, Dive Master, and the rare and highly coveted Underwater Pumpkin Carving Diver. PADI: EFR/CPR and Dive Master.

Places I've gone Diving:Straits of Mackinac (Lake Huron/Lake Michigan) Shipwrecks, Lake Michigan Shipwrecks, Hawaii, Grand Cayman, Playa Del Carmen, Cancun, Key Largo, Gilboa Quarry (OH), Haigh Quarry "The Caribbean of the Mid-West" (IL).

Nicole Alarid

DRIS Responsibilities:Divemaster.

My experience: While my Open Water status just started in 2015 in Thailand, I have been diving monthly since. Most of my diving experience has been in foreign destinations all over the world in Central & South America, Mexico, the Caribbean, Indonesia, throughout the Middle East and South Africa. I was referred to Dive Right in Scuba for an SDI Dry Suit certification so that I can dive more locally and start my adventure into cold water diving. It was in late 2016 I started to explore Lake Michigan & Quarry diving and I took some speciality training and earned several SDI certs to include Dry Suit, Nitrox, Peak Buoyancy. I then spent 2017 diving worldwide again and working on Rescue certification in Belize, which is when I started to consider taking the professional route. I did my Divemaster training with DRIS and will eventually I will continue to go the instructor path once I gain experience as a DM.

Favorite places to Dive: Bonaire, Saba, St Croix, Bahamas, lakes, quarries pretty much anywhere

Why I became A Diver: Because I am a shark-junkie! But honestly, I really cannot put it into words; I just knew I had to see pelagic life underwater with my own eyes.

Paul Lair

Credentials: SDI: Open Water, Nitrox, Deep, Night, Limited Penetration Wreck, Navigation, Rescue, Advanced Open Water, Master Diver, Dive Master, and the rare and highly coveted Underwater Pumpkin Carving Diver. PADI: EFR/CPR and Dive Master

Favorite places to dive: Include Roatan, Belize, The Great Lakes, and local quarries and strip mines.

Favorite things to see: shipwrecks, learning fish species and just viewing the topography of the bottom.

Got certified in 2012 and am always training and learning. When complete with my Dual Agency dive master training I will help dive right in instructors train new open Water students and help crew one of the dive boats for double action charters.

Shawn Fanscali

I got certified in 1994 and my 1rst certified dive was in the Great Barrier Reef. After that I was hooked. Last year I became a Dive Master with Dive Right In and I hope to become an Instructor and ultimately retire to Florida where I can teach and dive everyday.

Favorite places to dive: Anywhere in the Caribbean, Florida, and North Carolina. I will be happy anywhere I am breathing underwater. Every trip now begins with the question “where can I dive?

Favorite things to see: SHARKS, SHARKS, SHARKS! I flew to South Africa just to jump in a cage and see Great White Sharks up close. This year I found my first Megaladon Shark tooth off the coast of Wilmington NC.

Got certified in 2012 and am always training and learning. When complete with my Dual Agency dive master training I will help dive right in instructors train new open Water students and help crew one of the dive boats for double action charters.