2017 NSS-CDS BOD Candidate Platform Statements
The below candidates are running for three openings on the NSS-CDS Board of Directors. All candidates have been vetted for eligibility by the NSS headquarters consistent with the NSS-CDS bylaws, Article III part B:
2017 NSS-CDS BOD Candidates (ordered based on the date the platform statement was received):
|Candidate||Platform Statement Receipt Date|
FREE DECO COOKIES?
I am currently the NSS-CDS Treasurer, having been appointed by the Board of Directors to fill the empty position twice. You may have met me through either diving, CDS clean-ups, Work Shops or the UWS. I have the big goofy dog that wanders the clean-ups and the hall at the Workshop and the Telford Monster chases me whenever I go there.
I know you are looking for someone who is not into politics and will stand on the platform of line arrows with names on them and free deco cookies for all. It would be nice, but I can promise that I will carry a sharpie with me and put your name on your line arrows and share my cookies if you ask. Like all cave divers…. I have an opinion.
I believe the members have a voice in the organization as well as a responsibility to participate.
Our organization needs to adapt and update with the times. We are no longer the 20 members the section started out with, but we are still using many of the same programs and processes from years past and have not always evolved with the times. This has been my focus since joining the Board, bringing possible solutions and alternatives for discussion and implementation, such as instituting set financial procedures, digital storage solutions, computer program updates, a portable more professional booth and power point presentations just to name a few.
We have moved past the law suit but are still in a difficult position, being squeezed by the economy with rising costs as well as bearing new costs for updates, upgrades and necessary repairs and replacements, but I believe we can still adapt, improve and continue forward, while still being fiscally responsible.
My objective in running for the NSS-CDS Board of Directors is to continue the mission of the NSS-CDS in conservation, exploration and training of underwater caves. I would like to help open up opportunities of discovery for scientific projects and exploration projects in underwater caves all while maintaining the highest standards for cave divers in training and those still learning. I will work hard to maintain access for caves to all cavers and continue to build relationships to open new caves.
I'm a long-time NSS-CDS member and cave diver. I work with NSS exploration projects across the Eastern US and Mexico discovering new cave passages and offering support for science research. I also volunteer with the NSS Domestic Exploration (Sara Corrie Fund) Grant committee and various conservation projects at the grotto level in Virginia, West Virginia and Florida. I have most recently enjoyed volunteering on NFSA projects at Peacock Springs, working with my local cave rescue organization and working on projects to maintain trails at local NSS preserves.
I have been an active Board Member of the NSS/CDS serving as Property Manager for the past year. During that time I have accomplished several things.
- Worked very closely with all the North Florida Dive Shops serving the cave community.
- Maintained up to date system reports.
- Was instrumental in having a revised waiver for the CDS which covers the NSS/CDS caves and functions.
- Collected wavers from the NSS/CDS cave sites and made sure that wavers were always available.
- Coordinated and or participated in property maintenance, clean ups, and improvements
- Was instrumental in keeping Little River open for cave divers during recent park construction and making sure that all dive shops had the combination to enter. This park was closed to all others.
- Represented the NSS/CDS in the construction of the new steps in Madison Blue , Martz NFSA Project.
- Presently working with the NSS to construct new steps and platforms in Alachua Sink after personally inspecting the situation.
- Working with Steve Boyer on new steps project at Peacock 1.
- Inspected pull rope at Cow and saw to it that a necessary repair was made.
- Personally inspect cave conditions at Cow to either close it or allow diving.
- Coordinated the NSS/CDS efforts at DEMA (Orlando then Las Vegas) for the past 2 years. Arranged for material transport and booth personnel.
- Set up and maintained the NSS/CDS Booth for Spring Day in Manatee Springs and solicited volunteers for the same.
- Set up and maintained the NSS/CDS Booth for Megadive at Ginnie Springs and solicited CDS Instructors for the same.
- I will be setting up and taking down the NSS/CDS Booth at Spring Appreciation Day in Gainesville during the month of March 2017. I also solicited our Conservation Chair and the NFSA to join in the activity which they will.
- I do talks at nursing homes in Gainesville Florida representing the NSS/CDS to promote education, conservation, and awareness.
- Assist the NSS/CDS Conservation Committee on getting grants and doing promotions.
- I am presently the Chair of the 2017 International Cave Divers Conference. I was instrumental in rebranding from Workshop to International Cave Divers Conference.
- Working closely with Richard Black on the Winter Workshop in Mariana Florida. I will be present and help promote the NSS/CDS.
- Strive to foster good relationships with land owners, sponsors, and all parties interested in the NSS/CDS.
My mission is to make the NSS/CDS as good as it can be and to continue this work into the future.
I want to Make Cave Diving Great Again.
1. The NSS-CDS Should be an Organization that advocates for Cave Divers.
This would be the highest and best purpose of the organization. Advocating for Cave Divers means:
Promoting Cave Access
Promoting Excellence in Cave Diving
In my opinion advocating for Cave Divers is very different from advocating for Cave Diving.
2. I am opposed to and would reverse the bylaw revision to decouple NSS-CDS membership from the NSS.
The NSS-CDS should be strengthening it's ties to the parent organization, not weakening them. The NSS has nationwide scientific clout that we should be drawing from and adding to. The NSS-CDS should strive to be more like the NSS and less like a training agency.
3. I support a shutdown of the NSS-CDS Cavern, Basic Cave, Apprentice Cave Diver, and Full Cave Diver Training Programs.
The NSS-CDS Cave Diver Training program was something that came about when there were few alternatives. Now, cave diver training is ubiquitous among nearly every scuba training agency. There is no longer a need for a Cave Diver Training Program offered by the NSS-CDS and in its current state it is not advancing the interests of Cave Divers. The NSS-CDS should continue to offer training programs only to divers who are already "Full Cave Equivalent" trained to the extent these programs support the exploration, conservation, science, cave access, and excellence goals - such as underwater cave survey, underwater scientific support diving, and cave rescue/recovery. Records of Cavern, Basic Cave, Apprentice, and Full Cave diver NSS-CDS certifications will be maintained in order that lost certification cards can be re-issued.
The NSS-CDS Training Committee should regularly communicate with scuba training agencies to determine which training agencies and certifications meet "Full Cave Equivalent" standards and accredit those programs accordingly. By not offering Cavern, Basic Cave, Apprentice, and Full Cave certifications, the NSS-CDS will not be in competition with these agencies and will be better able to fulfill this role.
4. I support revising the Abe Davis / Henry Nicholson / Sheck Exley Award System
In furtherance of the NSS-CDS being committed to Cave Diver Excellence, the cave diving experience award system should be revised to exclude training dives, whether by the instructor or the student, from counting towards the awards.
5. The NSS-CDS should develop and facilitate cave diving access protocols for public and private landowners.
In furtherance of the NSS-CDS being committed to cave access, the NSS-CDS should continue to be a contact for public and private landowners and push for access to cave diving destinations.
What I propose are radical changes, but I believe they are necessary to move the NSS-CDS forward into the future as an organization with a clear mission for the benefit of all cave divers, and not just as another option as a technical training agency. If you disagree, don't vote for me.
I have served on the NSS-CDS board of directors for 4 years, one year as Secretary and three years as Chairman. During that time the most significant thing the Board of Directors had to deal with was the School Sink lawsuit. My role was to act as liaison to the attorneys and make sometimes difficult policy decisions as part of an effort to protect the interests of our organization.
My role as Chairman was greatly enhanced by the Board I was privileged to serve with. Diverse opinions and personalities and an ability to get along with one and other were key to any successes we enjoyed. While I wish I could take credit for them, I realize it was a collective effort that no one individual could claim.
The Chairman of an organization such as the NSS-CDS should seek out good people and let them do their jobs. While I believe board members should support one and other I do not believe we should micromanage at any level. Our role should be there to offer support when needed and to help correct mistakes when necessary.
I, in conjunction with the rest of this Board, have made a concerted effort to run the NSS-CDS in a business-like manner rather than as a social club. We have also made an effort to reach out to the membership and reinforce the notion that the NSS-CDS belongs to them. We serve at their pleasure.
I guess this is the part where I am supposed to list accomplishments but I figure that if you are going to vote then you already know what I did or didn’t do and I am not big on personal chest beating. There is only one thing I wish to brag about but I cannot take full credit for it. That one thing is that I am part of a Board that has put life and member enthusiasm back into the NSS-CDS. We now have people wanting to participate and run for the Board, serve on committees and attend our functions. A few short years ago we did not have enough interest to even run an election.
I ask for your vote because the NSS-CDS has some unfinished business that I would like to see through. Thank you for allowing me to serve you, the membership these past years.
In 2014, I was a new cave diver and attended the NSS-CDS Workshop in Lake City. I knew very few people in the community and was interested in the sport, although hesitant to approach others. I quickly learned that this would not be an issue when people began approaching me, introducing themselves and asking me about my experience and interest with this unique sport. During the talks that day, I learned a lot about the history of cave diving and the NSS-CDS and made many new friends. I was blown away by the friendliness and open spirit of the organization and immediately wanted to become more involved. Over the past few years I have involved myself in the sport and community as much as possible, and wish to continue to do so with the NSS-CDS. I believe that safe training and awareness for those that wish to pursue cave diving is paramount to our success. In 2016, I volunteered for the “Go No Farther” video production which highlights the dangers of untrained divers and overhead environments. From that video I received many questions about cave diver training and steered those interested towards getting the basic overhead training, even if they were not sure if they wanted to eventually proceed towards full cave diver certification. If elected, I want to more often utilize social media to promote the awareness of Florida’s springs and NSS-CDS overhead training for those wishing to dive in them. In 2017 I accepted the volunteer position of Awards Coordinator for the NSS-CDS and have enjoyed my brief time in the role. I equally believe that recognition of experienced, safe cave divers is important to maintain our member base and increase our future membership. If elected, I promise to continue to serve the CDS and its mission with diligence, enthusiasm, and dedication.
Keeping with what is going on in the world I think we should build a fence around all the springs and have the Springs pay for them.
I am sure we have all noticed over the years more and more damage being done to our Springs, This damage is not by divers but by the environment around us. The NSS CDS needs to take strong position in making sure that pollutants and other destructive elements are kept out of our aquifer, springs, and rivers. As a group that dives in these waters we need, through education, be the custodians of our chosen environment. I have been diving for quite some time and I do remember when our underwater world was in much better condition than it is today. It is not too late it is still repairable and I’d like to see the NCC-CDS and other technical diving agencies lead the way in maintaining and improving where we dive. The future of our waters is in our control and we need to be leaders in this conservation.