2019 Conference Speakers

Mario Arena

Mario Arena is an avid underwater explorer; his passion for naval history, his research, and activities have yielded the location and identification of many historical shipwrecks. Mario has also organized and led a number of projects in collaboration with Italian and Croatian archaeological authorities. Mario is an Instructor Evaluator for GUE.
 

Derek Covington

Derek Covington is a faculty anesthesiologist at the University of Florida (UF). As a board certified hyperbaricist, he also serves as the director of the Undersea Medicine clinic at UF. In addition to his clinical duties, Dr. Covington is an active researcher and explores the hemodynamic effects of immersion, exposure suits, and closed-circuit rebreathers (CCR). He is an avid CCR, technical, and cave diver. When not underwater, he enjoys spending time with his boa constrictor named Cuddles.
 

Dorota Czerny

Dorota Czerny started diving in 1996. Currently she is a GUE Tech 2, CCR and Cave 1 diver, as well as GUE Tech and Rec Instructor and Instructor Examiner. She started within GUE in 2005, and since then she has dedicated her diving career to develop herself within GUE and help to grow the organization itself. She is a member of GUE’s Board of Directors, works as GUE’s Recreational Administrator, and is involved in GUE’s instructor training. She enjoys teaching and developing training and teaching materials. She describes herself as “ocean-bound” with the majority of her experience gained from ocean diving – from shallow reefs to deep wrecks. Her job description and passion is teaching, so when asked about her profession she often says, "I am an educator."
 

Fred Devos

Fred Devos is a GUE cave instructor who has been exploring dry and underwater caves in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula since 1996. Originally from Canada, he shares his findings and experiences through articles and maps. As a founding member of the Mexico Cave Exploration Project, Fred continues to explore, survey, and document Ox Bel Ha, the world’s longest underwater cave. In addition to diving, Fred has a background in education and administers a nonprofit community education center that he established in the village where he lives.
 

Kirill Egorov

Kirill Egorov graduated from Moscow State Pedagogical University as a teacher of Physics in 1999, and attended a course of archaeology at Moscow State University. These two specialties allowed him to participate in multiple scientific research programs, including an archaeological and textile research project at the Moscow Kremlin Museums and Viking Age textile research at the Russian Natural and Historical Heritage Institute. After his first try-dive in 2000, Kirill was totally amazed with the underwater world, and made it his hobby first, and a profession later. He became a PADI recreational and technical instructor in 2003-2004 and joined GUE in 2005. Since that moment he has concentrated on two main passions: diving and teaching diving. Kirill is currently teaching for GUE at the Cave 2, Tech 2, and CCR 2 levels and is working on GUE training materials. He resides in High Springs, Florida, which allows him to cave dive as much as possible while pursuing his hobby of underwater photography.
 

Irene Homberger

Irene Homberger is a GUE Instructor Evaluator based in Switzerland, luckily very close to caves, and therefore always in for some underground adventure. Every time she enters a cave, no matter if it is with students, for exploration, or just for fun, she feels blessed to see the beautiful face of Mother Nature. Irene loves to share her passion with students, whom she sees as potential new buddies--the best buddies she could ever wish for.
 

Jarrod Jablonski

Jarrod Jablonski is an avid explorer, researcher, author, and instructor who teaches and dives in oceans and caves around the world. He is the founder of Global Underwater Explorers (GUE) and CEO of Extreme Exposure Adventure Center. He is widely regarded as one of the world’s most accomplished divers with numerous world record dives. For more than twenty years, Jarrod has been leading shipwreck and cave diving expeditions to some of the most remote underwater environments in the world. His longest dive thus far required 12 hours inside an underwater cave at a depth of nearly 300 feet (90 m) with an additional 18 hours of decompression (nearly 30 hours underwater). Jarrod’s efforts in developing the nonprofit GUE organization established a comprehensive educational system carefully designed to enhance diver safety and capacity. GUE divers play a critical role in a global set of initiatives designed to explore and conserve the aquatic world while conducting some of the most sophisticated dives ever accomplished. The GUE approach supports documentation and research within some of the world’s most difficult underwater environments.
 

John Kendall

John Kendall is a GUE technical, cave, and CCR instructor living in the UK. Since he was a small child, John has been fascinated by the underwater environment and the possibilities of adventure, and he is grateful to GUE for helping him to turn those childhood dreams into reality. As an instructor, John regularly travels around the world teaching GUE classes and helping to build local GUE communities. He is also the project manager for Project Baseline Malta. For the last four  years, John has been working with underwater 3D photogrammetry as a technique for nautical archaeology. This cutting edge technique allows for digital 3D models to be created of shipwrecks, and allows researchers and scientists unparalleled abilities to manipulate and navigate the sites from the comfort of their own computers. From the frigid waters of the Baltic to the toasty Mediterranean sea, John and GUE have been accumulating data and generating some cool looking imagery of deep water wrecks, and John is going to share some of it with us. When not diving (which is rare), John is also a commercially qualified UAV pilot.
 

Dr. Dawn Kernagis

Dr. Dawn Kernagis is a Research Scientist at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, where she studies human performance optimization and risk mitigation for operators in extreme environments, such as those working in undersea diving, high altitude aviation, and space. Dr. Kernagis came to IHMC from Duke University Medical Center, where her postdoctoral research was funded by the Office of Naval Research and the American Heart Association to identify pathophysiological mechanisms and potential therapeutic targets in multiple forms of acute brain injury. Dr. Kernagis completed her PhD at Duke University as ONR Undersea Medicine’s first Predoctoral Award recipient. Her thesis research focused on how genetics play a role in decompression sickness in Navy divers. Before pursuing her PhD, Dawn completed her undergraduate degree in biochemistry at North Carolina State University, and she held an internship at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, where she coordinated a study investigating differential carbon dioxide retention in scuba, rebreather, and breath-hold divers. She also worked on research projects through Duke’s Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Environmental Physiology, including Immersion Pulmonary Edema (Navy), Flying After Diving (DAN) and EVA Oxygen Prebreathe (NASA). Prior to her research career, Dawn was a diver and dive manager of numerous underwater exploration, research, and conservation projects around the world since 1993, including the deep underwater exploration of Wakulla Springs Cave and surrounding caves for over a decade. Based on her diving career and research contributions, she was inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame, Class of 2016. Dawn was also selected as one of six crew members to join NASA’s 21st undersea mission, NEEMO.
 

Todd Kincaid

Todd Kincaid is a groundwater scientist, underwater explorer, and advocate for science-based conservation of water resources and aquatic environments. He holds BS, MS, and PhD degrees in geology and hydrogeology and is the founder of GeoHydros, a consulting firm specializing in the development of computer models that simulate groundwater flow through complex hydrogeologic environments. He has been an avid scuba diver since 1980, having explored, mapped, and documented caves, reefs, and wrecks across much of the world. He helped start the diving organization Global Underwater Explorers (GUE) in 1999 and served on its board of directors and as its vice president from its inception to 2018. Within the scientific and diving communities, Todd advanced the use of volunteer technical divers and the data they can collect in endeavors aimed at understanding, restoring, and protecting underwater environments and water resources. He founded Project Baseline with GUE in 2009 and has been the organization’s executive director from its beginning.
 

Kees Beemster Leverenz

Kees Beemster Leverenz is a GUE instructor and technical diver based in Seattle, WA. He is actively involved in building the GUE Seattle community and underwater documentation using 3D photogrammetry. Kees has a degree in geology and now works in the technology industry.
 

Gareth Lock

Gareth Lock is passionate about improving diver safety. In 2011, he formed a research company whose aim was to transfer established safety management system practices from aviation to sport diving, cognizant that a straight path would not be possible given the nature of sport diving. In 2012, he began his PhD, which examines the role of human factors in scuba diving accidents and incidents. He has presented at a number of national and international diving conferences, promoting a “just culture” and reporting in the sport diving community to breaking down barriers, thereby making diving safer. He has recently been appointed as director for risk management for GUE to strengthen the organization and further develop a just culture within GUE. He has also launched a number of online and classroom-based courses to improve divers’ personal and team performance.
 

Richard Lundgren

Founder of Scandinavia’s Baltic Sea Divers and Ocean Discovery diving groups, and a member of GUE’s Board of Directors, Richard Lundgren has participated in numerous underwater expeditions worldwide and is one of Europe’s most experienced trimix divers. With more than 4000 dives to his credit, Richard Lundgren was a member of the GUE expeditions to dive the Britannic (sister ship of the ill-fated Titanic) in 1997 and 1999, and has been involved in numerous projects to explore mines and caves in Sweden, Norway, and Finland. In 1997, in arctic conditions, he performed the longest cave dive ever carried out in Scandinavia. Richard’s other exploration work has included the 1999 filming of the famous submarine, M1, for the BBC; the side scan sonar surveys of the Spanish gold galleons outside Florida’s Key West in 2000; and the search for the Admirals Fleet, an ongoing project that has already led to the discovery of more than 40 virgin wrecks perfectly preserved in the cold waters of the Swedish Baltic Sea.
 

Sam Meacham

Sam Meacham is the Director of El Centro Investigador del Sistema Acuifero in Quintana Roo, Mexico. An experienced cave diver and diver educator, he remains committed to understanding the complex dynamics of the Yucatán Peninsula's karst aquifer, as well as the people affected by it. He has extensive experience coordinating cave diving expeditions in the region, the most significant of which is the ongoing exploration of Sistema Ox Bel Ha and the adjacent Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. Sam earned a MSc in natural resources in 2012 from the University of New Hampshire and has been a Fellow of the Explorers Club of New York since 2000.
 

Michael Menduno

Michael Menduno, aka “M2”, is an award-winning reporter and technologist who has written about diving and diving technology for more than 30 years and serves as the executive editor of Global Underwater Explorers’ new blog, InDepth. He coined the term “technical diving,” and his former magazine, aquaCORPS: The Journal for Technical Diving (1990-1996), helped usher tech diving into mainstream sports diving. He also produced the first Tek, EUROTek, and ASIATek conferences, and organized Rebreather Forums 1.0 and 2.0. Michael received the OZTEK Media Excellence Award in 2011, the EUROTek Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012, and the TEKDive USA Media Award in 2018.
 

Renee Neuman

Renee Neuman, co-owner of Evolve Pilates, has logged over a thousand hours of training and continuing education in her 15 years as a fitness professional. Body movement is her passion, and she finds it truly exciting to watch her students discover movement and its life-changing possibilities. Her many years of experience have allowed her to observe countless bodies and their movement patterns. From these observations, she has realized that many physical limitations are due to problematic posture. Using Pilates and GYROTONIC® training techniques, Renee specializes in teaching clients how to improve their lives by improving their posture.
 

Annika Persson

Annika Persson has been actively diving since 1994 and has been a GUE diver since 2008. She enjoys the underwater environment because regardless of where you go, there will always be something new to see and to explore. Annika is as happy diving around in the shallow waters looking for macro photos, as she is searching with fascination for sharks and other marine life. She is keen on exploring deeper wrecks, caves, and mines. She is an active GUE Tech 2 and Cave 2 diver and is a GUE instructor, teaching classes from beginners to Tech 1. She is also a GUE Instructor Trainer, developing instructors within the GUE organization. Her motivation for being an instructor is that she would like for others to enjoy the underwater environment as much as she does. 
 

Derk Remmers

Derk Remmers is a GUE Instructor Trainer with more than 30 years of diving experience. Technical diving and wreck diving are his passions, especially in challenging northern European conditions. For more than ten years, he has supported a hyperbaric facility as an operator and technician for emergency treatments and education of medical personnel.
 

David Rhea

David Rhea is a GUE Instructor Evaluator and has taught for the agency for nearly 20 years. He is a passionate photographer who has contributed to Quest and other magazines. David has participated in a number of GUE exploration projects around the world, including Mexico, China, Norway, Italy, Bimini, and Florida. He is employed by ScubaPro as its Florida Business Development Manager and resides with his family in Tennessee.