Project Diver: October 2022 Speakers

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.
 

David Doolette

Laura Marroni

Inspired by a limitless passion for the underwater world, Laura Marroni (B.Ec, MBA) grew up by the sea and started diving at the age of 8. She is a diving instructor since 2017 (PADI) and a passionate tech and cave diver (GUE Tech2, Cave2). Laura graduated in Economics at USI - Università della Svizzera Italiana (Lugano, CH) in 2009. In 2015, Laura completed an International Master in Business Administration at Heriot - Watt University (Edinburgh, Scotland). Since 2013, she is working as the Executive Vice President at DAN (Divers Alert Network) Europe Foundation, an international not-for-profit medical and research organization that conducts various research projects, investigating the physiological implications of diving activities on the human body, with the aim of making diving safer. DAN also provides important services to the diving community, including: 24/7 medical assistance and management of emergencies worldwide; specific insurance products to protect divers against injuries and liabilities; first aid training programs; safety programs and resources.

At DAN Europe, Laura’s mission is to take charge of defining the Organization's strategy and of guiding the management team towards reaching the desired objectives. DAN's mission is to assist and protect divers, and conduct scientific research to make diving a safer, more accessible, and sustainable activity for all.
 

Sergio Schirato

Sergio Rhein Schirato is a researcher at the Laboratory of Energetics and Theoretical Physiology of the Biosciences Institute of the University of Sao Paulo (USP). He holds a master's in finance, jointly granted by New York University and London School of Economics, and postgraduation studies in applied math. His current research includes the application of neural networks in decompression modeling and heart rate variability. Additionally, he is a GUE Fundamentals and Rec 1 instructor, as well as GUE Rebreather certified diver.
 

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 eight 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.
 

Kyle Harmon

Doug Mudry

Alberto Nava

Alberto “Beto” Nava is a Venezuelan-American engineer, diver, GUE instructor, and explorer based in California. He has over 25 years of diving experience and has completed over 500 underwater cave dives. His longest cave exploration length has been 15,500 feet. Nava and his group of fellow divers enjoy exploring cenotes in the Yucatan region of Mexico. It was on one of these excursions that he and his colleagues discovered Hoyo Negro, or Black Hole. The bottom of Hoyo Negro contained many bones of several Ice Age megafauna and bones of a young girl who lived 13,000 years ago. They eventually named her Naia. This discovery started one of the most important studies of the first Americans conducted in recent history. From 2011 to 2015, Nava was a National Geographic Explorers Grant recipient. He used the grant to continue diving and photographing Hoyo Negro. His photography is now being used in the innovative labs of the Cultural Heritage Engineering Initiative at the Qualcomm Institute at the University of California, San Diego, to create a unique 3-D experience of Hoyo Negro for those who cannot do the difficult dive but would like to experience and study the space. Nava has also published several papers on diving, underwater mapping, and the discovery of Hoyo Negro. Nava also holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science from the Simon Bolivar National University in Venezuela and has worked as an engineer for over 20 years.
 

Brad Beskin

Brad Beskin is an attorney licensed in Texas, Oklahoma, and D.C. He represents injured parties across the country in civil litigation against insurance companies who handle claims in bad faith, manufacturers of defective consumer and medical products, pharmaceutical conglomerates, opioid manufacturers, etc. He also represents whistleblowers who uncover fraud against the federal and/or state governments in the healthcare, defense, housing, and banking industries. He is not GUE’s attorney.

Brad has been diving actively for approximately twenty-seven years. He hails from Virginia Beach, Virginia, where he grew up working for his local dive shop. Brad cannot count the tanks filled, liters of gas blended, decks swabbed, heads fixed, students refreshed, or regulators sold over the years. He first became involved with GUE by taking Fundamentals in approximately 2002, and then Cave 1 with Tamara Kendal in approximately 2003. He is now a proud GUE DPV Cave diver and is looking forward to undertaking the GUE technical curriculum. He presently serves as the Chair of GUE’s Quality Control Board.

Brad lives in Austin, Texas, with his husband, Garrett, and two crazy German Shorthaired Pointers (@sirdukeandmissdaisygsp). You can reach Brad at Brad@GUE.com.
 

Suex

SUEX was founded in 2000 with the aim of producing high-performance underwater vehicles designed for long-range technical and professional diving.Today, SUEX represents cutting-edge technology in underwater mobility.The evolution of SUEX DPVs over the years has succeeded in meeting the complex requirements of the most extreme technical and professional applications, and in offering diving aficionados a unique, engaging diving experience, even at recreational level.
 

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.
 

Julien Fortin

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.
 

Rich Walker

Rich Walker works for the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom, where he researches the physics of blood flow in the circulation, as well as ultrasonic imaging techniques for diagnosing disorders of the vascular system. He dives with the DIR-UK team, and is an active wreck and cave diver. He is a GUE Fundamentals and Tech 1 instructor, and plays an active role in promoting GUE in the UK.
 

John R. Clarke, Ph.D.

John R. Clarke, Ph.D. is a diving life support scientist and Fellow in Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine (FUHM). He won the 2022 NOGI Award for Science from the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences. Clarke served the Navy for over 39 years, diving around the world, and conducting numerous research studies on dives as deep as 450 meters. In his spare time, he authored three novels about deep saturation diving, as well as articles for GUE’s InDepth e-magazine.

After 27 years as the Scientific Director of the Navy Experimental Diving Unit (NEDU), he retired, then returned to Federal Service to assist the COVID Task Force. Under Clarke Life Support Consulting, he now consults for various defense contractors.

Clarke participated in Smithsonian/National Science Foundation (NSF) Polar diving programs in the Arctic and Antarctic. He served on the Diving Control Board for the NSF Antarctic Science Diving Program. He also chaired the Diving Control Board of FSU’s Advanced Diving Program.

Before moving to Florida, he conducted diving research for twelve years at the Naval Medical Research Institute, Bethesda, MD. Earlier, he was a Parker B. Francis Foundation Fellow in Pulmonary Research in the Department of Physiology, University of Florida School of Medicine. While there, he conducted physiological research on a record-setting NEDU dive to 1500 fsw.

His B.S. and M.S. were in Applied Biology at Georgia Tech. He earned his Doctorate in Physiology at Florida State University. Clarke was a graduate of the Navy and NOAA-sponsored Scientist-In-The-Sea program of the 1970s.

His two children and one grandchild are divers. His son-in-law is a NOAA research biologist and diver.

He may be contacted at john@clarkelifesupportconsulting.com.
 

Frauke Tillman

Frauke Tillmans is the Research Director at Divers Alert Network (DAN). She has a degree in Human Biology and a PhD specializing in oxidative stress which is involved in acute diving injuries and may affect long term health of divers. Throughout her career she has participated in global collaborative projects covering decompression stress, inert gas narcosis, and oxygen toxicity. Before coming to DAN in 2019, Frauke conducted her research in the Experimental Medicine Section of the German Naval Medical Institute.

In addition to her research experience, Frauke is also an experienced public safety diver, scientific diving supervisor and dive safety officer and has recently discovered her passion for cave diving. Tillmans’ commitment to safety is apparent in almost every activity she pursues and when she is not diving or supervising researchers, Frauke is an active volunteer fire fighter who enjoys endurance and self-defense training.
 

Graham Blackmore

Graham is a nomadic, devoted GUE instructor based between the UK and Asia. An early fascination with the sea lead to a PhD in Marine Biology and whilst studying in Hong Kong for this he started his journey into exploring beneath the waves by learning to dive. Fascination became infatuation and he spent all his free time diving or teaching recreational and technical diving for both PADI and IANTD. In order not to scare the fish and be able to count them for environmental surveys bubble free diving was necessary and closed circuit rebreathers dominated his diving until he saw the light in 2003 with GUE. He became a GUE instructor in 2008 and now is an instructor evaluator and teaches Level 2 CCR and Technical diving. He has GUE cave DPV but his true passion is open sea environments, and he has been taking part in projects for more than 20 years, exploring deep wrecks, collecting scientific data and taking photos and videos.
 

Kees Beemster Leverenz

Kees Beemster Leverenz is a GUE diver and instructor with over a decade of technical and cave diving experience. He enjoys using his knowledge of photography and 3D photogrammetry to contribute to underwater exploration projects.

Kees regularly leads a small team of local divers in his hometown of Seattle to document the ship and airplane wrecks of Lake Washington and Puget Sound. In addition to local diving, Kees regularly participates in international exploration projects. He has worked for Project Recover to document airplane wreck sites in Portugal and Croatia, he is a member of the team exploring the wreck site of the Swedish flagship Mars in the Baltic Sea, and he recently completed a photogrammetry project with Ocean Discovery on the M/S Estonia.
 

Irene Homberger

Irène is a very active diver. She lost her heart to caves, dry and wet, but when there is work to do, she doesn’t mind diving into the salty water of our oceans. This task-oriented mindset, mixed with a broad interest in everything which can be explored, not only brought her to dive into wrecks but also on archeological sites. Every year she works for underwater archeology projects founded by a state department in northern Switzerland. She is also a very active GUE instructor (and evaluator). However, in her eyes, this is a bit in the shadow of her passion for caves. Cave diving, teaching for GUE, and exploring and diving for fun is what she would miss the most, when she cannot dive. In Europe, Irène lives in Switzerland where cave exploration also means spending time in dry caves and conducting multi-sump diving. The adaption required for the environment (skills and equipment) and the higher level of contingency planning is the main content built from experience in Irène’s risk management and accident prevention. She shares insight and knowledge of what to consider when a cave project requires advanced level hiking, camping and sleeping inside of a cave for days on end.
 

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.
 

Frederick 'Fritz' Hanselmann

Dr. Frederick H. Hanselmann ("Fritz") is an underwater archaeologist and Faculty in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy and part of the Exploration Sciences Program at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Miami, where he directs the Underwater Archaeology Program. Having worked on underwater sites from a wide variety of time periods, his exploration and research ranges from submerged prehistoric deposits in springs and caves to historic shipwrecks in Latin America and the Caribbean, including the wreck of the Quedagh Merchant, abandoned by Captain Kidd in 1699 off the coast of Hispaniola.

Fritz led the first-ever archaeological survey off the mouth of the Chagres River in Panama and directed the Río Chagres Maritime Landscape Study as well as the Lost Ships of Henry Morgan Project. He is one of the principal investigators of the Monterrey Shipwreck Project, exploring and investigating early 19th century shipwrecks 4,500 feet deep in the Gulf of Mexico. He was also the co-director of the Sunken Ships of Colombia Project and the principal investigator of the Spring Lake Underwater Archaeology Project. He is also the co-director of the Lost Ships of Cortés Project in Mexico. Fritz also focuses on capacity building and training for archaeologists and heritage managers in less developed countries, as well as the development of marine protected areas and underwater preserves. He is a cave and technical diver, a certified scuba instructor, a Nautical Archaeology Society Tutor, and a Fellow of the Explorer’s Club. He is also a Fellow of the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University. He has been widely featured in global print and electronic media, including documentaries, films, and programs with the National Geographic Channel, the Sundance Film Festival, the Sundance Channel, South By Southwest Film Festival, and the Travel Channel among others. Fritz regularly gives public lectures and presentations for museums, universities, and other organizations and occasionally blogs for the National Geographic Explorer’s Journal online.