President's Slate

January 2021

When I was young and doing questionable things, my mom used to ask me, ‘if your friends jumped off of a bridge, would you jump too?’. I couldn’t have known then that on a July day in 2014 I would be standing on the capstone of one of the most famous bridges in the world, Stari Most in Bosnia and Herzegovina, about to answer that question. My longtime friend and colleague Dr. Peter Campbell had just plummeted the 85 feet to the icy cold Neretva River moments before and now it was my turn. I had certainly never jumped off of anything this high before (never mind paying 25 euros to the Mostar Diving Club for the honor) and had read that many people have been seriously injured making this leap. I could only hope I wouldn’t be added to that list as medical services in Mostar left something to the imagination...

Right now, I feel a little like I did in that moment. Excited, optimistic, reflective, and genuinely hoping for the success you only feel when you take a big leap. In addition to providing continuous support and additional resources for our members during the pandemic, we have positioned this organization to maintain ownership of and relevance in our growing sector of the diving industry, with accreditations of our member organizations, certifications of our professional leadership and community of scientific divers, forming a strong partnership with our regulatory and enforcement agency, and connecting standard-setting bodies around the world in an effort to recognize formal scientific diving training across international borders.

This month, the Board is saying goodbye and a huge thank you to Past-President Marc Slattery, Kevin Buch, and Liz McNamee. All have contributed to the leadership and growth of the Academy during their time on the Board and they will be missed. We’re also welcoming President-Elect Jim Hayward, Steve Sellers, and Todd Hall to the Board and are looking forward to making more big leaps in 2021. Happy New Year, everyone! Oh, and for the record, I called my mom after and said, ‘it turns out the answer is yes!’.

Derek Smith
University of Washington



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