Underwater Revolutionary to Receive Prestigious Award

DEMA has announced that Edward Christini, President of SSI, Jim Church, a pioneer of underwater photography, and Jean Gallagher, diving education pioneer and Co-Owner of Marin Skin Diving are the recipients of the 2003 DEMA Reaching Out Awards.  The Awards will be presented during the DEMA Awards Party, which will take place October 10, 2003 as part of DEMA Show 2003 in Miami Beach.

Instrumental to the growing and continued success of SSI, Ed Christini has been with the organisation since 1984. Starting as a Sales Manager and working his way through the ranks, in 1992 Ed became President. Involved in the 1999 merger of NASDS and SSI, which increased the company’s sales, distribution and the U.S. dealer base, Ed is also responsible for building international business and markets for SSI, co-developing all Instructor Programs, consistent sales and marketing tools and employee training to increase productivity, co-implementing sales goals and Professional Sales Training to increase territory sales and co-authoring the Risk Awareness series for the industry. Ed is a Platinum Pro 5000 diver (1994), has been on the Board of Directors for DEMA and the Recreational Scuba Training Council and has consulted on the writing of various SSI programs.


Jean Gallagher is one of the most influential diving educators of our time.  Striving to have as many people as possible enjoy scuba diving, in 1963 she began redesigning entry level scuba courses to include ocean classes. Just a few years later she along with Ed Brawley of the San Francisco Skin Diving School and Bob Clark of NASDS mapped out the first complete pool, classroom and open water training program, essentials of which are still used today by many agencies around the world. The program was first adopted by NASDS, followed by SSI in 1970. Continuing to reach her goal, in 1968-69 Jean wrote the instructor manual that became the basis for the Professional Diving Instructor College (PDIC) in California. In 1976 Jean and Rich Gallagher started Marin Skin Diving in San Rafael, CA. Today her contributions to diving education can still be seen throughout the world.


1985 NOGI recipient for the Arts and a pioneer in underwater photography, Jim Church was instrumental in the evolution of underwater photography. Having spent more than 35 years sharing his vast knowledge of underwater photography with countless individuals, this world renowned underwater photographer, writer and teacher began taking underwater photos in 1964.  Jim’s first article was published in the May 1966 issue of Skin Diver Magazine and since then his photographs and articles have appeared in hundreds of dive, travel and photography magazines, numerous books and in advertisements for companies like Nikon and Kodak. Equally famous for the instructional books he wrote on underwater photography, Jim began publishing in 1972 and continued until the late 80’s. Most beloved by people as a teacher, Jim and his wife Cathy started teaching underwater photography in Grand Cayman in 1972.  Continuing to share his experiences, in 1988 Jim began teaching classes aboard the Aggressor Fleet. After a brief illness, Jim passed away on December 31, 2002.

The Reaching Out Awards will be presented during the DEMA Awards Party, the largest dive industry social event of its kind. The DEMA Awards Party will take place from 7:00 p.m. to midnight in the Grand Ballroom of the Fontainebleau Hilton Resort.  It will feature the presentation of the prestigious Reaching Out Awards by the Party’s Master of Ceremonies, Stan Waterman as well as a live auction hosted by Wyland and live music, dancing and Latin-influenced food.
Tickets for the Party can be purchased for $45 online at www.demashow.com before September 19, 2003, or $60 after this date.
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- 5 Aug 03

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