Gene’s Bio

2015 NAUI Board of Directors Election

Gene-0845-200Gene Muchanski
NAUI 3821 L
2294 Botanica Circle
West Melbourne, FL 32904
Phone: (321) 914-3778
email: gene@diveindustry.net 

Biosketch

The 2015 Election Committee has completed the nomination and final candidate selection phase for the 2015 NAUI Board of Directors election and I am honored to be one of the 12 candidates listed on the official ballot standing for the 2015 election.  I am asking for your VOTE as one of your Board of Directors.  The election begins on November 2, 2015 and ends on November 30, 2015.

I have had the pleasure of being a NAUI Instructor for over 40+ years and would consider it an honor to share my years of diving, teaching and business experience with you as a Member of the Board of Directors of NAUI Worldwide.

I have always been passionate about scuba diving, teaching and business.   Being able to combine them in my life’s work has been a dream come true.  I started diving at age 15 in and around New England.  As a young Navy Scuba Diver trained at the Naval School for Underwater Swimmers in Key West, I had the opportunity to dive the Arctic Circle, North Atlantic, Mediterranean and throughout the Bahamas and Caribbean aboard nuclear Submarines.  While still on active duty, I completed my NAUI Instructor Course in Rockport, Massachusetts and started teaching scuba diving to military personnel stationed on isolated duty in the Caribbean and Mediterranean.

Upon release from active duty I continued my passion for diving, teaching and business as a Member of the U.S. Naval Reserves Harbor Clearance Dive Team.  I was trained and qualified as a Navy Deep Sea Diver (air and mixed gas), Hyperbaric Chamber Operator, Diving Supervisor and Hard Hat Diving Instructor.  While majoring in Marketing at the University of Connecticut, I taught scuba diving classes at the University, became President of the UCONN Scuba Club, Directed the UCONN Underwater Symposium & Film Review and became a NAUI Course Director.  During summer breaks I taught Navy Deep Sea Diving at Harbor Clearance Unit Two, Little Creek, Virginia.

With a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from UCONN I became NAUI’s first Marketing Director.  Introducing a Marketing Concept at NAUI HQ back then was one of the most challenging tasks I have ever undertaken.  Two year later I helped start the Association of Diving Retailers and worked for California Skin Diving Schools as an Instructor, Divemaster and Store Manager.  From 1985 to 1992 I was the owner of Undersea Showcase, a NAUI Pro Facility, and actively taught scuba classes at all levels.  My post-retail industry experience broadened to include being the National Sales Manager at Action Plus Wetsuits, Product Manager at U.S. Divers / Aqualung, and Owner & President of Undersea Designs, a wetsuit manufacturer.   I retired from the U.S. Naval Reserves in 1996 as Chief Diving Supervisor of Mobile Diving & Salvage One, DET 319.  In 2001 I founded the Dive Industry Association, continued to manufacture wetsuits and worked as a Business Consultant for the Small Business Development Center in Oceanside, California.

Upon our relocation to Houston, Texas I became a Senior Business Consultant at the University of Houston SBDC where I consulted with hundreds of small business entrepreneurs, taught Marketing and Business Planning and represented the University’s SBDC Program at Trade Shows and Business Meetings.  It was because of my full time employment at the University of Houston that allowed me to represent the Dive Industry Association at weekend Trade and Consumer Shows across the country while being introduced to the finest business development tools in the nation.  In 2004 I founded the Dive Industry Foundation, a 501c(3) non-profit, tax exempt, charitable organization and continued to build a professional consultancy firm.  In 2012 the Dive Industry Association and the Dive Industry Foundation relocated to Melbourne, Florida, where we are very active in industry marketing and consulting to over 100 dive industry businesses.  Today, The Dive Industry Association and the Dive Industry Foundation are both Sponsors of DIVE LOCAL, an industry co-op marketing campaign designed to promote local Dive Stores, Dive Boats, Dive Clubs and Instructors.

The current NAUI BOD has identified Board Level Leadership Needs in three areas they consider weak in NAUI leadership and industry influence:  1) University level leadership.  2) Diving Industry Leadership.  3) Destination Diving Facility Ownership and Management.  I believe that my lifetime of education, employment and experience has prepared me well to work effectively in all three areas where NAUI needs the most attention and growth.

Position Statement

NAUI has made incredible progress in the past two years in regaining its legitimate role as an Industry Leader.   The Board is looking for candidates that have diverse experience in the diving community to help regain market share at colleges and universities, retail dive centers and destination diving facilities. I would propose that we expand that idea and make sure that NAUI adopts a serious marketing program that reestablishes us as an Industry Leader.  To only pursue market share and increased sales as isolated goals would be a mistake NAUI cannot afford to make.  Increased sales and market share occur as a result of having the proper products, competitively priced, that the market is looking for.  I believe we as an association are making daily progress on refining our programs and products and we need to expand that effort and give our Training Department the tools they need to accelerate the process.  All of our programs and services need to reflect our commitment to excellence and higher standards.

Good marketing is the key to educating our current, former and prospective Members about our Brand.  NAUI has historically been weak in marketing and needs a clear, comprehensive marketing approach that will build our Association and result in better products and service, more professional and productive Members, and increased business accounts like Dive Centers, Destination Dive Operators and Resorts, Colleges and Universities, and Public Safety Dive Teams.  As a Member of the Board of Directors I will work with our service centers to make sure they are implementing an integrated marketing approach that focuses on quality products, member acquisition and retention, superior customer service and effective advertising and promotion of the NAUI Brand.

I support continuing education for all of our Members to give more qualified candidates access to Instructor Trainer and Course Director opportunities.  To regain our Leadership in the Recreational Education Industry I will propose that we work closely with our Sales Force to train them as Business and Training Consultants and give them the education and tools they need to assist business members in their territory.

As a NAUI Board Member, I promise to work with our current Board, our Service Center Staff and our Members to solicit comments and suggestions from our membership and actively communicate the work the Board is doing on their behalf.

Answers To The BOD Election Questions

  1. “In what specific area(s) of board governance do you believe your skills and experience will be especially helpful and what do you hope to contribute as a director?”  As a Founding Director of several Corporations I have experience in adopting a framework of rules and practices by which a board of directors ensures accountability, fairness and transparency in a company’s relationships with all of its stakeholders. As an active Director on corporate boards, both for-profit and non-profit, I have had the experience using the mechanisms, relations and processes by which corporations are controlled and directed to balance the interests of a diversified group of stakeholders.  I believe I can bring balance to our current Board while representing the diversity of our membership.
  2. “If elected to the NAUI BOD, what are your top three goals for NAUI?”  The purpose of every business, both for-profit and not-for-profit is to sell a sufficient number of profitable products to a sufficient number of customers. Marketing is simply the application we use to bring buyers and sellers together in the hopes of facilitating a positive buying decision.  Therefore, my three goals for NAUI would be to: 1) Ensure that NAUI’s programs and products are the highest quality possible and competitively priced in the industry.  2) Develop and implement plans to acquire, retain and reactivate NAUI Members.  3) Create, implement and refine an integrated Marketing Strategy to build the NAUI Brand.
  3. How will your goals help NAUI grow as a high-quality training organization in the scuba diving community?”  By developing high quality training programs and products that reflect NAUI’s commitment to excellence our association will be known for quality products that are wanted, needed and have value to instructors in our industry. The words “quality” and “NAUI” will once again become synonymous in the diving community.  Selling quality products attract professional instructors, universities, dive stores, and diving resorts, especially in areas like the Caribbean where NAUI is currently under represented.  Implementing an integrated marketing strategy based on a quality product / quality customer relationship will help build the NAUI Brand, known for its quality products, professional members, excellent service and undisputed Industry Leadership.

Thank You for supporting Gene Muchanski – NAUI 3821 L – 2015 NAUI Board of Directors

ENDORSEMENTS FROM NAUI INSTRUCTORS

  • Bob Brayman, NAUI 6058 L: (Hall’s Diving Center & Career Institute): ” I have known Eugene for 34 years as a NAUI Course Director.  When I originally became NAUI and teaching NAUI Instructors back in 1981, Eugene was paid by NAUI to inspect the quality of my NAUI PDC (Professional Development Center) and report his findings to the NAUI Board of Directors and NAUI headquarters.  We have been friends and business associates ever since.  Eugene would make an excellent Board Member.  As a past Board Member and Chairman of NAUI for a number of years I understand what it takes to be a good member of the board.  Eugene will be outstanding.  We will be lucky to have him.”
  • Capt. Steve Coe, NAUI 41871:
  • John J Duggan, NAUI 2226: (Duggan Diving Enterprises, Inc.):  “There is no doubt that Gene Muchanski was a driving force in assisting the latest elected board members to take NAUI back for the instructors.  If I were to pick a vulnerable spot in the NAUI program it would be in marketing.  We have always been the best but were passed by the superior marketing of our competitors.  Gene Muchanski is the type of expert we need to expand NAUI’s recognition throughout the diving world.  He, along with my nominee, Gary Kulisek has my vote.”
  • Floyd Holcom, NAUI IT 48075: (Astoria Scuba and Adventure Sports, LLC): “Gene Muchanski is Good for NAUI!  From his experience as a Navy Diver and NAUI Instructor to his experience of representing Dive Manufacturers in the Industry for over 40 years. He has my Vote and I hope yours too.  Just Dive!”
  • Claude Jewell, NAUI CD: “I concur with Jim Elliott in every way.  You have been a leader in every capacity I have seen you perform.  When we first met when you worked for NAUI and  when you founded your company Dive Industry Association. You have my vote and all I can muster for you.  You will be a great addition to the board.”
  • Jennifer King, NAUI 6867: (Co-Founder, Women Divers Hall of Fame): “I have known Gene for 30 years.  He has always been a true innovator and visionary in the industry.  Gene has had experience in almost every field of the industry, from teaching to retail to manufacturing to travel.  Not to mention his military diving experience! Gen was one of the first manufacturers to embrace the idea of women specific gear not just the Small and Pink  theory (SAP). He worked with us on a variety of inGENEious designs including wetsuits, BCs and masks.  Gene’s marketing adroitness is also legendary.  He has run many successful and profitable businesses and has given solid advice to others in the industry.  He has also given his time, becoming as mentor to many in the next generation of industry leaders.  I believe that NAUI could really us a leader like Gene.  Gene can use his expertise and his connections with the industry to help promote NAUI, let it regain market share and once again become a true power broker.  I wholeheartedly endorse Gene Muchanski for the NAUI BOD.”
  • Rick McNulty, NAUI 14304 L: “I have read all of the other BOD candidate emails and I want to thank you for sending yours.  I believe that you can provide a better balanced understanding of the changes needed to improve NAUI based on your career accomplishments.  I take the upcoming election for the management position on the BOD of my investment very seriously.  You have my vote.”
  • Bob Peck, NAUI 5967:  I can’t express in words how excited I am to see Gene Muchanski as a candidate for the NAUI Board election. I have known Gene for many year’s and witnessed his commitment to excellence in diving instruction. I became a NAUI instructor at the University of Connecticut with Gene as ITC Course Director following later myself as an ITC Course Director and active NAUI instructor and dive shop owner. Please follow me and vote for Gene in this upcoming board election and make NAUI better tomorrow than it is today!
  • Lt. Bill Pfeiffer, NAUI 45432:  I believe that Gene’s strong background in business and marketing, his vast experience in the scuba industry, and his obvious desire to bring NAUI back to a leadership position in the scuba instruction market make him an incredibly valuable asset who brings a lot to the table.  I proudly support his nomination for election to the NAUI Board of Directors.
  • Dan Orr, NAUI 5612: (Dan Orr Consulting): “Gene Muchanski has dedicated his life and his career to making our sport and our industry successful.  NAUI needs that level of commitment to assure a return to the values that made NAUI a great certifying organization.  He definitely has my vote for the NAUI Board of Directors.”
  • Lorraine Sadler, NAUI 6023:
  • Capt. Spencer Slate, NAUI 5756: (Captain Slate’s Atlantis Dive Center):  “Gene has worked in and out of the industry his entire career and has centered his duties and responsibilities around diving and the business of diving in conjunction with his work in sales, marketing and management.  Gene’s view for a leadership increase for NAUI in our industry is to expand our number of Dive Centers and Resort Operators that teach NAUI courses and offer referral training and/or job opportunities for our instructors.  I feel Gene would be a great member of our BOD – someone who has been in the industry for decades and has a proven track record of loyalty to NAUI and is in a position with his Dive Industry Association contacts to quickly expand our brand.”
  • Jeanne Sleeper, NAUI 2648 (Women Divers Hall of Fame founding class inductee): “Thanks for your willingness to serve NAUI and ultimately the underwater community. Your credentials, character and 40 years of earning a living around diving speaks volumes about why you have my vote. The board needs visionary leadership who know how to take the engine apart and rebuild it with enhanced horsepower and a commanding presence in the race.”  “Gene – When NAUI is lucky enough to have someone with your credentials, character, moxy and 40 years of innovating and surviving in a tough industry, offer to work for free as a board member, I hope the members will be wise enough to join me and accept your offer and Vote For Gene Muchanski.”

ENDORSEMENTS FROM THE INDUSTRY

  • Jean-Michel Cousteau, Ocean Futures Society:  “It is with great enthusiasm I write to you and share my endorsement for Mr. Eugene Muchanski to be elected to the board of directors for NAUI.  Gene strongly believes that NAUI can be a champion for the dive industry and environmental issues.  Each time my path crosses with Gene at a dive related convention, I am inspired by his hard work and commitment.  Education and awareness is key to better protecting our ocean world and with a person like Gene on the board of NAUI, I believe NAUI can benefit from his decades of expertise in the world of recreational diving.”
  • Jim Elliott, Diveheart:  “As the Founder and President of Diveheart, I’m proud to say that I was originally scuba certified through NAUI in 1976. The training I received through NAUI inspired me through out my career as an instructor, instructor trainer and now instructor trainer evaluator .  Years in the dive industry have enabled me to meet some inspiring and innovative leaders.  Gene Muchanski is one of those leaders.  His vision to grow the dive industry is exciting and his efforts are genuine and heartfelt.   I am proud to know and work with Gene as a dive industry leader and wholeheartedly recommend Gene as a director on the NAUI board.”
  • Stephen Ellis, President, Visible Divers (officially endorsed Point of Sale program by NAUI worldwide): “Our objective with Visible Divers is to empower small business.  When we find people and organizations that share our passion, we embrace the relationship with them.  Our relationship with NAUI Worldwide is a direct result of that philosophy.  We have also developed a relationship with Gene and the association he has built, and we share his goals to empower small businesses through education.  I have had numerous deep conversations with Gene, and I thoroughly appreciate and respect his devotion to NAUI, and to the success of this sport.  His passion for growing the NAUI brand, growing the sport, and growing the sales is sincere.  Dive shops need help to be more successful, and I know that Gene is committed to making that happen”
  • Dave Pollock, Vice President, Innovative Scuba / Tovatec: “I have known Gene Muchanski for over 20 years and highly recommend him for the Board of Directors of NAUI.  I first met Gene when I was Vice President of Head Sports and General Manager of Mares, North America.  Gene has always had his finger on the pulse of our industry, with a clear understanding of the direction we are moving.  Gene has been and still is my secret weapon when it comes to marketing know-how. If there is a new trend from email blast to social media Gene is the guy that I reach out to.  I know Gene would be a great and strong addition to the NAUI Board.”
  • Christopher Shiver, Colorado Adventure: “I have known Gene Muchanski for over 10 years and have experienced his passion for building the Dive Industry Association as well as supporting the world of diving with his pro-business approach to helping companies and the industry grow.  He would bring a strong business savvy and long term vision to the leadership of NAUI.”

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