Thomas Johnson: SDI Instructor Trainer Ambassador

Thomas was an Army medic (1975), an artillery officer(1985), and after the army, a software programmer and entrepreneur. During most of that time, scuba diving was a hobby, turned passion and then a profession. He now teaches nearly everything recreational, technical, and cave diving through a dive shop (Dayo Scuba) he founded and co-owns in Winter Park (Orlando), Florida. His passion these days, when not teaching, is finding, exploring, and surveying caves.

What was the first dive you did and how did it influence you to start a career in the diving industry?

My first dive (1981) was in the icy waters of the Adriatic Sea in Greece. Years later, living in Florida, and with much improved gear, I started to really enjoy scuba diving. After taking classes to improve my skills and to widen my interests in all kinds of scuba diving, I somehow turned into a scuba instructor in 2003. Teaching others how to scuba dive was my way of sharing the experience with others. I find it very rewarding.

What do you believe is the most important trait of a professional educator and why?

Dedication to teaching to the highest standards so the students learn to be the best at what you teach them.

What is your favorite SDI class to teach and why?  

It has to be instructors. Teaching professionals means you even get to learn from them!

What is a bucket list dive you still have?

I nearly always answer that question by saying ‘the next dive’.

What is one bit of advice you would give to a perspective Instructor candidate about to embark on becoming an SDI Instructor?

Becoming an SDI instructor is a big responsibility. You will be a major role model and educator to all those you are involved with. Take that responsibility serious, always do your best and always be professional. Your rewards will come quick as you produce great scuba divers!