Thomas Powell: SDI Instructor Trainer Ambassador

Hi, I’m Thomas Powell. I’m honored to be a part of the SDI Instructor Ambassador Program. I’m from North Carolina where I own Air Hogs Scuba.

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

My first dive was in Lake Norman Quarry in North Carolina. It was the middle of winter and the water was in the 40s. Despite horrendous temperatures, I got the chance to see some things I had never even imagined. Simultaneously, I was diving for the first time as a new adventure I began with my father. It showed me the values in diving that relate to fun, education, family and even beauty despite unusual conditions or circumstances.

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

I believe the most important trait that can be maintained by a professional educator is the ability to understand different people and how they develop knowledge. If an educator is able to adapt to the needs of any student, then he or she has the ability to teach almost anyone.

What is your favorite SDI class to teach and why?

My favorite SDI program to teach is the Divemaster course. This course really builds a dive’s core knowledge and gives you the opportunity to share the tips and tricks you as an educator have learned throughout the years. Simultaneously, you get to learn new ideas and concepts from a fresh new leader as you work with a Divemaster candidate.

What is a bucket list dive you still have?

I have too many bucket list dives left to count. I have not yet had the opportunity to dive Chuuk, and I have a strong desire to visit Thailand for the food, culture and dive opportunities.

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

If I had to share one piece of advice with a potential new instructor, I would suggest he or she keep an open mind. Remember your objective is to help the student learn, grow, and develop into a better diver, no matter the level of proficiency. Never get hung up on what they do “poorly.” Instead, show them how to improve.

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