A little about Thomas
Dr. Thomas Powell, Jr., a co-owner of Air Hogs Scuba in Garner, North Carolina, and Cave Excursions in Live Oak, Florida, has been diving since 1994. As an instructor trainer for SDI, TDI, and ERDI, he has taught classes in recreational, technical, and public safety diving on many levels. During his professional dive career, Thomas has been a professional diver for PADI, HSA, PSAI, DAN, SDI, TDI, ERDI, and IANTD. His experience includes recreational diving around the world, officer positions on various public safety dive teams, cave diving, expert witness work within the dive community, work as a legal investigator, and rebreather diving.
Thomas is originally from Concord, North Carolina. Following high school, Thomas attended Davidson College where he played football and began serving in the Army. In 2009, Thomas made the decision to leave everything behind and immerse himself totally in the world of scuba diving. For two years he worked dive boats, taught classes, and worked on his master’s degree. In 2010, Thomas returned to Charlotte, North Carolina where he worked for a brief stint in local dive shops until he reunited with his business partner, Josh Norris, to open Air Hogs Scuba. From that point forward, they used unique practices focusing on satisfying consumer needs, to bring fun and excitement into their local dive community. Following its opening, Air Hogs Scuba was the first dive facility in North Carolina to become established as a Vocational Rehabilitation Training Facility for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Simultaneously, they were able to bring a higher level of standardized public safety training into their region as well as create a network of unified dive teams through the establishment of mutual-aid agreements.
In August 2016, Thomas made the decision to partner with a group of dive professionals to take over Cave Excursions. The hope was to help rebuild Cave Excursions into a well-used dive facility and to bring some of the success found in North Carolina down to North Florida. Thomas assists headquarters with instructor Trainer Workshops on a regular basis, and is often floating between North Carolina and Florida.