Bob Kirby ~ 2015 NOGI Sports/Education Award

Bob Kirby clowning around in a homemade diving helmetDiving Innovator & Inventor. Bob Kirby started his diving career as a navy diver in 1952. Not satisfied with the professional grade masks and helmets then available, Kirby started making improvements. After his first mask design proved to be working well, he made ten more of them. These masks now are known as the ‘Kirby #1 mask’. In 1956 Kirby left the navy and became an abalone diver and, realizing a better helmet was needed, added a large square face pate to Desco small volume helmet. He also started working as a commercial diver in the newly discovered oil field patch off the coast of Santa Barbara and designed and made still more masks and helmets. Continue reading

Gregory Stone ~ 2015 NOGI Environment Award

Marine Environmentalist. Gregory Stone is an ocean scientist, explorer, and marine conservationist. He was an early pioneer of research in Antarctica on marine mammals and, later, ice ecology. He is an authority on New Zealand's Hector's dolphin. Stone is also an undersea technology and exploration specialist, particularly in his use of deep-sea submersibles, and has produced an award-winning series of marine conservation films. Stone earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in human ecology from the College of the Atlantic in 1982; his master’s in marine policy from the University of Rhode Island in 1989; and his Ph.D. in marine science from the University of the South Pacific in 1999. Continue reading

Dr. Richard Lutz ~ 2015 NOGI Science Award

Marine Scientist. Richard Lutz is an American marine biologist and deep-sea oceanographer. He is known for deep-sea research and is considered one of the world's foremost authorities on the ecology of deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Lutz is the Director of Rutgers University's Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, the fourth best oceanographic institution in the world. Lutz's studies on the deep-sea caldera have been featured in many scientific journals and magazines including three issues of National Geographic Magazine, Science, Nature, a cover story in American Scientist, and Discover Magazine. Continue reading

Rodney Fox ~ 2015 NOGI Distinguished Service Award

Marine Conservationist. Rodney Fox is an Australian film maker, conservationist, survivor of an attack by a great white shark, and one of the world's foremost authorities on that species. Fox has been an expedition leader and producer, or involved in some way with most of the great white shark films ever made. He has hosted expeditions for over 100 major feature and documentary films with film makers and shark researchers from 16 different countries. Disney, Universal, IMAX, Cousteau Society and National Geographic have enlisted his help and have filmed/studied the great white shark from his cages. Continue reading

Clive Eric Cussler ~ 2015 NOGI Arts Award

Adventure Novelist. Clive Cussler's thriller novels have reached The New York Times fiction best-seller list more than 20 times, providing entertainment and inspiration to millions of his fans. Cussler is the founder and chairman of a non-profit organization, National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA), which was named for the fictional government agency in his novels. NUMA has located numerous shipwreck sites. Cussler is the sole or lead author of more than 50 works of fiction that have inspired many to take up diving, which is why he is being honored. Continue reading

Dr. Richard Vann ~ 2014 NOGI Science Award

Dr. Richard VannDiving Physiologist. Richard Vann, Ph.D., is a venerated diving physiologist and served as Vice President of Research for the Divers Alert Network (DAN) from 1990 through 2010, and remains a consultant to DAN and is an Assistant Professor Emeritus at Duke University Medical Center. His work in diving and environmental physiology spans nearly fifty years with the Divers Alert Network, Ocean Systems, Inc., US Navy Underwater Demolition Team-12, and Duke Hyperbaric Center. He is the author of 43 Refereed Publications, 61 non-refereed publications, numerous dissertations, abstracts and web-based training materials. Continue reading

Lad Handelman ~ 2014 NOGI Distinguished Service Award

Underwater Contractor. Lad Handelman worked as a commercial diver in the California offshore oil fields starting in the early 1960s. Teaming up with World Wide Divers and Can-Dive, a Canadian firm, Handelman merged his small business, California Divers, with the others to form Oceaneering International. As president and CEO, Handelman oversaw several major innovations in underwater technology that have become industry practice today, including saturation diving, the use of remote-operated vehicles and one-atmosphere diving suits for drilling, construction and production operations. Continue reading

Richard Ellis ~ 2014 NOGI Arts Award

Marine Biologist & Artist. Richard Ellis is one of the foremost painters and illustrators of marine natural history subjects in America. His marine life paintings have been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world, and his murals can be seen in the Denver Museum of Natural History, the New Bedford Whaling Museum in Massachusetts. One hundred and six of his paintings were selected by the Smithsonian Institution to form a traveling exhibit of the marine mammals of the world, and these paintings are now in the permanent collection of Whaleworld, a museum in Western Australia. Continue reading