Instructors & Instructional Staff


Jeff Stiefe

Director of Training
Industry Experience: 16+ years / DIT Training: 10+ years

Born in Colorado Springs, CO at Ft. Carson, Jeff was an Army brat and grew up all around the world. As a graduate of the DIT 112-05 class, Jeff has worked throughout the dive industry, starting with U.S. Underwater Services as a diver and for Central States Underwater in Houston, TX as a supervisor and Project Manager. His specialty and favorite dive work is flanging up spool pieces. Jeff has been in the commercial diving industry for 16 years and has worked as both an offshore and inland diver. Jeff always liked giving back as a DIT instructor and has taught through most courses in the curriculum. Jeff also owned and operated his own successful offshore/inland pipeline dive company in the Gulf of Mexico for 11 years. Now onto his next adventure, Jeff has returned to DIT as the Director of Training to continue to build this organization, its faculty , and its students into the next generation of successful commercial divers.

Advice: “Learn all you can, as much as you can to your skill level, to become an asset to the commercial diving industry.”

Jake Dow

Director of Placement | DIT Instructor – Offshore
Industry Experience: 16+ years / DIT Instructor: 7+ years

A Pacific NW native, Jake was born and raised in Centralia, Washington although his offshore dive work has taken him to places like Nigeria, Mexico, and the Bahamas. Jake graduated from DIT in 2006 and also was trained as a Union Journeyman Carpenter, working both for Kuney Construction and then later Cal Dive International. In commercial diving, Jake’s favorite work is heavy, big salvage work like removing old platforms with 800- to 1000-ton lifts because the process is big and the work is exciting. As a diver, Jake valued his dive team like family–especially a particular core group of guys who dove together, bailed each other out, and “became men together.”

Advice to New Divers: “Set clear short term and long term goals. Focus and do your best to obtain them! In the dive world you have to have “grit.” Work hard!”

Daniel Matthes

DIT Instructor – SCUBA, Inland
Industry Experience: 15+ years / DIT Instructor: 4+ years

Daniel was born and raised in Tome, NM, a small farm town of less than 2000 people nestled along the Rio Grande Valley on the foothills of the Manzano Mountains. He came to DIT right after high school and served as DIT class president for 106-06, later doing adding General Studies at Lonestar College in Houston and General Studies/Lab Assistant at the University of New Mexico. (Ask Daniel about his UNM Paper: Identification of Skunk Species Submitted for Rabies Testing in the Desert Southwest.)

Early in Daniel’s commercial diving career, he worked deep water platform support with Epic Divers and Marine, eventually moving over to the shallow water pipeline support sector with G&G Marine. The majority of his dives were conducted in the blackout conditions of the “mud hole” part of the Gulf. The work is very similar to that of an offshore diver, however, crews operate closer to that of the Inland sector, so Daniel’s experience shows how interconnected these sides of the industry can be. He began supervising full time in mid-2013 before making the transition to Seattle to join the DIT family in August 2017, where he’s since revamped the Inland module and is challenging students daily in their real-world Inland dive site skills.

Quotes to live by:

Failure is only postponed success as long as courage ‘coaches’ ambition. The habit of persistence is the habit of victory.” – Herbert Kaufman

Discipline is based on pride, on meticulous attention to details, and on mutual respect and confidence. Discipline must be a habit so ingrained that it is stronger than the excitement of the goal or the fear of failure.” – Gary R. Blair

Randy Busby

DIT Instructor – Physics, Finals
Industry Experience: 22+ years / DIT Instructor: 12+ years / PO3/E4/USN

Randy is a 1998 graduate of DIT. He served in the Navy as a Boatswains Mate 3rd class and was a rescue swimmer attached to the Inshore/Underwater Warfare group in the Pacific NW. His diving career began with a year in the Gulf of Mexico, then five years as an inland diver conducting repairs and inspections on dams, water towers and piers. Randy spent seven years with Global Diving & Salvage in the Gulf working on P & A, salvage platforms and hurricane work.

Randy became an instructor at DIT and enjoys students’ enthusiasm. His favorite part of instructing is seeing students’ faces when they’ve accomplished a task and realize the project was not so bad, or that it was hard, but they got it done and can be proud of themselves. Randy thinks that the hardest challenge for new graduates entering the dive industry is the learning curve for the rate or speed of how work gets done in the industry; new divers need to learn quickly 100% of the time to move ahead. Randy teaches DIT students the need to put in their time starting in the industry, knowing that they don’t get stuff handed to them as young divers.

Advice to Divers: “Ears open, mouth shut. Be a sponge; soak up every bit of knowledge. Also, look at the divers ahead of you. Find a diver you respect and emulate him; do what he does, find out what gear he wears and wear that, follow his example and become like him.”

Bradley “Pete” Peterson

DIT Instructor – DMT (Advanced Course)
Industry Experience: 21+ years / DIT Instructor: 11+ years / DMT / SSG/E-6/USA/RET

A Coos Bay, Oregon native, Pete graduated from both the U.S. Army Special Operations Diver’s Course and Dive Medical Technician Course in 1998 and served 21 years as a U.S. Army Medic. Pete also trained in the Advanced Diving / Hyperbaric Medical Team Program in Key Largo, Florida and is a NAUI Instructor. In October 2015, he completed the Undersea & Hyperbaric Medical Society’s (UHMS) two-week, extensive Physician’s Training in Diving Medicine course at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) campus in Seattle to further expand his knowledge and skills.

Pete has been on several active Army dive teams and his military dive experience includes salvage, mapping and recovery work for the Joint Personnel Accountability Command (JPAC), demolitions of a 300-man barracks and UXO in the Marshall Islands, and international missions such as security swims, recovery of military equipment, and beach landing and harbor surveys in Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar.

Pete is currently the Course Director of the Diving Medic program at DIT, filling these highly demanded positions in the undersea industry.

Advice to Divers: “Make sure you have a strong family and a solid plan for finances. Divers’ lives are that of the nomad, very similar to the military. Divers have to be wise about money matters, and have a deep larder for slow work periods. It’s a great lifestyle, with great pay and benefits, but there are slow times. It takes time and you have to pay your ‘dues’ to work your way up in the industry.”

Jason Conover

DIT Instructor – Physics, Medicine, HAZMAT
Industry Experience: 12+ years / DIT Instructor: 4+ years / DMT/ SAT Diver

Jason was born in Seattle and is a Seattle/Everett, WA native who attended DIT as a member of the 110-08 class. After he graduated, Jason started his diving career working offshore in the Gulf of Mexico with Epic Divers & Marine. He later expanded into diving internationally, working with Technip and Aqueos, as well as doing some inland diving with Associated Underwater Services (AUS).

Some of Jason’s favorite dive work has included the demolition of decommissioned oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico using hydraulic diamond wire saws and explosives, as well as installing spool pieces in saturation for new pipeline construction.

His professional background includes a diverse welding background using all processes but focusing on TIG welding on aerospace parts, hydroplane propellers, and basically anything except regular steel (titanium, stainless, brass, aluminum, etc.). He’s also been a Nutritional consultant and Level 2 CrossFit Trainer and Coach at CrossFit Affiliates, with an emphasis on CrossFit Weightlifting and Gymnastics. Jason returned to join the DIT Instructor Staff in September 2016.

Advice for new divers: “Keep your head down and work hard, and work to develop a keen eye for details. Keep your safety and your coworkers’ safety a top priority.”

Melanie Lyman

DIT Instructor – Welding, NDT
Industry Experience: 12+ years / DIT Instructor: 1+ years / DMT

Melanie grew up in Logan Lake, British Columbia and attended DIT in 2011. She started her commercial diving career working offshore. She then moved over to freelance work for a company out of British Columbia. In 2012 Melanie moved to the inland sector where she was the lead inspector for their nuclear coatings program. Her responsibilities included working on hydroelectric dams doing inspection and maintenance all over the US and Japan.

“We can judge our progress by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers, our willingness to embrace what is true rather than what feels good”. – Carl Sagan

Nick Robinson

DIT Instructor, Hydraulics, Salvage
Industry Experience: 6+ years / DIT Instructor: 2+ years

Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Nick was a Graduate of DIT, Class 102-11, and has been an Instructor with us since September 2019. Not only is he a Divers Institute Alum, but he also holds a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in kinesiology which led him to teach health education in Chicago for three years. Nick also has years-worth of experience in Salvage and Nuclear diving, all from the mid-west region. This salvage experience took him to large projects on the Mississippi River, all the way from Saint Paul down to New Orleans. Nick also did salvage work on the Tennessee, Ohio, and Missouri rivers with multiple companies. He was involved in dam jobs, a wheel job, multiple boat inspections, burning buoys and also worked on river locks.

Sean Day

DIT Instructor – SCUBA, Inland
Industry Experience: 7+ years / DIT Instructor: 2+ years / TM2 (DV/SS)/USN

Sean grew up in a military family and was born in Landstuhl, Germany and was raised in Florida, New York, and Washington. Sean was in the Navy as a Weapons Division Diver attached to the submarine USS Providence before attending DIT in 2014. He spent his diving career working inland all over the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. He worked on everything from installing and inspecting pipelines to bridges, dams and piers.

Advice to New Divers:Commercial diving is a challenging industry that will refine you. It will bring the best out of you if you are willing to face the challenge.”

Alex Sessions

DIT Instructor – Deep Dives, ROV
Industry Experience: 3+ years / DIT Instructor: 1st year

Alex was born in Leicester, United Kingdom, and was raised in California, upstate New York and Oregon. He went to college for marine biology, learning scientific diving on SCUBA from a retired colonel who was a Marine Corps diver. Alex did year-round mussel surveys and potable water inspections for local reservoirs in New York state as well as science buoy repair and replacement while diving for the State University College at Oneonta. Graduating DIT in 2018, Alex has experience on large projects in Mexico, Louisiana, California, Oregon, and Washington state. Alex has done gulf pipeline work, platform inspections, inland seawall inspections, and anode replacement while specializing in ships husbandry. He also bolted up the largest floating dock in the world.

You know, you can get paid to dive.” – Col. Paul Lord

Advice for students: “Never stop learning. Don’t say sorry, just do it right next time.”

Lee Barker

DIT Instructor – SCUBA
Industry Experience: 3+ years / DIT Instructor: 1st year

Lee’s first career was as an auto technician working on diesel vehicles. He also has experience as a fabricator. Lee graduated from DIT in 2018 and went to work in diving around Washington state with the removal of invasive species. In his diving career he’s been able to see a vast amount of wildlife in open water such as turtles, ling cod, wolf eels, and more. Lee returned to DIT in October 2021 to assist with instructing in the SCUBA module. It’s fun for him to see students’ faces light up when experiencing the wildlife in the open water. He loves this career because “it is outside and every day being outside or in the water is better than being in the office.”

Dan Henderson

DIT Instructor – SCUBA, Inland
Industry Experience: 10+ years / DIT Instructor: 1st year / SFC/E-7/USA/USSF

For the last decade, Dan has dedicated himself to diving at the highest level all over the world for both the US military as well as for exploration. As a retired Army Green Beret and Special Forces Combat Diver, he has experience diving all over the world in a variety of different environmental conditions. Dan has been through numerous civilian and military diving courses acquiring certification as a NAUI Course Director and First-Aid Instructor. Dan’s focus at DIT is to share his knowledge and experience with students to make them more well-rounded commercial divers.

“Occupational SCUBA is all about problem solving. As instructor, I present the student with a problem set underwater and show them how to work and solve the problem. This builds confidence, proficiency, and makes them assets when they enter the workforce”. 

Caitlin Lemmons

DIT Instructor – Lightweight, Rigging
Industry Experience: 3+ years / DIT Instructor: 1st year / PO5/AC2/USN

Born in Everett, WA, Caitlin graduated from Mountlake Terrace High School in 2008. After a brief stint in college, she joined the world’s finest Navy as an air traffic controller in 2010. After graduating “A” school, she was stationed on the USS Nimitz, completing the 2013 WESTPAC deployment to the Arabian Gulf.

Upon completion of her active-duty service obligation, Caitlin attended DIT in class 102-18. After graduating top of her class, she worked in the toolroom on campus learning how to complete maintenance on dive hats, first stages, and other diving related gear before she moved into other commercial diving work. Caitlin also became a certified KM Hat Technician in 2020. Her industry diving experience includes working in remote areas of Alaska installing pipelines, conducting environmental surveys, and a variety of general marine maintenance diving.

Advice for New Students: “If you don’t know something, ask. Most people in the industry love to teach or show you an easier way to carry out a task. Use their knowledge to your advantage.”

Jason Lott

DIT Instructor – Lightweight, Rigging
Industry Experience: 11+ years / DIT Instructor: 2+ years / DMT / SAT Diver

Jason entered the commercial diving industry in 2005 as a dive tender for Global Industries in the Gulf of Mexico where he spent three years supporting the Hurricane Katrina reconstruction efforts of offshore oil and gas installations. In 2009 he had the opportunity to take on projects with Kreuz Subsea based in Singapore and for the next 8 years, he worked as an air diver all throughout Southeast Asia and India.

In 2013 he attended the closed bell diving course at the INPP dive center in Marseille, France where he graduated with a certification in Saturation Diving. Jason continued to work with Kreuz subsea as Saturation Diver until he went to work for Technip, Singapore and took part in subsea construction projects off the coast of Dubai, UAE in the Persian Gulf.

In 2016 Jason decided to take a break from the offshore life and joined the Divers Institute of Technology instructing the Deep Dives module onboard the MV Response.

In late 2017 Jason had the opportunity to return to Singapore and take a position with Ocean Works Asia (OWA), a Japanese based diving company, as their Corporate Training Manager. For the next 4 years he was responsible for all training matters for each of OWA’s regional business units to include Tokyo, Singapore, Jakarta Indonesia, Bangkok Thailand, and Saudi Arabia. He was also tasked with assisting in the Health, Safety and Environment Department in managing the company’s Business Management System and business continuity plan during the COVID-19 epidemic as well as being one of three advisors to the Managing Director.

Despite the great experiences Jason had working with OWA, he recalled his passion for the development of aspiring new divers and decided to pursue instructing again at DIT. In September 2021, he entered the doors of DIT once again taking on the position of Lead Instructor for the Lightweight/Rigging module.

Joel Duker

DIT Instructor – Offshore, HAZMAT
Industry Experience: 11+ years / DIT Instructor: 2+ years

Joel is a Seattle native born in Redmond, WA and graduate of Nathan Hale High School. After graduating dive school at DIT in Class 110-06, he began his commercial diving career in the Gulf of Mexico with a year at Tiburon divers. Joel hired on and spent 8 more years in the Offshore sector with industry giant Cal Dive International until they closed in 2016. Bringing his robust offshore experience to the next generation, Joel joined longtime friend and coworker Jake Dow at DIT in April 2017 as part of the Offshore and HazMat instructor team.

Advice to students: “Remember it is the little things that we do in our industry that make a big difference! No one was born knowing how to do any of this, so remember to work within your skill level and absorb as much as you can every day!”


Robert “Bobby” Roe

Director of Life Support & Facilities Manager
Industry Experience: 12+ years / DIT Training: 9+ years

Bobby was born in Columbus, Ohio (“Go Buckeyes”) in 1983. As a child, Bobby traveled with his family while his father was in the Navy (CPO). When his father retired from the Navy in 1989, Bobby’s family returned to the Pacific Northwest and settled in Everett, Washington. At age 14, Bobby started working for his grandfather in a furniture/woodworking business, where his grandfather taught him the use of various hand tools, power tools, and heavy machinery. At age 17, Bobby became a supervisor in his grandfather’s company with a crew of 5 employees. When his grandfather retired and closed the business, Bobby then worked in the construction field until he enrolled at DIT in 2009.

After graduating from DIT, Bobby worked for an inland diving company based in Montana and was promoted to dive supervisor after a short time. He spent 3 years working with the inland company, and traveled throughout the United States before joining the Life Support and Facilities team at DIT. Bobby is a certified Kirby Morgan Hat Technician and trainer. He teaches the monthly Kirby Morgan Hat Technician course for graduates and members of the diving community.


Andre Ninaud

DIT Vessel Captain
Industry Experience: 25+ years / DIT Captain: 12+ years

Andre has lived in the Pacific Northwest for more than 30 years and is an experienced vessel captain who has worked in the fishing industry throughout Alaska, the Aleutian Islands and Bering Strait for nearly 20 years. He later joined Clipper Navigation and spent 10 years running fast catamarans to Canada. He also has operated various other vessels prior to joining DIT in 2010. Andre holds a U.S. Coast Guard license 100-ton Master/1600 Mate.

Robert Simmons

Alt Vessel Captain

Robert is the part-time captain of DIT’s training vessel for divers during dives on Lake Washington.