DBA: Diving Dynamics Kelowna, BC Canada (PCTIA # 705)

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CDI Staff

The Commercial Diving Institute of Canada (CDI) is managed and operated by some of the most passionate and capable Professional Divers in Canada.  Outlined for your review are some key individuals that you'll meet at CDI.

Vern Johnston, Director of Operations

Vern Johnston started his diving career in 1979 when he and his university roommate started Northern Underwater Systems (NUS) Ltd. out of Fort McMurray, Alberta.  Soon they were providing specialized diving services to the oil industry.  From these humble beginnings Vern moved on to open up Diving Dynamics in Kelowna, British Columbia on November of 1986.  With a tremendous commitment to introducing and growing the Commercial Diving Division, Diving Dynamics has become known as a reputable leader in commercial diving services in Western Canada.  It was in 2007 that Diving Dynamics became accredited as a Designated Training Establishment for the certification of Unrestricted Surface Supplied Divers certified through the Diver Certification Board of Canada (DCBC).  After a few years Diving Dynamics re-branded the Commercial Training under the Commercial Diving Institute of Canada (CDI) to better reflect our educational goals.  CDI is focused on growing to become a leader in North Amercia for the training of Industrial Divers.  Some recent key CDI initiatives that Vern has recently overseen are:

1.  CDI's IMCA Accreditation for the teaching of the Diver Medical Technician (DMT) Program.

2.  Installation of Canada's first underwater Mock Production Platform to facilitate student training with the installaiton of taught wires, risers installations, riser clamp installations and spool piece installations.

3.  Procurement of a model S-70 Flexifloat to build Canada's leading diver training barge.  This barge will have full spud capacity, a 16T crane, full diver stage launch & recovery system along with a full deep diving spread and equipment resources that will be unmatched in Canadian Diver Training Schools.

4.  Vern has been very active for a great number of years on the CSA Technical Sub-committees to assist with the continued development of the CSA codes for commercial diving, diver training and diving competencies. 

5.  Vern is also currently a second term president for the Canadian Association of Diving Contractors (CADC) and has published numerous articles on diving safety issues and is part of the Canadian standards harmonization drive.

Current qualifications and experience for Vern are:  B.Ed. from the University of Alberta, Inland Diving Safety Specialist, DCBC Unrestricted Surface Supplied Supervisor / Instructor, Unrestricted SCUBA Supervisor / Trainer, DMT / IMCA Instructor, Commercial NITROX / Gas Blending Instructor and holds a PADI Course Director Rating.  With over 37 years of commercial diving experience and supervision Vern is committed to giving back to the industry through CDI.  He remains stead fast and committed to assisting not only new students but alumni. 

                                 Vern Johnston

                     [email protected]



Alex Ramsbottom, CDI Commercial Program Director

Alex Ramsbottom is recognized in Canada as one of the leading Commercial Diving Instructors, who over the past 10 years has touched the lifes of many Unrestricted Surface Supplied Divers who have gone on to become Closed Bell Divers, Unrestricted Surface Supplied Supervisors, Saturation Supervisors and underwater NDT specialists.  It was in 1996 that Alex first became a PADI Instructor  and then in 1999 graduated from CWDI in Ontario as what was known as a National Energy Board (NEB) Category 1 Diver. 

In the years leading up to 2007 Alex was employed fulltime with Diving Dynamics and worked tirelessly on the development and writing of CDI's Unrestricted Surface Supplied Program which debued and was accredited in 2007.  Since 2007 Alex has played a key role working with CDI Management to further develop additional commercial diver educational programs and the implementation of Canada's greatest underwater tool box to insure that the training of the divers exceeds all of the enabling objectives set out by the CSA.  Alex's knowledge of the CSA standards and the application of those standards has been nationally recognized by leading firms in Canada seeking out Alex to facilitate Supervisor training.  Alex is also active in the CDI Consulting Division as companies have requested assistance in complex dive planning, administration and review. 

Not only is Alex a tremendous instructional resource,he is also a Canadian Commercial Diving Instructor who can back up his teaching with legimate experience gained in civil diving and offshore diving.  As a Diver Alex has stepped foot on evey continent (except Antartica), worked offshore in the oil fields of Asia, the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.  Inshore he has worked across Western Canada on construction and salvage jobs in rivers, lakes, sewage, potable water and hydro-electric facilities. 

On November 18th, 2017 Alex lead the way on the launching of CDI's New Flexi-float S-70 Barge!  Over the next 3 months Alex will work with management to faciliate Canada's leading training platform to secure CDI's future as a premier national and international training destination.

When Alex is not diving he can be referred to as a 'Super Dad' to his two small boys who by all accounts have enough energy that when Alex gets home from work...the real 'work out' begins!

              Alex Ramsbottom

   [email protected]


Shawn Goertzen

DCBC Supervisor, DMT/IMCA Instructor

CDI believes in providing exceptional training to Canada's newest commercial divers and the only way that can be achieved is by insuring that the instructional staff have the tenure in the industry to provide the critical details that tie together the educational process.  Shawn Geortzen is one of these industry leaders that is in the right spot in his career to 'give back' to the foundation of our industry...the new divers!

From 2002 to 2007 Shawn could have been found teaching diving as a PADI Instructor through-out the Caribbean.  This time in the warmer water help cement his passion for the diving industry and.his desire to continue his training.  It was in 2008 that Shawn graduated from CDI as an Unrestricted Surface Supplied Diver and was soon after hired by Dominon Divers in Winnipeg to start his civil diving career.  Dominion Divers is recognized as one of Canada's leading Commercial Diving firms.  It was here that Shawn began developing his skills in heavy marine construction, hydro-electric facility construction and engineering inspection, burning & welding, salvage, drilling and material management projects.  This expereicne lead Shawn to return to CDI to become a Unrestricted Surface Supplied Supervisor in 2011.  Dominon Divers then promoted Shawn to supervisor and he soon found himself on  major projects through-out Manitoba and British Columbia.

In 2014 the training did not stop as Shawn went on to complete his ADAS Closed Bell Training, Diver Medical Technician (DMT/IMCA) & the CSWIP 3.1u and 3.2u Inspection Diver and Assistant Life Support Technician (ALST) programs.  He then went offshore to further develop his skills on projects involving inspection work, clamp, riser and bow string installations, jacket installations, burning work, pipe-lay and saturation work. 

When CDI began the recruitment process for an additional staff to support the growing CDI enrollment, Shawn saw this as an opportunity to return to Kelowna.  CDI is a resource strong school...our greatest resources though will always be our people! 

           Shawn Goertzen

   [email protected]


Doug Olson, DCBC Supervisor

Doug started his divng career in 2007.  Graduating from the first CDI Unrestricted Surface Supplied diving course.  Out of school he began working for the Commercial Division at Diving Dynamics doing civils diving, working on many projects all over British Columbia, the Yukon and the East Coast of Canada.

In 2011 he ventured into the offshore oil and gas industry working on various projects throughout the world as well as continuing inshore work in both capacity of diver and Diving Supervisor.

In 2014 he achieved his Closed Bell diving certification at Ft. William, Scotland.  Allowing him to work in the capacity of a Saturation Diver.  Doug has worked multiple different construction workscopes in many areas globally including South East Asia, India, Gulf of Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago and the North Sea.

Doug has enjoyed working as a diver and the various projects and challenges that have come his way.  He has also enjoyed the adventure of travel and very much enjoys meeting and working with the many new friends he has made and continues to make.

Over the past several years Doug has had significant contact with the CDI Students as he if often brought on the barge to support the development of the students during trainng.  Doug is a quiet instructor who leads by example and provides consistent application of what is being taught to both the civil diving world and the offshore diving sector.

In Doug's spare time you can often find him skiing at Big White with aspirations for exploring more of the backcounty.  In the warmer months you'll often find Doug pulling up to the office on his Victory Highball motorcycle!. 

                 Doug Olson

More to be added soon with pictures!