Lad Akins and Leslie Leaney to Receive DEMA’s 2016 Reaching Out Award
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Posted by: Rachelle Reimers
** Honorees to be Recognized at the DEMA Awards Party Being Held at the The Joint at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas, NV**
The Diving Equipment and Marketing Association is pleased to announce that Lad Akins and Leslie Leaney are the 2016 recipients of DEMA’s Reaching Out Award. The Dive Industry will boogie down 70’s style at the 28th annual presentation of the prestigious Reaching Out Awards on November 18, 2016, where the industry will celebrate at this year’s Disco-inspired evening in honor of these two outstanding members of the diving community. The newest inductees to DEMA’s Hall of Fame will be honored at this year’s DEMA Awards Party taking place at The Joint at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas, NV. First presented in 1989, DEMA’s Reaching Out Award honors leaders in the diving community whose significant contributions to the sport have elevated the industry on all levels. This year’s recipients will be joining an extraordinary list of distinguished past Honorees.
LAD AKINS is widely recognized as a ground-breaking marine conservationist for his leadership and vision in forming Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF), an organization that is the lynch-pin connecting the dive community with opportunities to contribute to scientific research and conservation through “citizen science.” He is most recently known for his work spearheading the battle against the lionfish invasion across the Atlantic and introducing school-aged children to conservation and the aquatic world.
Akin’s contributions to research and public education on the impacts of the invasive lionfish have garnered major media attention. His work has been featured in many major media outlets including ABC, CNN, NBC, the Food Network, and the Discovery Channel. His work has also been featured in more than 100 printed articles. He has authored or co-authored 30 scientific publications and authored other publications including, “Invasive Lionfish: A Guide to Control and Management” and “The Lionfish Cookbook: The Caribbean’s New Delicacy.”
Akins currently sits on a number of state, regional and international committees, and working groups devoted to lionfish control and management strategies. His work has been instrumental in bringing the world of fish identification, citizen science, and marine conservation to numerous marine enthusiasts around the globe. He has made the concept of diving with a purpose a reality for tens of thousands in the USA and worldwide.
LESLIE LEANEY is well-known for his dedication to the preservation and sharing of the dive industry’s history. Leaney started diving in 1969 around the island of Singapore and progressed through the BSAC system becoming a scuba instructor, club Expedition Director, and eventually Diving Officer for BSAC Special Branch in Singapore. In 1980, Leaney relocated to Malibu, California where we began to purse his interest in diving history. Throughout the 1980’s, he compiled an extensive diving library and a collection of historical antique equipment. His archives currently provide reference research material for diving historians and items from his collection are on display at various museums.
In 1992, this interest in history lead Leaney to co-found the Historical Diving Society-USA (HDS-USA) with Skip Dunham. The inaugural meeting featured a mix of recreational, military, and commercial divers. The Society continues to provide an educational forum for these separate, but connected, groups to learn about their joint history. Initially formed as a chapter of the British HDS, the Society evolved into an American non-profit corporation. During its more than 20 year existence, Leaney has served as Chairman, President, and Executive Director and helped establish and develop an international Advisory Board of divers, which has continued to grow in stature along with the Society. Under his guidance, the Society grew from a few dozen members to over 2,700 in 44 countries and is internationally affiliated with similar organizations.
In 1993, Leaney founded Historical Diver Magazine (later renamed The Journal of Diving History), America’s first and only publication devoted to all aspects of diving history. Through his research, Leaney has written numerous articles that have appeared in several international publications. He has lectured on the subject of diving history at seminars in France, Canada, Mexico, England and America. Leaney’s research is referenced by numerous authors and he has acted as a consultant for The History Channel, The B.B.C., The Discovery Channel, United States Navy, and other organizations. Leaney has dedicated much of his career to the preservation and education of the industry’s history, which will continue to benefit the industry as a whole for years to come.
DEMA congratulates Lad Akins and Leslie Leaney for their exemplary, life-long service to our Industry.
Further details about the 2016 DEMA Awards Party are available on the DEMA Show website where interested parties can purchase individual tickets from the DEMA Show registration system. Unique sponsorship opportunities and VIP reserved seating for tables of 8 are also available by contacting Colleen Vasquez at firstname.lastname@example.org or (858) 616-6408 x106.