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About You and The Dive Outfitters Ltd...
Angie & Lorne Garred
My job function in the company:
Owner, Instructor, Customer Service
Years in business:
About The Dive Outfitters Ltd:
Lorne & Angie started The Dive Outfitters in early 2003 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. A year later they opened another dive shop in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, which was subsequently sold to one of their employees in 2009. Lorne and Angie are both Staff Instructor Trainers with SDI and Lorne is also an Instructor with TDI. Both Lorne & Angie are very active instructors but also enjoy heading out to the local lakes for some fun diving. They really enjoy participating and promoting local diving including the activities and events that are put on by the Alberta Underwater Council throughout the summer. One of the annual events that is hosted by The Dive Outfitters is the World Series of Underwater Poker at a local lake on July 1st (Canada Day). Angie & Lorne both enjoy traveling to various popular diving destinations around the world. Many dive trips have included a variety of lakes around Alberta as well as the west coast of Canada on Vancouver Island. They particularly like traveling to Bonaire and twice a year take a group of divers there for two weeks of fantastic shore diving and relaxing. The Dive Outfitters runs courses year-round in the pool and classroom but the open water season only runs from May to early October. So most students will start their training here and then head south in the winter to finish their open water dives making the winter months a very busy time of year. Courses that are offered at the store start with snorkeling and open water diver and run all the way up to the leadership levels and technical diving. The staff at The Dive Outfitters prides itself on friendly, personal service. At the store you will find a huge selection of gear and gadgets.
Our mission is to introduce the underwater world to anyone interested in learning and discovering.
About You, "The Professional"...
How I was introduced to the professional diving industry:
Lorne was introduced to the diving world in the early 90's during his time with the Canadian navy. Diving was always an interest to Angie growing up and when her and Lorne met, they soon discovered their passion for diving together. They dove many popular diving destinations and decided to open a dive shop after getting tired of their careers... Lorne was working as a consultant in the booming Alberta oil industry and Angie was working as an accountant for a retail company. Angie's background and interest in business management was perfect for starting their own business. They both feel very lucky and blessed that they were able to find a career that not only pays the bills, but they love and are very passionate about.
What I like best about my job:
Taking something that you enjoy doing and making it your full time job can sometimes backfire. But Lorne & Angie both still very much enjoy teaching students as well as diving for fun on days off. Even on the most tiresome days, teaching a dive course always re-energizes them.
Words of wisdom for those starting their career in the diving industry:
You have to love diving and you have to love working with people. If you only like one of the two, you won't have a very long career as a professional dive leader whether it is as a divemaster or instructor or even a dive shop owner.
Best way to keep a competitive edge:
You have to want to make your customer happy and satisfied. Usually it's the little things that have the biggest rewards and payback in the long run.
Biggest change I have seen in the professional diving industry since I started:
The move away from brick and mortar dive shops to online training, online shopping, and even finding dive buddies online through social media and forums. The challenge is finding the balance between utilizing the new online mediums while maintaining the personal connection with students and customers through the dive store and at dive sites.
About You, "The Person"...
What I am most proud of:
Development of a variety of websites that has helped grow our diving business: www.TheDiveOutfitters.ca, www.ScubaGearCanada.ca, www.BonareDiveVilla.com, www.DiveCaching.ca
How I like to spend my free time:
Sitting on the couch or on the patio in the sun with a good book.
Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the things that take your breath away!
Something people would be surprised to learn about me:
Lorne spent five years in the Canadian navy. Angie is a Certified General Accountant.