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News & Press: Current DEMA News

Patrick Hammer and Alese & Morton Pechter to Receive DEMA’s 2014 Reaching Out Award

Monday, July 7, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Rachelle Reimers
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Patrick Hammer and Alese & Morton Pechter to Receive

DEMA’s 2014 Reaching Out Award 

Honorees to be Recognized at the Motown-themed 2014 DEMA Awards Party Held
at Hard Rock Hotel’s State of the Art Rock Venue, The Joint in Las Vegas, NV


The Dive Industry will take a trip back to Hitsville U.S.A. at the 26th annual presentation of the prestigious Reaching Out Awards on November 21, 2014, where there "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" to stop us from celebrating the extraordinary careers of Patrick Hammer and Alese & Morton Pechter, recipients of the 2014 DEMA Reaching Out Award (ROA). These newest additions to DEMA’s Hall of Fame will be honored at this year’s DEMA Awards Party taking place at the Hard Rock Hotel’s premiere event and music venue, The Joint. First presented in 1989, the ROA 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.


Patrick Hammer first became a diving instructor in the early seventies, forming a dive club with over 150 members. He opened his first dive store in 1974 and eventually opened a total of five stores in Illinois, Florida and Georgia during the period from 1974-1982.   During the mid 1970’s, the Chicago Fire Department approached Hammer for advice on how to do a proper search and recovery. Since, Hammer has worked with several fire departments and was instrumental in developing safety procedures on proper search and body recovery techniques. Over the years he has gone on to write more than 40 additional specialty diving programs.


Pat has operated the Our World Underwater consumer show since the late 1980s, and during that time the show has grown to become the largest consumer dive event in the Midwest. 


In addition to providing opportunities for divers from all over the world to learn more about diving, Pat has seen to it that Our World Underwater also provides opportunities for kids to become engaged in recreational diving and the diving environment, and even puts its money toward various scientific efforts through the non-profit Tim Early Foundation, which is largely funded by OWU.  The key purposes of grants provided through the Tim Early Foundation are to further the knowledge and understanding of the local Midwestern underwater environment, support Midwest aquatic preservation programs in high schools and colleges, fund research of Lake Michigan shipwrecks to preserve the history and historical contributions made to the Midwestern states by the maritime shipping industry, and to implement “Micro Gravity” programs designed to replicate N.A.S.A. space camps for local youth to experience zero-gravity while underwater. More than 3,000 school-aged children have reaped the benefits of this Foundation. He also cofounded the Ralph Erickson Foundation whose goal has been to help diving enthusiasts in underprivileged areas start their scuba career through a grant program that helps provide access to equipment and training. Through this foundation, Pat has been instrumental in changing the lives of many, mostly underprivileged youth and young adults, in multiple locations in the Caribbean.


Pat is the author of two skin diving manuals, two operations and resort training manuals, numerous articles and a contributor to major worldwide diver training programs.


Hammer has served the Industry by serving on a number of Boards including the PADI Retail Association Board, Coral Reef Alliance Board, Aqua Lung Advisory Board and DEMA Board of Directors.


Alese & Morton Pechter have traveled the globe and spent years documenting their underwater experiences, photographing, displaying their photographs, writing and lecturing, and promoting the world of SCUBA. Throughout their career, they have provided first-hand information and photographs to scientists and writers, as well as media personal, making it possible to promote the underwater world and shift the image of the sport from an elite, male oriented activity to a family-oriented recreational sport for all levels. Long before it was fashionable to promote diving in a way that was attractive to a younger market, the Pechters were paving the way for the industry to reach these young would-be divers.


The Pechters have dedicated thousands of hours to teaching children about the underwater world. They entertained, visiting school children along with adult groups to promote ocean conservation. The Pechters’ children’s book, What’s In The Deep, has received public and critical acclaim and was chosen as a Public Broadcasting System Reading Rainbow selection. It was the first ocean-oriented book directed toward young children using actual photographs of the underwater world.


During their careers, Alese and Mort contributed to many publication in the diving industry; Underwater USA, Caribbean Travel & Life, Dive Training, Sport Diver, and more. They were elected Fellow National members in the prestigious Explorers Club for their contribution to scientific knowledge in the field of geographical exploration. They are life members of the National Marine Educators Association, the Historical Divers Association and are also members of the Oceanography Society. Alese was elected as a charter member of the internationally-recognized Women Divers Hall of Fame. They were active founding members of the Long Island Science Museum having carried the title of Administrative Vice President of the museum for several years.


Among their many awards, the Pechters were honored by the United Nations Environment Programme and recognized by the US Navy as Honorary Deep Seas Divers. They were also honored by the South Florida Police Search & Rescue Teams, were selected as the Photojournalists of the Year in 1996, and were awarded the 2003 NOGI for Distinguished Service.


DEMA congratulates Patrick Hammer and Alese & Morton Pechter for their exemplary, life-long service to our Industry.


Further details about the 2014 DEMA Awards Party are available on the DEMA Show website where interested parties can purchase individual tickets from the DEMA Show registration system.  Large groups can reserve VIP tables of eight by contacting Colleen Vasquez at or (858) 616-6408 x106.  Unique sponsorship opportunities are also available.

DEMA, The Diving Equipment & Marketing Association | US Toll Free: (800) 862-3483 | Ph: (858) 616-6408 | Fx: (858) 616-6495 |