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Wave Makers Award
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 Voting for the 2019 Wave Makers Award is now closed. 

Below are the 2019 Wave Makers Award nominee finalists.
Finalists and the new professional chosen as the 2019 Wave Maker will be honored at the DEMA Awards Party taking place during DEMA Show.


The Wave Makers Award was first introduced in 2017 and aims to recognize professionals who have been working in the industry for five years or less and have made a significant contribution to the industry during that time. The Wave Makers Award encourages the Industry to support a culture that fosters innovative thinking and encourages engagement with the association and industry by new professionals.

Wave Makers are employees or owners of DEMA-Member businesses who have been involved as a professional in the Diving Industry for 60 months or less and who should be recognized for their contributions to the industry, a dive business and DEMA.  A complete overview of the criteria to qualify can be found here. Member professionals who have been active with DEMA by attending DEMA Show, serving on a committee or task force, or volunteering for the Go Dive Now Pool, or other activities related to DEMA, can qualify.

Finalists and the new professional chosen as the 2019 Wave Maker will be honored at the DEMA Awards Party taking place during DEMA Show.




DEMA Member Company: Adaptive Diving Association

Nominated By: Kenneth Hoser

Nomination Submission:
Rosemary Ciotti an ADAPTIVE CERTIFIED scuba diver ,has initiated the formation of ADAPTIVE diving opportunity in the DC metro area,acquired private funding to establish the ability of Metro DC youth to travel to Key Largo Fla. where she established the first Marine Science & Adaptive SCUBA CAMP. Recruiting the services of to provide ocean Eco environmental education, Coral Restoration Foundation providing physiology of coral,Eco Discovery Center Key West, Turtle Hospital Marathon Fla.

Rosemary has been instrumental in the establishment of Adaptive Diving Accessible Venues In Roatan Honduras . Assisting Kenneth Hoser of Adaptive Diving Association in providing design, engineering and adaptive equipment along with modifications to two resorts in Roatan, Turquoise Bay Beach & Dive Resort and Mayan Princess Beach & Dive resort . Providing Adaptive Diving Accessible destinations for the first time on the island of Roatan .As a result of Rosemary's efforts , Mayan Princess Beach & Dive Resort in September will host the first Adaptive Diving Accessible Dive Program featuring "The Worlds First Female Quadruple Amputee on INDEPENDENT SCUBA" also attending several quadriplegic and paraplegic wheelchair mobile individuals. making an historical event for the island of Roatan and accessibility of adaptive divers world wide. Recognizing the need for Adaptive programs and facilities has become a passion of Rosemary Ciotti . Her assistance to the Adaptive Diving Association and the Diving industry as a whole, establishes her as a candidate for the WAVE MAKER AWARD 

Nominee Video:


DEMA Member Company: Solstice Productions 

Nominated By: Valerie Elliott

Nomination Submission:
Mike’s passion for the dive industry is beyond doubt a driving force behind everything he does. In five years, he went from his first Discover Scuba experience to achieving PADI OWSI certification with a nearly perfect IE score, and is now well on his way to earning MSDT status. His eagerness to make a difference in the dive industry in evident in the following:

  • Registered as a DEMA member before becoming a certified diver, and currently maintains a Category-A3 membership (A3-6112)
  • Serves on the DEMA Retailer Resource Committee
  • Serves on the DEMA Emerging Leaders Task Force
  • As a new diver, created and produced “Sunken Treasure”, a mini web-series highlighting dive businesses, individual divers, and promoted the sport of scuba diving
  • Volunteered and discounted time producing video assets for the non-profit Force Blue
  • Volunteers time to setup, work the booth, and tear down for Blue Ocean Art at Scuba Show and DEMA
  • Volunteers time to manage a booth for Y-kiki Divers at local fairs and consumer shows
  • Produced video marketing materials for Atlantis Dive Resorts and Liveaboards
  • Produced the short documentary, Oceanic Aliens, which has screened at over 30 film festivals world-wide, receiving numerous awards. His promotional materials logos and credits to Go Dive Now, DEMA, and member organizations including Y-kiki Divers, Dive Shades, Ikelite, and ScubaPro.
  • Eagerly works with Seal Team and youth centered Discover Scuba events
  • Often covers staffing needs on short notice for Y-kiki Divers
  • Generated new sales opportunities through original underwater imaging courses

All of this, and more, is done out of a great passion for diving and the dive industry. Mike is very well deserving of the Wave Maker award and would most certainly use that recognition to continue the great things he has done on an even more substantial level, with a positive impact on both the dive industry and its consumers. 

Nominee Video:


DEMA Member Company:  Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) 

Nominated By: Christy Semmens

Nomination Submission:
We are excited to nominate Amy Lee for the 2019 DEMA Wave Makers award. Amy is REEF’s Trips Program and Communications Manager. She attended the University of South Carolina where she earned two degrees, a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and a Bachelor of Science in Marine Science. She came to REEF as a Marine Conservation Intern in the fall of 2014, and was ecstatic to join the staff in April 2015. Through all aspects of her work, Amy strives to merge her passions for diving, communication, science, and travel. With her role at REEF, she organizes, plans, and promotes trips to dive destinations world-wide through REEF’s citizen science Volunteer Fish Survey Program. In addition to managing this eco-diving travel program, she leads several of the trips a year. As a REEF Trip leader, she enthusiastically shares her passion for marine life and encourages participants to become engaged in ways that will make their diving truly count. Amy has worked with many of the dive operator hosts of REEF Trips to enable them to provide educational opportunities and environmental awareness with their guests year-round.

Amy is always looking for ways to inspire new divers and young people interested in the oceans, and she strives to make ocean science accessible and fun. She serves as one of REEF’s primary mentors to young professionals participating in the Marine Conservation Internship program at REEF. Beyond REEF’s walls, she is a strong advocate anytime she’s on a boat or near the water, sharing her enthusiasm for fish identification. Amy views diving as more than just a hobby, it’s a lifestyle—and she strongly believes that as an individual you can take action for the oceans that makes a difference.

In her spare time, Amy is a contributing writer for Alert Diver magazine, and has provided environmental content for several other diving and ocean publications including Scuba Diving and Earth is Blue. She was a content editor for the 2nd edition of the popular Lionfish Cookbook, working with local chefs who incorporate the invasive lionfish in their menus. Amy has conducted REEF fish surveys around the world and regularly teaches free “Fishinars” (fish ID webinars) to educate divers, snorkelers, armchair explorers. She also works with young students through World Strides, providing educational lessons on marine science to school groups visiting the Florida Keys.

Amy has attended the DEMA show annually since 2015. While at DEMA, she connects with dive professionals to help facilitate incorporation of REEF’s educational and citizen science programming to support their business. She meets with dive travel vendors to plan for future REEF Field Survey Trips. And she has helped organize and/or participated in several DEMA-sponsored seminars that REEF has conducted.

Amy is a shining example of a young professional who is making waves in the industry, connecting divers with meaningful action for ocean conservation. She leverages her strengths in science communications, teaching, and natural history, and we are proud of her accomplishments in just a few short years. 

Nominee Video:



DEMA Member Company: Superdive Scuba

Nominated By: Curtis Snaper

Nomination Submission:
I would like to nominate Nicole Zelek as Wavemaker. Nicole and I first crossed paths on a dive boat in Cozumel, Mexico in 2017 and I have since followed her adventures closely on social media. I believe she is deserving of the Wavemaker Award for her achievements in Providing Business and Community Service.

When I met her in 2017, she was a newly minted instructor. Shortly thereafter, Nicole started her own dive school, Superdive Scuba in Queens, NY at the age of 25. At 27, she became a Founding Board Member of the Superdive Foundation.

Nicole’s mission has been addressing barriers to entry to the underwater world and introducing new demographics to diving. She believes “If we all share responsibility for the ocean, we should also all have access to it” and this mantra has guided her as an educator and advocate.

Nicole is adamant about breaking down barriers to allow for more diversity and inclusion within the scuba diving. She has taken an active role in combatting industry issues such as lack of representation, accessible education, and affordable local diving opportunities. For example, on Women’s Dive Day 2019, she rallied members of the local LGBTQ+ community for complimentary Discover Scuba experiences to expand the definition of what women divers can look like. Additionally, Nicole engages with residents of low income shoreline communities to encourage them to explore their own backyards through diving. She provides free educational opportunities both in the classroom and through Discover Scuba for locals to learn about their NYC ocean environments. She believes that the more people who get to experience our oceans, the more people will care about them.

To further increase affordable local diving opportunities, Nicole’s diving school provides free gear rental for the participants of the Superdive Foundation’s monthly beach cleanups. During these events, both diver and non-diver participants learn about local wildlife as well as the environmental issues affecting these sites (trash behind left by beachgoers, harm caused by recreational fishing, etc.).

Though she has only been a Dive Professional for 3 years, I am already beginning to see her impact on the dive industry. Her photos of dive groups – slowly increasing in number and diversity – are a breath of fresh air. It is inspiring to watch a young individual operate at the grassroots level and watch her mission gain momentum. I believe this dedicated new professional should be recognized for her achievements as she is a Wavemaker indeed and exemplary for the rest of us in the industry. 

Nominee Video:


Past Recipients Sorted by Year Award Received


Karina Erickson
Ralph Erickson Educational Foundation

Jessica Keller
National Park Service



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