A Force for Dive Safety

The DAN Board of Directors

Each board member leverages their expertise to ensure that DAN can continue its mission of dive safety.

At Divers Alert Network®, our commitment to making diving safer runs deep. The members of DAN's board of directors have spent their careers managing risk, exploring the underwater world and supporting those who dive. These are our directors and the reasons they dedicate their time to DAN.

BILL ANLYAN, J.D., is a financial advisor and former vice chancellor for university advancement at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW). He was assistant director of the Duke University Comprehensive Cancer Center and deputy director of the North Carolina Museum of Art, and he continues to serve on the boards of numerous other nonprofit and educational organizations. An avid diver and steward of the oceans, Anlyan's personal mission aligns with DAN's. "My time at DAN has been inspirational," he said. "Much like the health of our oceans is critical to the health of our planet, DAN's existence is critical to making every dive accident- and injury-free."

CRAIG COOK, M.D., is an anesthesiologist who also specializes in undersea and hyperbaric medicine, sports medicine and wilderness medicine. Cook is a professor of medicine, a technical diver and a former dive instructor. He has served as the dive medical officer on expeditions to Antarctica, the Phoenix Islands, Line Island, Battle of the Atlantic sites, the wreck of the USS Monitor and more. "Craig Cook is a lifelong adventurer and explorer, and he understands the risks divers face," DAN President and CEO Bill Ziefle said. "His experience, accomplishments and work in hyperbaric medicine and dive safety have made him an indispensable resource for DAN."

MICHAEL GERNHARDT, Ph.D., is an astronaut and dive instructor who has worked as a commercial diver, scientific diver and subsea oil field project engineer. Before joining NASA, Gernhardt adapted subsea technology for the International Space Station. In Houston, Texas, and on space missions his primary focus was developing new portable life-support systems and decompression procedures for working outside the space station. Gernhardt's theoretical decompression model of tissue gas bubble dynamics has been pivotal in both deep-sea and aerospace contexts. "My focus has always been to strive for safety, efficiency and simplicity in diving," Gernhardt said, "and to apply those same principles to space missions."

MICHAEL A. LANG, Ph.D., is a marine biologist, author and co-director of the San Diego Center of Excellence in Diving. Since learning to dive in 1978, he has dedicated his career to research and to training recreational, commercial and scientific divers. Currently a director of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS), Lang spent 21 years as the scientific diving officer at the Smithsonian Institution. "In addition to helping divers by increasing and sharing our knowledge of dive-related illnesses," he said, "we must also focus on the deleterious health effects of polluted water and embrace the concept of healthy divers in healthy oceans."

E. WAYNE MASSEY, M.D., is a professor of neurology and the neurologist for the hyperbaric chamber at Duke University Medical Center. Although Dr. Massey isn't a scuba diver, he loves to snorkel, and he has treated thousands of divers in his career. An expert in the neurological assessment of divers, he has worked alongside DAN for decades while at Duke. He also makes rounds at the local Veterans Affairs hospital, treating patients with neuromuscular disease and traumatic brain injuries. Remarking on his service to DAN, Massey said, "As we move forward, we must continue to improve dive safety to help prevent accidents but also figure out how to treat all complications that result from the accidents that can't be prevented."

JOE POE, J.D., is an experienced trial lawyer and former assistant district attorney in the Bronx, New York, and special deputy attorney general for North Carolina. He is also a pilot, karate instructor and avid diver and underwater photographer. A member of the first civilian team to dive the USS Monitor, Poe has dived and documented almost every shipwreck off the coast of North Carolina. "Diving is an activity that the other members of this board and I want to protect," he said. "In our lives we don't often have opportunities to make a difference, but the work DAN does makes a huge difference in divers' lives."

HARRY RODGERS is an insurance expert and the chief operating officer of an intellectual property monetization firm. When he's not designing, developing and implementing insurance programs, Rodgers is often far offshore, fishing in the North Atlantic or diving in the remote Pacific. Remarking on what he'd like to see DAN do in the future, Rodgers said, "Beyond seeing DAN be the leader in dive safety and the No. 1 service provider for divers who encounter problems, I want to see DAN's efforts promote a renewed interest in diving, particularly among young people. If we can keep the sport safe and take care of divers, that will help diving grow."

DOUGLAS N. STRACENER, J.D., is an attorney, a scuba instructor and a motorcycle safety instructor for the Louisiana Department of Public Safety. Sea Hunt and Jacques Cousteau's deep-sea explorations ignited Stracener's passion for exploring the underwater world. Today he continues to share this passion as an active NAUI dive instructor. "DAN's prime directive has always been to save divers' lives," Stracener said. "If at the end of the day we can answer the question, ‘What did we do to save divers' lives?' with something concrete, we know we're getting the job done right."

KATHY WEYDIG is a dive shop owner, technical diver, dive medical technician, licensed captain and co-founder of the Women Divers Hall of Fame (WDHOF). In addition to helping develop the WDHOF scholarship programs, Weydig has spent the past nine years working with the Boy Scouts of America's Sea Scouts program. When she isn't training new divers or exploring deep wrecks such as the Andrea Doria or USS Wilkes-Barre, she works as a boating safety officer and boating instructor. "As DAN's global presence grows," Weydig said, "I look forward to seeing DAN's research and safety messages increase dive safety everywhere."

"DAN is working tirelessly to answer important research questions, continually refine our medical services and ensure our programs serve divers around the world," said DAN President and CEO Bill Ziefle. "In doing these things we remain a vital ally for divers everywhere — and we have a team of incredibly knowledgeable, accomplished and passionate people directing us along the way."

© Alert Diver — Q2 2020