LAKE CDI &
WORLD-CLASS FACILITIES AND EQUIPMENT
Commercial Divers International’s facilities are unmatched. At our brand new 2.8 acre facility, we have three 21,000 gallon tanks, each providing a controlled environment in which to train and practice projects. Additionally, we have a penetration tank to simulate penetration and confined space diving. The tanks have side-viewing windows so students can be observed at all times by instructors both in and outside the tank. Our hyperbaric chamber provides the chance for students to experience and learn first hand, crucial, potentially lifesaving, chamber operations.
CDI owns their own 37 acre lake, proudly named Lake CDI located nine miles west of our flagship campus where open water diving operations are conducted in “real life” working conditions. Limited student housing and plenty of RV and trailer parking is available at Lake CDI and we host luncheons and BBQ’s.
We offer a surface-supplied helmet diving experience to anyone considering our program, or to anyone who meets the physical requirements who want to experience the thrill of an underwater, full helmet, surface-supplied dive. Our equipment is state-of-the-art and meticulously maintained. Our students dive with the best helmets in the industry (Kirby-Morgan, Desco, Gorski). You’ll become an expert on helmet operation and maintenance well before your program concludes. You will be trained on and develop proficiency with the same equipment you will encounter on the job.
There is, of course, a whole lot more to the job than getting wet. You’re going to be using any number of hand and power tools down there. CDI will teach you the skills you need to safely operate drills, jackhammers, saws, impact wrenches, torches, and welding equipment in the underwater, industrial work environment. In fact, almost any tool you can think of used topside has an underwater analog!
A top quality, commercial dive training school like Commercial Divers International is essential to gaining access to the commercial diving industry. Your earning potential as a commercial diver improves with every certification you obtain as well as with your expertise. The hands-on, practical experience you gain at Commercial Divers International will be guided by an extremely experienced and knowledgeable team of instructors. Our owners and instructors are commercial divers and veterans of the industry. Two of our founders owned a dive company for over 17 years, their goal in developing the school is to educate students in the exact ways employers want and need. CDI strives to ensure you are successful ,as well as safe in your career in the commercial diving industry.
MEET OUR FOUNDERS
Commercial Divers come from many backgrounds and take different career paths. Learn about our founders and their careers in Surface-Supplied Diving through both Military and Commercial perspectives.
Richard Phillips obtained his commercial diver certification and began working in the industry in 1991. Originally from Kansas, he was eager to travel and was employed in the Gulf of Mexico working on offshore platforms for American Oilfield Divers in 1992, shortly after Hurricane Andrew. After becoming certified as a Mixed-Gas Diver, he also worked on oil platforms off the coast of Nigeria.
Throughout the 1990s he also worked for several inland commercial diving companies performing inspections and repairs on hundreds of bridges, hydroelectric dams, nuclear power plants, and other infrastructure throughout the United States. Between commercial diving jobs, he was routinely employed on fishing boats in the Bering Sea, Alaska often encountering Sea Swells of 60 ft and 100 mph winds.
In 1999, after years of heavy Marine Construction, Commercial Diving, including pile driving, barge & tug work for other companies; he started his own Commercial Diving operation in the Pacific Northwest , completing Federal , State ,City and Municipalities public works projects throughout the continental U.S and U.S territories. Though starting small, the company grew to specialize in Heavy Marine Civil Construction and Commercial Diving as a Prime contractor, with an emphasis on offshore/ocean outfall pipes all along the West Coast as well as completing several heavy infrastructure repairs on Alaskan waterways and ports of call.
Example of Certifications held by Richard Phillips include:
ADCI Surface-Supplied Air Diver/Supervisor
ADCI Nitrox Diving Supervisor
ADCI Mixed Gas Diver
Texas A&M Offshore Safety & Survival, Marine Firefighting & Marine Survival Crafts
Underwater Welder Certs: AWS D1.1-10 ASTMA-36 Unlimited, AWS D3.6-93 ASTM A-36 Unlimited
USDOT/Federal Highway Administration Bridge Inspector
USACE Unlimited Diver and Supervisor
Kirby Morgan Maintenance and Repair Technician
Kirby Morgan User/Operator Course Instructor
GORSKI G3000SS HELMET Operator/User
Richard and Gina Phillips ,after over 18 years owning and operating a Marine Construction and Commercial Diving company, discovered the task of hiring and assembling a skilled and capable commercial dive teams to fulfill the varying requirements of projects across the country had become more and more challenging through the years, with less than 10 commercial diving schools in the USA to provide individuals with the education and intense training required for success in this profession. The hiring challenges inspired the idea to organize a school and implement a comprehensive program built with the needs of the industry’s changing environment in mind. The objective was to produce relevant elite professionals trained and educated by highly experienced industry experts to improve the preparation of the next generation of commercial divers.
The complete commercial diving training program was developed after collaboration with many professionals in the industry and ultimately resulted in a partnership with USN Chief Mr. Donald Moore and seasoned professional commercial diver Mr. Mark Plowman.
CDI is proud to have been the First Commercial Diving School to successfully completed the ADCI audit by demonstrating satisfactory compliance with the ADCI consensus standards for Commercial Diving and Underwater Operations.
When Richard is not busy with CDI activities , he enjoys family time with his wife (Gina Phillips) , children, grandchild, friends and dogs. He also enjoys Travel, Auto racing and Smoking meats Kansas City style.
His career then turned to instructor duty at the Naval Special Warfare Center, teaching diving to US Navy Seal candidates. Upon his retirement, he returned to his home in Oregon and pursued work doing inland commercial diving from 1995 -2001.
After his commercial diving experience, he returned as an instructor for the US Navy at the Center for Anti-terrorism teaching small arms marksmanship and defensive tactics from 2001-2004. Donald Moore returned to the Naval Special Warfare community as a Diving Instructor and Diving Equipment Manager from 2004-present teaching diving physics, medicine, open-circuit SCUBA, oxygen closed-circuit UBA, and hyperbaric chamber operations.
Currently, he holds qualifications as a US Army Corps of Engineers Unlimited Diver, Diving Supervisor, Kirby Morgan Maintenance and Repair Technician, Kirby Morgan User/Operator Course Instructor, US Navy Mixed Gas Diving Supervisor, Air Diving Supervisor, Open/Closed Circuit Diving Supervisor, Hyperbaric Supervisor, Inside Tender, and Chamber Operator. Donald Moore also holds ADCI certification as a Mixed Gas Diver/ Supervisor and Nitrox Diving Supervisor.
Executive Director/Diving Instructor
Donald Moore served 20 years as a US Navy Diver Chief Petty Officer. During his tour in the Navy, he served as the lead diver and supervisor on-board two salvage ships deploying to the western Pacific on 5 different deployments, conducting diving and salvage operation across the western and South Pacific Oceans. He also served as Chief diver at two underwater repair activities performing waterborne repairs to both surface and sub-surface US Naval vessels.
Mark Plowman grew up in the Pacific Northwest with interest in a commercial diving career at a very young age. Mark has been fortunate to work on a variety of salvaging vessels, on dams, pipelines, pile work, and employed for years with Richard Phillips dive company.
Some of Mark’s most memorable job experiences include conducting salvage operations of the Costa Concordia, a cruise ship that capsized and sank off the shores of Italy. Mr. Plowman also did several projects during his employment with Richard Phillips, in Alaska.
In 2015, Mark dove 270 feet below the surface on a salvage job of the RMS Republic (the sister ship of the Titanic), a ship that sank off the coast of Nantucket over 100 years ago. This ship was featured on the History Channel’s show, Billion Dollar Wreck. Mark was one of the salvage divers on Season 1.
FOUNDER/ DIRECTOR/ BOARD CHAIRPERSON
Gina Phillips has been in the Commercial Diving and Marine Construction industry for over 19 years. As Co-founder and Vice President / Director of Richard Phillips Marine in the Pacific NW, she acquired extensive knowledge and experience in managing hundreds of Commercial Divers/Tenders , Pile Buck workers, Subcontractors and Administrative support staff personnel to successfully execute and complete contracted public work projects obtained through competitive bid processing throughout the US. Her duties included Hiring and retaining employees, Contract Administration and Negotiations, Bidding and Estimating preparation and execution, Purchasing and Accounting , Certified Payroll and Benefits administration.
After an unexpected decline in health in 2011, that ultimately brought her to remarkable medical care at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, AZ, a necessitous decision was made to relocate to Arizona. Commercial Divers International was in its early developmental stages and was revised to establish a Commercial Dive School in the desert. After a suitable building was discovered in Goodyear, AZ the Idea of having the opportunity to specialize in training the next generation of commercial divers became a reality.
When Gina is not busy with school activities, she enjoys spending time with her family, friends, her 3 dogs , and going to Spring Training and regular season MLB games
Commercial Divers come from many backgrounds and take different career paths. Learn about our administrators and their careers in Surface-Supplied Diving through both Military and Commercial perspectives.
MEET OUR ADMINISTRATORS
Randy Blankenship brings to CDI over 30 years of professional experience in the higher
education and post secondary school operations. He has served for multi campus privately owned
and publicly traded corporations as Executive Director, Campus Director, and Director of Admissions. He is licensed and approved by several State career education licensing boards. He was co-founder of a college bound prospect generation and scholarship platform and owns a consultancy firm specializing in private school operations. Randy is an International Council Member for a global consultancy firm, and he is a licensed SCUBA diver and avid traveler. Randy enjoys helping others achieve success and excels in creating viable and practical solutions to attaining vocational and career goals. He has been honored to accept many awards however his accomplishments are not as important to him as his influence in changing people’s lives.
DIRECTOR OF ADMISSIONS
Rick Duhaime started his commercial diving career in 1981 in the U.S. Navy Deep Sea Diving School.
As a Navy diver he worked on nuclear submarines for his whole enlistment. After getting out of the Navy he worked for the next 35 years as a commercial diver along the east coast and Texas. When he wasn’t diving he worked in construction. Rick retired from the Navy Reserves as a Builder in the Seabees. He served two tours in the Middle-East meeting the building needs of the Special Forces community. He loves traveling overseas teaching carpentry to village men in the Third World. He spends most of his “free time” visiting grandchildren, reading and working toward becoming a children’s book writer.
US Navy, 20 years (Senior Chief Petty Officer) . US Navy Diver: SCUBA - 130',
Surface Supplied Air - 190', Helium/O2 Surface supplied - 300', Saturation - 850', Underwater hydraulic tools use,Recompression Chamber advanced Tech and Supervisor, Underwater welder, Underwater and surface demolition, Diving Supervisor - SCUBA, Surface Supplied, Mixed Gas, and Saturation, Deep Sea Diving Instructor - Approx 6 years (including Saturation).
2nd Class, 1st class, and Saturation Diver/Supervisor, Master Training Specialist, Curriculum Developer, Certified Hyperbaric Technologist, High Risk Safety Officer, and Qualified in Submarines.
Commercial Divers come from many backgrounds and take different career paths. Learn about our faculty and their careers in Surface-Supplied Diving through both Military and Commercial perspectives.
MEET OUR FACULTY
Mark started SCUBA diving in 1975 with his father. He graduated as a professional Deep-Sea
Diver in 1985. Since then he has been involved in many different aspects of diving. He has worked offshore on oil
rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, powerplants up and down the East Coast, many dams in the inland markets, in the Hawaiian Islands and the Caribbean Sea. He has been involved in many different types of salvage work, professional treasure diving and the movie industry. Mark is a SCUBA instructor for NAUI and a certified ADCI air diving supervisor. He is now a Commercial Diving Instructor and the SCUBA, 1st Aid/CPR and Oxygen Provider instructor at CDI.
Zach spent 8 years in the Montana Army National Guard and Reserve (Infantry). He was later a tour Guide in the National Parks system. He taught SCUBA, First Aid and CPR for two years in Costa Rica as well as St Maarten. A graduate of CDI, he is an all-around class act and enjoys having fun whilst teaching his craft.
Nick joined the Navy as a hull technician in 2011 where he worked as a welder/fabricator. He has also worked on submarines and surface ships where he performed structural piping, and interference removal and re-instillation. He specializes in stick welding, TIG, HY structural components, copper, nickel, and stainless steel piping systems. He became a professional diver in 2017 working in marine construction and ship husbandry for the Navy as well as commercial shipping vessels while on the east coast. He later moved back to Arizona to spend time with his family.
Richard grew up in California where he began his love for ocean life at a very young age. He is a licensed Commercial Diver and is currently completing his Medical Doctorate in dive medicine. He is an expert in hyperbaric technologies and the founder of Deepwater Solutions Corporation.
Part time Instuctor at CDI teaching Offshore Safety And Construction Saturation Diving for 25 years - deepest dive Is -740fsw I have 25 years Offshore Diving experience Started career at Global Divers in the Gulf of Mexico (1994) and worked there for 13 years before joining Kreuz Subsea in Singapore (2008) to present. Still employed all over the world as an independent diving contractor. This job has brought me to India, Mexico, Thailand, Vietnam, Egypt, Indonesia, Burma, Saudi Arabia, US Gulf of Mexico
Proud alumni! Many doors opened once I graduated and they never stopped opening. Love the staff and everyone involved! They will put you on the route you need to become a diver, the rest is on you!! CDI, thank you for the life I now live and what the future holds!!