about cdi




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.




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 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.



Executive Director/Diving Instructor



Founder/President/Chief Administrator


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.





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.




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.




jennifer garner

assistant financial aid director


I grew up an Air Force brat which afforded me the ability to meet lots of interesting people throughout the years.  After living in places like Las Vegas, NV, Guam, and Southern California we moved to Arizona in 1981.  My parents grew up there, so it was nice to be close to family.  I grew up in the Valley of the Sun but every chance I get I am at the beach which is my true love!  The peaceful serenity of the ocean, there is nothing like it!  When I am not working, I love to spend time with my 18-year-old son, who is my best friend and my two beautiful Springer Spaniels, Jax and Harper.  I also love watching football and playing fantasy football!  I have over 20 years of Administrative experience and 5+years of Financial Aid experience as well as finance and mortgage.  I love conquering new challenges and growing as an individual and as a professional.  I enjoy working with young people to help them achieve their goals and do everything I can to help them on their path to success.  This is why this role with Commercial Divers International is a perfect fit! 



Shawn Dagley served with more than 20 years combined service in the Navy and Army.
During his tour in the Navy, he served as the lead diver and supervisor on-board two
ship tenders, conducting diving operation across the eastern seaboard.  He also served
as diving supervisor at one underwater repair activities performing waterborne repairs to
both sub-surface US Naval vessels while stationed in Norfolk. His career then turned to
instructor duty at the Naval Aviation Water Survival Center located in Pensacola, Fl
while there he was teaching aviation candidates and air crewmen to safely exit sinking
aircraft. After more than 10 years in the Navy, he transitioned to the Army to become
the Senior Diving Supervisor for the Texas Army Nationals Guards Diving Detachment
located out of Corpus Christi, Texas. As NCOIC of the 627 th Diving Det for more than 10
years, Shawn retired from military service to pursue higher education.


Currently, Shawn is finishing a Master’s in Business and holds a bachelor’s in health
science with a minor in Biology. As safety professional with more than 20 years of
safety experience, he is a Certified Safety Professional from National Association of
Safety Professionals. Shawn has been an OSHA outreach instructor since 2006, he is
qualified to teach CPR, First Aid and AED to both Red Cross and American Heart.
Qualification within the Navy and Army were as follow: US Navy Mixed Gas Diving
Supervisor, Air Diving Supervisor, Open/Closed Circuit Diving Supervisor, Hyperbaric
Supervisor, Inside Tender, and Chamber Operator, Warrant Officer, Combat Medic.


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.








Duane graduated commercial dive school April 1992. He was hired by Sub Sea International upon graduation as a
dive tender and promoted to diver in the summer of 1994,performing general oilfield work in the Gulf of Mexico
and Nigeria until they were purchased by Global Industries. He continued working in the oilfields with
Global Ind. and later Epic Divers until 2002 when he relocated to Seattle, Washi
ngton and joined the local
labor union. This led to working on projects mostly in the pacific northwest and Alaska for the various union dive
companies in the area. His experience has primarily 
involved planning, diving and supervising a wide range of
diving jobs for different private companies, as well as the U.S. Navy and Army Corp. of Engineers, including dams,
piling/docks, ship husbandry and drydocking, barrier nets, and numerous salvage operations. Duane is an
experienced dive, saturation and mixed gas professional and teaches a host of technical modalities including dive
safety and physics.



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

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.




Marcus was born in Portland and is a Oregonian native who attended CDI as a member of the 1701 first graduating class post his High School studies. Marcus started his diving career working in Alaska and the great Pacific Northwest as well as working as an inland diving specialist with Richard Phillips Marine (RPM). Marcus’s favorite dive work has included working with various heavy machinery whereby he concentrated his dives on heavy construction including off shore Outfall installation jobs and Port of call Piling restorations, maintenance and installation.
He’s also an avid athlete and CrossFit Trainer with an emphasis on personal training. Marcus returned to join the CDI Instructor Staff in September 2020 and is a dynamic instructor who strives for excellence in education and safety.


Marcus’s: “Diving is just a mode of transportation to the jobsite……… you are only as good as your last




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.







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!!