Scuba Venture Instructors and Staff

Do you have scuba equipment, training, or travel questions? Ask one of our experienced Scuba Venture staff members or certified instructors.

Scuba Venture Certified Instructors

Mark Stitzer

Instructor Certifier

Mark’s diving career began way back in 1977. Since then he has traveled all over the world and has over 6,500 dives under his belt.

He progressed through the training ranks to SSI Instructor Certifier, and also teaches PADI, and TDI certifications. From snorkeling through scuba instructor, Mark teaches all levels of scuba students, and is certified to teach 42 different specialty courses.

He teaches Enriched Air courses through SSI, PADI, and TDI. He is an instructor certifier for the National Safety Council’s First Aid, CPR, and AED Programs as well as an Instructor Ceritfier for all DAN courses. He also holds TDI certifications in Gas Blending, Enriched Air Nitrox, and Oxygen Equipment Service Technician. One course Mark really enjoys teaching is Scuba Rangers, which is for children ages 8-12.

In 2001 he achieved a Platinum Pro 5000 instructor rating. When Mark is not running the store, or teaching students, he can be found in the Tech Room helping Scuba Venture’s main repair technicians. Mark loves both wreck diving and running trips to the Pacific and the Caribbean.

Rick Briscoe

Instructor

Rick has been a certified diver since 1985. As Rick is originally from Michigan much of his early diving experience was in inland lakes and wreck diving in the Great Lakes.

Some of Rick’s favorite wreck dives have been in Lake Huron where the water is cold but the wrecks are unbelievable! In Michigan Rick also spent summers working at a local dive shop and maintaining boat moorings for a local yacht club.

Favorite diving experiences in salt water include diving the Great Barrier Reef, manta rays and whale sharks longer than the dive boat. Rick is an active Boy Scout leader and has a strong interest in helping young divers learn to respect and safely experience the natural environment under the water.

Brett Galambos

Instructor

Brett is a Middle School teacher from the local district of Owen J. Roberts. He has been a certified diver since 1989, where he completed his open water skills at Kutztown University.

His interest in diving came from watching divers retrieve fishing lures from Indian River Inlet, Delaware as a seven year old. After completing his open water class at eighteen, he bought his own equipment and began diving in local quarries and off the coast of New Jersey.

In 1995 he completed his divemaster rating and immediately went to work on local dive boats in New Jersey, with an interest in spearfishing and lobstering. He has extensive experience as a boat diver and says that shore diving is a way to experience the ocean without the high expense of chartering a boat. Along with Mark Stitzer, Brett is the only other instructor certified at Scuba Venture to teach Waves, Tides, and Currents (Shore Diver).

In 2004, he completed his instructor rating, and anticipates working with many new students as well as continuing his innovative intervention diving program that he uses to teach scuba adventure education and other activities to his Middle School students.

 

Charlie Haldeman

Charlie Haldeman

Instructor

Charlie started diving in 1974. He went to Northern Michigan University in 1980 to get his PADI Instructor Certification. He worked his way up to an Instructor Trainer, Developmental Staff Instructor and Master Instructor. In 1991 he joined Scuba Venture, and switched over to SSI, DCSI instructor. Since then, he has over 10,000 dives under his weight belt and has certified over 2200 students. In 2001 he received his Platinum Pro 5000 instructor rating. Two more years and Mark will have to give him the Gold dive watch for continuous service. He teaches Boat, Deep, Night, and Drysuit diving specialties. Cozumel, Mexico and the Cayman Islands are a few of his favorite warm water spots, and New Jersey wrecks and buggin’ are high on his fun to do list. Usually he can be seen (fins at least) during the Florida mini season looking for those tasty treats.

Terry Messerschmidt

Instructor

Chuck Ogborn

Chuck Ogborn

Instructor

Chuck has been a diving since 2002 as a recreational diver traveling to places such as the North Atlantic, North Carolina, Florida Keys, the Philippines and throughout the Caribbean. In addition to recreational diving Chuck is also an avid technical diver challenging himself with deep wreaks and cave adventures. He has been active Dive Master for several years and during 2016 he joined the Scuba Venture staff.

Mel Petrochk

Mel Petrochko

Instructor

Mel is owner of M & M Insulation, Inc. for over 28 years. His thermal pipe insulation company has been one of the top rated companies in the state of Maryland for several years. Mel’s business responsibilities include estimating, project management, and client interaction for mainly government projects ranging up to 2 million dollars. His passion for diving came about when he wife realized he was a catfish at heart always laying at the bottom of the pool. She surprised him with scuba lessons for his birthday and has regretted it ever since. (LOL) If she had known then what she knows now she would have bought him a tie. Mel manages the dive training for Scuba Venture in the Maryland area. He currently is a Master Instructor in SSI and SDI. He also holds credentials to teach under NAUI, DAN and ECSI. Mel has been diving anywhere from the Atlantic, Pacific, Great Lakes, Canada, Caribbean, and local quarries up and down the East Coast. Mel and Mark Stitzer share the same birthday, (Mark being 3 hours older), they also share the immense passion for scuba diving that continues to grow with each student and each dive.

Rahn Richards

Rahn Richards

Instructor

Brent Watts

Brent Watts

Instructor

Robin Wood

Robin Wood

Instructor

Woody has been part of Scuba Venture for years. He is co-owner of Tamaqua Truck & Trailer during the day, and Scuba Instructor by Night. He holds teaching certifications in many specialties, such as drysuit, wreck, deep, night, nitrox and many others. He enjoys diving into the lakes around here, as well as ocean diving off of New Jersey. Every once in a while you will catch him traveling to an exotic location.

ScubaVenture Staff

Tom BarrTom Barr

Dive Control Specialist

Tom is a high school mathematics teacher and the head football coach at Owen J. Roberts school district. He graduated from Penn State University in 1983, and he started scuba diving in 1993, certified by Scuba Venture. In 2006 Tom received his Dive Control Specialist certification. His diving experience has been in local quarries, inlets, New Jersey, Ocean City Maryland, North Carolina and Key Largo.

Crystal Baver

Dive Control Specialist

Leon Franken

Dive Control Specialist

Leon started diving in 2006 after a trip to Cozumel where he did a “resort course” and immediately knew he had to continue in this sport. He returned from his trip and started classes right away. Since then he has added many skills, including Stress and Rescue, Nitrox, and Divemaster, along with many others. He has been diving in Cozumel, Cancun, Curacao, North Carolina, the North Atlantic, and many trips to his favorite destination-Roatan, Honduras. Leon also enjoys spending time at his cabin in the mountains with his wife and family.

Chad Frankhouser

Dive Control Specialist

Bob Gearhart

Robert Gebhard

Dive Control Specialist

Joe Gimont

Dive Control Specialist

Shawn Kane

Shawn Kane

Dive Control Specialist

Cheryl Miller

Dive Control Specialist

Richard Mitchell

Dive Control Specialist

Michael Petrochko

Dive Control Specialist

John Smith

Dive Control Specialist

Mark Stitzer, Jr.

Dive Control Specialist

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