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 – Founder/President/Chief Administrator
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 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 construction, Commercial Diving, pile driving, barge & tug work for other companies; he started his own Commercial Diving operation in the Pacific Northwest completing public works projects. Though starting small, the company grew to specialize in heavy marine civil construction with an emphasis on offshore/ocean outfall pipes all along the West Coast. In the past 5 years, Richard Phillips Marine also completed several heavy infrastructure repairs on Alaskan waterways.
Having employed hundreds of divers for his company, Richard Phillips frequently encountered newly trained commercial divers lacking the training and knowledge necessary to excel on the job site. Richard Phillips met CDI’s Director of Education Donald Moore while working in the Northwest, and after over 15 years of collaboration on Commercial Diving projects, they founded Commercial Divers International to develop a training program that is geared directly toward the industry’s needs and to improve the preparation of the next generation of divers.
Current certifications held by Richard Phillips include ADCI Surface-Supplied Air Diver/Supervisor, ADCI Nitrox Diving Supervisor, USDOT/Federal Highway Administration Bridge Inspector, USACE Unlimited Diver and Supervisor, Kirby Morgan Maintenance and Repair Technician, Kirby Morgan User/Operator Course Instructor.
Donald Moore – Founder/Executive Director/Curriculum Development
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.
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.
Mark Plowman – Founder/Executive Director of Diving Instruction
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.