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HomeScuba DivingDEMA To Give 2016 'Reaching Out' Award To Lad Akins, Leslie Leaney

DEMA To Give 2016 ‘Reaching Out’ Award To Lad Akins, Leslie Leaney

Lad Akins and Leslie Leaney are the 2016 recipients of the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association’s Reaching Out Award.

Akins founded has played a key leadership role since the beginning of the Environmental Education Foundation (REEF), an organization that connects the dive community with opportunities to contribute to scientific research and conservation through “citizen science.” He also recently helped spearhead the battle against the Lionfish invasion across the Atlantic and introduced school-aged children to conservation and the aquatic world.

Of Akins, DEMA says:

“Akins currently sits on a number of state, regional and international committees, and working groups devoted to lionfish control and management strategies. His work has been instrumental in bringing the world of fish identification, citizen science, and marine conservation to numerous marine enthusiasts around the globe. He has made the concept of diving with a purpose a reality for tens of thousands in the USA and worldwide.”

Leslie Leaney will receive DEMA's 'Reaching Out' Award
Leslie Leaney will receive DEMA’s ‘Reaching Out’ Award

Leaney is the co-founder of the U.S. chapter of the Historical Diving Society and founded Historical Diver Magazine — since renamed the Journal of Diving History. He has lectured on diving history at seminars in France, Canada, Mexico, England and the USA, and he has worked as a consultant for a variety of TV networks and other organizations.

On Leaney, DEMA says:

“Leaney has dedicated much of his career to the preservation and education of the industry’s history, which will continue to benefit the industry as a whole for years to come.”

DEMA will hand out the awards to Akins and Leaney at an awards party during this coming November’s DEMA Show in Las Vegas.

John Liang
John Liang
John Liang is the News Editor at He first got the diving bug while in High School in Cairo, Egypt, where he earned his PADI Open Water Diver certification in the Red Sea off the Sinai Peninsula. Since then, John has dived in a volcanic lake in Guatemala, among white-tipped sharks off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and other places including a pool in Las Vegas helping to break the world record for the largest underwater press conference.