On Feb. 5th, Bret Gilliam sold Scuba Diving International (SDI) and Technical Diving International (TDI) to an investor group from Georgia backing Brian Carney, a six year veteran of the company’s top management. Carney will expand his role from General Manager to President of the new company.
Gilliam founded the company in 1994 after earlier positions starting up IANTD and as Chairman of the Board of Directors for NAUI. TDI grew to be the largest technical certification agency in the world. He is a 33 year veteran of the diving industry with a long track record in resort operation, dive vessels, manufacturing, publishing and legal consulting. He explained his reasons for selling at this time:
"I felt it was appropriate to move on at the occasion of the company’s tenth anniversary. More and more of my time has been taken by extensive traveling associated with Fathoms Magazine and it became apparent that the growth of my publishing businesses was becoming a priority. Brian Carney began running the day to day operations of SDI and TDI over two years ago in anticipation of my retirement and he is well experienced to take over from me now. I’m delighted that the company will continue to be managed and operated by the great staff of people we’ve assembled and they are all part of the new team. I’m confident that all our instructors and facilities will be well served as they continue the best record of customer service in the training agency business.
"I’d like to thank all our SDI/TDI members for their amazing support over the years. The company grew to a multi-million dollar business solely due to the strong professional ethic and hard work of our members and my outstanding staff at HQ. I will miss all the folks who made contributions and all of our loyal customers. But the success of Fathoms magazine and its related expedition projects have just left me insufficient time to be everywhere at once. So the sale of SDI/TDI will allow me more time to devote to the publishing side of things and my other consulting projects.Ten years is a long time from startup to this sale but it’s been a fantastic experience."
Carney notes, "Our customers can expect a seamless transition with no interruption in services since the sale was planned for over six months. Our entire headquarters team remains intact as well as our sales force in the field. Joe Odom, our Training Director since 1995, is fully up to speed as are our international business managers, Joe Keiser and Dave Crockford. We all have a commitment to moving the company forward and continuing its tradition for innovation and cutting edge training products. We look forward to the future with a renewed sense of purpose and direction." Carney said that the entire SDI/TDI staff remained intact and that additional staff members will be joining the team in the near future.
Gilliam concludes, " Brian has my complete confidence as do the other top management. I know the company will be in good hands and continue to enjoy its dramatic growth."