If you live in the midwestern United States and prefer to attend dive shows near to where you live, you might want to check out the Our World Underwater Dive & Travel shows in Chicago, Illinois and Dallas/Frisco, Texas.
Jim Gentile, who runs Chicago-area charter boat company Windy City Diving, recently bought the shows from previous owners Patrick and Sherry Hammer.
Gentile, who had been managing the shows for the past six years, says that as a dive charter operator:
“I have been doing business with most of the area dive shops by not playing favorites with any one store. My business plan was and is to make everyone welcome and to promote local diving. I plan to bring this same approach to the Our World Underwater Dive & Travel shows.”
Gentile’s thought process is that for any show to be successful you need to attract attendees. To attract attendees to a dive show, you need exhibitors and the exhibitors need to be a mix of manufacturers, dealers, training agencies and of course dive destinations. Gentile sees the attendees and all the exhibitors as being linked together like the legs of a tripod — if one leg fails the whole thing collapses. His goal is to strengthen each leg by initially getting all the local dive stores supporting the show, then getting manufacturers to support their dealers while all along making the show more exciting for the attendees by having daily trip giveaways.
One big change Gentile plans to implement is to eliminate the Friday night film festival in Chicago this coming year and having a large “Meet & Greet” party instead, giving attendees and exhibitors a chance to meet each other in a social setting:
“Though Jacques Cousteau referred to diving as the ‘Silent World,’ diving has always been a social event for the diver and I intend to build a sense of community with Our World Underwater.”
Both the Chicago Dive & Travel Expo as well as the Dallas/Frisco Dive Show will continue having their respective Saturday Evening Film Festivals, with the Chicago one featuring the work of Howard and Michele Hall, and the Dallas/Frisco one headlining Emmy award winner Jonathan Bird.
Previous owners Patrick and Sherry Hammer “have been really good to me and I have really appreciated their many years of friendship and support,” said Gentile.
The Dallas/Frisco Dive Show will be held on January 28th-29th, 2017 at the Embassy Suites Dallas-Frisco Hotel, Convention Center & Spa.
The Chicago Dive & Travel Expo will be held on February 24-26, 2017 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois, just five minutes from Chicago O’Hare International Airport.
Both shows will also feature underwater photography expert Cathy Church hosting a series of underwater photography workshops.
For more details, check out www.ourworldunderwater.com.