The photos below are the guest speakers for the 2005 Annual VBtech Technical Diving and Artifact show conducted on Feb 5, 2005.  Hold your mouse over the pictures to see their brief biographies.
Virginia Beach Technical Divers Peter Hess has been an avid wreck diver for 27 years and is an admiralty lawyer with expertise in historic shipwreck litigation. He represented John Moyer in winning ownership of the Andrea Doria mosaics and Gary Gentile in a long, successful legal battle with the federal government that opened the shipwreck of the U.S.S. Monitor to the diving public. His clients have been engaged in the salvage of wrecks ranging from Spanish galleons, paddle-wheelers, windjammers laden with Oriental porcelain, twentieth century luxury liners, private yachts, warships, to sunken warplanes.  Hess twice testified before Congress on the Abandoned Shipwreck Act and helped to draft federal regulations that take into account divers' interest in exploration of historic shipwrecks and the responsible recovery of artifacts.
A new VBTech logo used at the show Peter Hess was the first speaker and discussed Shipwrecks, Artifacts and Admiralty Law.
Steve Lewis originally began diving because of his interest in reef ecology. However, reefs in the Great Lakes -- where Steve has lived and taught for the past 20 years -- are far harder to find than wrecks and these days, the majority of his dives are on fresh-water wrecks.
          Heather Choat has 18 years experience diving and is NAUI Tec Trimix Instructor and NACD Intro to Cave Instructor.  She is an accomplished Cave diver and a member of the Woodville Karst Plain Project exploration team.  She is one of the founders of The Deco Stop (  Heather is equally experienced in deep ocean wreck diving.
Steve Lewis did a superb job getting everyone excited to go dive the Great Wrecks of the Great Lakes. Heather Choat gave an interesting and informative presentation about Cross-Over Skills between Cave to Wreck Diving.
Karen is a seasoned wreck diver with over 20 years experience.  The majority of her dive experience is in the mid-Atlantic area from New Jersey to South Carolina, but she has also traveled extensively around the world.  She enjoys artifact recovery and restoration, shipwreck research, underwater photography, and spear fishing.  Karen has worked for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for over 25 years, holding a variety of managerial positions at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland and the Washington DC Headquarters location.  She is currently an Assistant Director for Strategic Planning at Goddard.                                                                                                                        Greg has 30 years of wreck diving experience which includes an extensive resume of significant deep diving expeditions that he has participated in.  He has obtained a wide range of certifications from most major scuba and medical first aid organizations, and has over 22 years experience as an instructor/trainer.  While the majority of his diving is conducted along the East Coast from Rhode Island to North Carolina, he has traveled to a wide variety of US and foreign dive destinations.
Pete Nawrocky is Dive Rite's Field Manager and has over 25 years of diving and underwater photography experience. He specializes in diverse environments including cave diving, wreck diving and marine life. Pete's photos have appeared in numerous books and international publications, some examples are SKINDIVER, SPORT DIVER, SOUTHERN DIVER, NAUI SOURCES, IMMERSED Magazine and DAN Alert Diver.  Pete is listed in Who's Who in Scuba Diving, is a Fellow of the American Society of Oceanographers, and is a PADI Master Diver Trainer. He has received both the Beneath the Sea Diver of the Year Award for Education/Arts, and the NAUI Outstanding Contribution to Sport Diving Award.
Karen and Greg Masi gave a breathtaking discussion about Exploring the Wreck EM Clark and displayed some of the great artifacts that they recovered. Pete Nawrocky presented some of Dive Rite’s Tech Diving Technologies including the new Dive Rite rebreather.
            Michael C. Barnette is the Founder and Director of the Association of Underwater Explorers (, a coalition of divers dedicated to the research, exploration, documentation, and preservation of submerged cultural resources.  Employed as a marine ecologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), he recently published Shipwrecks of the Sunshine State: Florida’s Submerged History, which offers an extensive and comprehensive cross-section of Florida shipwreck narratives.
Last spring JT Barker and Tom Sawicki became two of the very first divers on the wreck of the Bow Mariner and they talked about those dives and the Wrecking of the Bow Mariner. Mike traveled all the way from Southern Florida to entice us with stories about Florida’s Submerged History.
World-class technical divers.
The Speakers - (from left to right) Mike (Barney) Barnette, Heather Choat, Peter Hess, Karen Flynn, Steve Lewis, Peter Nawrocky, Greg Masi, JT Barker and Tom Sawicki.