Ryan McCombie is a retired United States Navy Captain with over 26 years of service. His last duty station was as the Senior Navy Representative and Faculty Instructor at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
Mr. McCombie was previously the commanding officer of SEAL (Sea, Air, Land) Team Two. Beginning his career with a SEAL tour in Viet Nam, he has trained and served with commandos from all over the world being the 1st American to complete French SEAL training and serving a two-year tour with their elite Commando Hubert. He also served as the Operations Officer of the highly regarded Red Cell Team.
Because of his knowledge of French and special operations, he was selected to be the first United States Military Attaché to his nation’s embassy in Brazzaville, Congo. Following that billet, he commanded SEAL Team Two from 1985 to 1987. Mr. McCombie then served in high level positions at the Defense Intelligence Agency in Washington, DC.
Over the years, Mr. McCombie has consulted with International American, French and Canadian companies around the world. He is the author of numerous publications, speeches and symposia presentations affecting both civilian and military decision-makers.
After completing his naval service Mr. McCombie turned his efforts toward the private sector where he has served as an executive at two financial service firms. He is now an independent business consultant and serves on the Board of Advisors/Directors of several national firms.
Mr. McCombie was born in Spangler, Pennsylvania in 1948. He is a member of the National Eagle Scout Association, a graduate of Penn State University and the National War College in Washington. He is past member of the Board of Advisors for Outreach Development and vice-chair of the military scholarship foundation of the world campus and the Pennsylvania State University Board of Trustees Emeritus. He is a member of the Penn State Mount Nittany Society. Mr McCombie is married with three children and three grandchildren.
Richard McWhorter is a Private Wealth Manager with Merrill Private Wealth Management in Pasadena, CA. Richard began his financial services career in 1992 at PaineWebber. He spent 14 years at Smith Barney, where he served as a Senior Vice President within the Citi Family Office before joining Merrill in 2008. Richard is a Certified Financial Planner certificant, a designation awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. He also holds the Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist (CRPS) designation.
In addition to his professional commitments, Richard’s greatest obligation is to his four beautiful children. He gives much of his time to national and international non-profit organizations and helps organize and produce a number of charitable events.
Dan Orr has been a dive professional for over 50 years. During that time, he has been involved in many facets of recreational, commercial, scientific and military diving. He has worked and taught recreational diving in a retail store, developed and implemented course curricula in the academic environment, collected data and supervised research efforts in the field of science diving, tested diving equipment for military contractors and worked for or served on the Boards of various not-for-profit organizations during his career.
In 2013, after 23 years at Divers Alert Network (DAN), he retired as DAN President. During his tenure at DAN, he has helped DAN focus on its mission to help divers in need worldwide while promoting successful business and administrative practices. As a result, DAN has grown to be one of the most successful organizations in our industry while living up to the expectations of its members and supporters.
When he originally came to DAN, he was responsible for developing and implementing the DAN Oxygen Program. This program has become the worldwide standard in training divers to provide emergency oxygen to injured divers. Prior to that, he worked at both Florida State and Wright State Universities helping to make diver education and safety programs at both universities some of the most comprehensive educational experiences available. He has been involved in diver education for over 45 years as an instructor with many of the training associations including PADI (#2776(, NAUI (#5612), and the YMCA. He is also an IANTD Nitrox instructor (#10) and a NACD Full Cave Diver. During that time, he assumed positions of responsibility with a number of the training associations including NAUI (Mid-America Branch Manager and Founding Director of the Technical Advisory Group), the YMCA Scuba Program (Scuba Commissioner for the Great Lakes Region) and the NACD as regional safety director.
Following his retirement from DAN, he and wife Betty formed Dan Orr Consulting LLC, providing assistance and expertise to the global diving community.
He has published and co-authored hundreds of articles and a dozen books and manuals including: Scuba Diving Safety (2007), Pocket Guide to First Aid for Scuba Diving Injuries; Pocket Guide for Hazardous Marine Life Injuries; DAN Oxygen First Aid for Scuba Diving Injuries Training Manual; the NOAA Diving Manual, and numerous articles in national and international magazines and journals. He has also been an invited lecturer a meetings of the Undersea & Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS); the South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society (SPUMS); the International Conference on Underwater Education (ICUE); the International Congress on Drowning (Amsterdam); as well as all major worldwide diving consumer and trade shows.
During his diving career, he has made a commitment to serve through volunteerism with many of the non-profit organizations in our industry. He has been elected to leadership positions in International DAN (Chairman of the Board 2005-2013); Diving Equipment & Marketing Association (DEMA –Chairman of the Board 2018-2019 & Chairman of the Public Policy Committee 2011-present); Historical Diving Society (President and Chairman of the Board 2003-2007, 2011-2016); the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences (Chairman of the Board 1999-2001 and President 2015-present); the Institute of Diving and Museum of Man-in-the-Sea (President & Chairman of the Board 1988-1991); the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society (Chairman of the Scholar Selection Committee 1993-2004); National Association for Cave Diving (Board Member and Regional Safety Officer 1988-1991), the ADM Exploration Foundation (2009-2014), WCH Media Group (Chairman of the Board 2015-present), Force Blue (Chairman of the Board of Directors 2018-present) and Recreational Scuba Training Council (2016-present).
He has also been honored by his peers by being the recipient of many prestigious awards and honors including the Wright State University Alumni Award for Teaching Excellence, the Wright State University Education Department Award for Teaching Excellence, the NOGI Award in Sports/Education, the Leonard Greenstone Award for Outstanding Contributions to Diving Safety, the Our World-Underwater Award, the NAUI Award for Outstanding Contributions to Diving, the Alberta Underwater Council’s Award of Merit; Beneath the Sea’s Diver of the Year, the DAN Asia-Pacific Contributions to Diving Safety Award, the DEMA Reaching Out Award, the Wyland Foundation Award for Lifetime Achievement and the NAUI Lifetime Achievement Award. He has also been honored by being inducted as an Associate Boston Sea Rover, a member of the Disabled Divers Hall of Fame, the DEMA Hall of Fame, the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame and the NAUI Hall of Honor.
He served his country in the US Navy and Reserves (1966-1976). During that time, he served aboard the USS Steinaker (DD863) while on combat tour in Viet Nam (1968). He also was qualified as a US Navy Diver (NEC0000/5345).
Carl Pfleger has served in the international and global executive ranks of consumer goods leader, PepsiCo, for decades. Most recently, as Vice-President of Global Operations, he served as executive sponsor for teams providing globally leveraged services and governance across multiple supply chain functions including: Manufacturing, Environmental Sustainability, Agriculture, Engineering, Supply Chain Planning, Warehousing, Quality Control, Health & Safety, and Innovation Commercialization. During his broad and deep 36-year career with PepsiCo, Carl made significant contributions to business & strategic planning, corporate function start-ups, operating excellence, and external stakeholder engagement. Prior to his corporate roles, Carl honed his skills during multiple field assignments within the USA and abroad including “hands-on” field leadership with direct P&L ownership, entrepreneurial approaches in turn-around situations, and new business start-ups in volatile international environments. As part of his responsibilities Carl was the corporation’s global executive sponsor for their sustainable agriculture programs, and the Environmental Plank Leader for PepsiCo’s Performance with Purpose sustainability initiative having direct influence with the company’s c-suite executive leadership team. He is best known for his pragmatic and passionate leadership as well as for tackling new, unique, or challenging supply chain situations.
Carl is a founding member of the Sustainability Advisory Board for Penn State University’s (PSU) Smeal College of Business and is an active advisor to PSU’s Sustainability Institute since its inception. He is a strong advocate for leveraging sustainability to drive broad business value and is a passionate believer in the private sector’s role to advance societal goals through innovative, collaborative, and mutually beneficial partnerships. In his “Active” retirement, Carl, focuses his consulting efforts on his passions for Operational Excellence and Sustainability. He is currently engaged advancing the Event Sustainability industry working with the National Football League, College Football Playoffs, and the Hartford Yard Goats as well as academic partner Penn State University. Additionally, Carl advises new start-up organizations on business and supply chain strategies.
Carl lives in Ridgefield, CT with his wife Kim, of 24 years. They have two daughters Britteny and Danielle. He is an avid global traveler and enjoys spending his leisure time boating, water-skiing, scuba diving, snow-skiing, gardening, & woodworking.
MAJ. GEN. (RET.) Tom Mullikin attended South Carolina public schools, graduating from Camden High School in 1978 and the University of South Carolina (Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa) in 1982; the same year he married his high school sweetheart Virginia Ann Pitsenbarger.
Following a working stint on Capitol Hill, Tom and Virginia Ann returned to South Carolina where he attended the USC School of Law, graduating in 1986. Since 1986, Tom’s civilian law practice has focused on corporate law, energy and environmental law, and issues of healthcare, safety and national security.
With more than three decades of significant legal environmental expertise, Tom is a globally recognized senior energy-and-environmental attorney, an acclaimed expert on global environmental policy, an award-winning documentarian and author, and a decorated senior military officer (having held commissioned rank in both state and federal forces). Tom’s work has taken him to every continent on earth, including multiple trips to the Arctic and Antarctica. Tom has brought context to his work as a senior environmental attorney by studying climate, water and land-use on every continent and in every ocean and sea around the world. In addition to – and as a result of – his travels, he has developed sophisticated strategies on everything from climate change to nuclear technology, environmental sustainability, disaster relief, crisis management, healthcare, and unconventional energy production.
A former U.S. Army officer and International Legal Officer attached to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Tom ultimately served as Special Assistant to the Chief Prosecutor of Military Commissions, overseeing the trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four co-defendants. Tom retired from military service as the two-star commanding general of the S.C. State Guard – the state defense force component of the S.C. Military Dept., which also oversees the S.C. Army National Guard, the S.C. Air National Guard, and the Emergency Management Division.
Tom currently serves as chairman of the gubernatorially established South Carolina Floodwater Commission.
An accomplished mountain climber having summitted more than 20 mountains including mountains on every continent and four of the world’s seven great summits, Tom is a dive instructor and has logged SCUBA dives in all oceans on earth. Tom was honored as the 2020 Expedition Leader of the Year by the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor and he was named IRONMAN by “Ironman Outdoors.” He is a Fellow in the Explorers Club (New York), a Fellow in the Royal Geographical Society (London), and he has served as a “National Geographic Expert.”
In addition to his many awards, honors, and military decorations, Tom is a recipient of the Order of the Palmetto, the highest honor bestowed by the State of South Carolina. He is a member of two Halls of Fame. He has received two S.C. Senate commendations. He is an Honorary Green Beret. And he has earned military parachutist badges from six foreign nations.
Tom and wife Virginia Ann reside in Camden, S.C. Together they have four children and two grandchildren, all of whom are lifelong members of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Camden.
Working as a professional writer for over 25 years, Jim has penned and directed award-winning advertising campaigns, screenplays, teleplays and documentaries. As Founder and Creative Director of NYC-based advertising and content production company Chowder, Inc., Jim wrote and produced the theatrically released feature film, Cayman Went and the children’s book, Tuke the Specialist Turtle. An avid SCUBA diver and lifelong environmentalist, Jim previously served on the Board of Directors of the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI) and was recently named “2019 Sea Hero of the Year” by Scuba Diving Magazine and the Seiko Watch Corporation for his work with FORCE BLUE.
Before Co-Founding Force Blue, Keith was General Manager of Sunset House in the Cayman Islands for over 20 years. He is an accomplished diver, strategist, hotelier, marketer & marine environmentalist. Offering a rare blend of creative and operational strengths, he is a former board member of the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA), the Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA) and the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame. Keith was one of the first to install coral farms in the Cayman Islands and co-founder of the island’s NGO “Save Cayman”. He has been a guest speaker at numerous DEMA events and was named “Diver of the Year” in 2015 by Beneath the Sea for his role in promoting SCUBA recreation, training, safety and advocate for the seas. In 2016, he was runner up for the Cayman Islands Governor Tourism Industry Conservation Award for his dedication and outstanding service for his commitment to the environment and was honored with the Cayman Islands Tourism Association Diamond award.
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