Richmond Dive and Travel has a diverse and talented staff with decades of combined scuba and business experience. Our Instructors are some of the best in diving and the best in the area. All instructors have extensive training to meet your needs in scuba instruction.
Clay Overholt – Underwater Criminal Investigations (UCI) Instructor
Underwater Criminal Investigations (UCI) Instructor, PADI Staff Instructor, PADI Public Safety Dive Instructor
I began my dive career in 1989 when I first became certified as an open water diver. I
became interested in search & recovery diving when I joined the Virginia State Police (VSP) Search & Recovery Dive Team (SRT) in 1994. I was assigned as the VSP Third Division Senior Diver in 1995. Those duties included locating training sites, conducting search & recovery training for those team members assigned to Third Division and overseeing all operational dives conducted in Third Division. As my interest grew, I attended an IDC/IE in 1998 becoming certified as a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor. During the next year and a half, I gathered experience teaching scuba classes and assisting the Team Coordinator, First Sergeant Mike Berry, in teaching VSP/SRT Basic Dive Schools. In 2001, I applied for and obtained my Master Scuba Diver Trainer certification. In January 2002, I was assigned as the VSP/SRT Assistant Team Leader (ATL). My duties as ATL include setting up and conducting training for the entire team, to include the PADI Rescue Diver class for the basic dive schools and taking on the roll of operational coordinator when required.
Nathan Kissner – Instructor
PADI Instructor, DAN Instructor
At the age of 25, I’m proud to say I’m the youngest instructor with our shop. I was born and raised in Dinwiddie, Virginia and have lived there all my life. I work as a 6th grade science teacher in the Dinwiddie school system, and also enjoy working as an assistant baseball coach.
I started in diving when my father introduced me to the sport nine years ago at the age of 16. I’ve been an instructor for three years now, having obtained my instructor rating in Key Largo, Florida. What thrills me about diving? Wrecks, wrecks and more wrecks!! There is nothing like dropping down a descent line and all of a sudden out of the blue (or sometimes green or brown) appears this massive chunk of steel. The history of wrecks here in our area is awesome and just knowing that you are where some men once stood or lived is quite thrilling.
Besides diving wrecks off the east coast I would have to say that Roatan, Honduras is my favorite place to dive. I served a divemaster internship there and the diving is just pristine, so if you’re looking for beautiful wall diving, reefs and wrecks, Roatan is your place.
Gerald Craver – PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, DSAT Instructor
PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, PADI DSAT Instructor, NAUI Instructor, PhD in Educational Research
I was born in Richmond, Virginia in 1972 and have lived here all my life. I work for the Commonwealth of Virginia as a Health Policy Researcher. My wife April and I have two children, Will and Avery. I also served in the Virginia Army National Guard from 1993 until 2003 as a Captain in various infantry and field artillery units.
I learned to dive with my wife April in 1998 and have enjoyed dive locations in Morehead City, North Carolina, St. Croix and the Cayman Islands, just to name a few. Many things thrill me about diving, some of which include diving on deep wrecks while surrounded by sharks, seeing things that only a few people have ever seen before and having barracudas keep me company on decompression stops (by the way I am a technical diver with the following certifications: Advanced Nitrox, Demompression Procedures, Extended Range and Trimix). I also enjoy wall diving with April in the Cayman Islands, as well as working with students in classes of all levels. I received my divemaster certification in 2008.
Mike Burnett – Instructor
SDI Instructor Trainer
I’ve been diving since 1986, been an instructor since 1994, an instructor trainer since 2001 and it still get a thrill out of training new divers. Wreck diving in North Carolina and Florida, reef diving in the Bahamas and Curacao, cave diving and the related travel also keep me excited about diving.
Retired from a career with CSX Railroad, I spent my childhood in Savannah Georgia before making Richmond my home. I have two grown sons (a Henrico Police Officer and a correctional officer), four grandchildren and have been married to Kat since 2008.
Bill Price – PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer
PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer
I grew up watching Lloyd Bridges on Sea Hunt and wanted to learn how to dive since I was a kid; and I still feel like a kid when I’m diving; there is no other experience like it that I’ve found. To be part of a fascinating underwater world that a relatively small part of the population ever gets to experience is an experience I’ll never forget… The more I experience it, the more I want it. It is a sport I have enjoyed since 1980 and expect to enjoy for many years to come.
I enjoy wreck diving; that’s what you’ll find mostly along the Virginia / North Carolina coast. Wreck diving doesn’t mean you have to penetrate inside dark holds and passages of ships, though there is specialty training that will prepare you for that. There is plenty to see and enjoy just cruising the outside of a sunken vessel, plus you also get the experience of reef diving since wrecks serve as artificial reefs. I’m retired from the U.S. Marine Corps and currently work for the State Government.
Tonya Atwell – PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer
PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer
Born in 1974 and raised in the small town of Saltville, VA located in the Appalachian Mountains of Southwest Virginia, I attended college at Clinch Valley College which is now UVA – Wise. There I earned my Science degree in Psychology and Sociology. All of my family still lives in Southwest Virginia. I can to central Virginia in 2001 when I graduated from the VA State Police Academy.
I learned to dive in the spring of 2003 as a member of the Search and Recovery Team (SRT). My interests in scuba diving arose in 2001 while I attended our police academy’s Water Safety class, which was taught by the team’s SRT Coordinator. In this class we gained an insight of underwater recoveries, low head dams, swift water rescues and self survival techniques that would be used in an emergency. My one goal upon graduation was to one day become a public safety diver; so here I an many years later, a certified Master Underwater Criminal Investigator, Public Safety Diver, a Divemaster (in 2009) and now a PADI Instructor.
I love the peacefulness and slow motion that comes with diving. As a search and rescue diver, I have the opportunity to provide closure to an individual or family that have lost loved ones… or to find items that have been discarded in an attempt to conceal a crime. Quite honestly, the majority of my diving experience has been in low to zero visibility, nothing as pretty as the clear blue waters of the Caribbean.
I had the opportunity to do a wall dive in the Caymans several years ago that was phenomenal. I had never seen water that clear and blue. My favorite dive experience as in 2009 at the Sheraton Caverns off of Poipu Beach in Kauai, Hawaii. To be able to swim beside a Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle as very majestic. Diving allows me the opportunity to experience those things that others only dream of.
Wayne Hackett – Service Manager / PADI Assistant Instructor
PADI Assistant Instructor, Divemaster
I was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1950, moving to Richmond when I was eight years old. I joined the Virginia Air National Guard in 1970, where I worked until retiring in 2005 as an F-16 Life Support/Parachute Superintendent.
I learned to dive in Curacao in 2002, and have enjoyed diving at various locations throughout the world since. I began working in the dive industry two years ago as a equipment service technician, and earned my divemaster certification last year. I enjoy all aspects of diving, particularly the freedom and beauty of the undersea world and diving with friends.
I attend Three Chopt Presbyterian Church and my wife, Elsie and I have several grandchildren.
Chet Parzych – PADI Assistant Instructor
PADI Assistant Instructor, Divemaster
I was born in Ludlow, Massachusetts and have been diving since 1989. I graduated from Norwich Military College of Vermont in 1993 with a BS in Civil Engineering. I served in the U.S. Army, deploying to Afghanistan in 2009, and since my return have enjoyed my involvement with the American Legion Post 186, La Societe des Quarante Hommes at Huit Chevaux, Voiture 53, and the Al Bartraw, Jr. DAV Post 50.
Upon my return I decided to return to diving to involve my family in a wonderful and relaxing family sport. The great thing about the staff here is that they understand military veterans and are supportive and professional. I love the calming effect that can be discovered under the surface of the water and the tranquility a peace that you find there. My family is the most loving and supportive I know, and I’ve enjoyed getting my two sons involved in this sport and watching them evolve as divers.
I earned my PADI Divemaster certification in February of 2013 and look forward to helping you learn the joys and inner peace that diving brings to me. I enjoy helping others improve their lives while becoming a better person myself, which makes me feel more successful than I ever thought possible. I enjoy wreck diving in Virginia Beach most of all for the challenges those sites bring to diving, but also enjoy Caribbean and Florida diving while I share the experience with my family and friends. I hope to meet you in one of our classes or dive trips soon!