Tuesday, 8 April 2008

SSI Announces New Ownership

Congratulations to Doug McNeese and Robert Stoss on the acquisition of SSI. I'd like to take this opportunity to wish Gary and Linda Clark and the rest of the family well as they depart the dive industry.



Fort Collins, ColoradoScuba Schools International, the premier education and business support organization, announces a change in ownership. March 26, 2008 marked the official changing of the guard – Doug McNeese and Robert Stoss, two recognized industry experts, have joined forces to provide the company with a wealth of experience in all facets of the diving industry: Training, Retail, Manufacturing and International Business.

Doug McNeese (President and CEO) has been involved in the diving industry since the age of 10 when his family opened up their first dive store. In 1982 he purchased ‘The Dive Shop’ from his father and began the expansion of the company.

In 1993 Doug purchased NASDS and in late 1998 merged with SSI. Nine years following the merger, Doug is and will continue to be a driving force in the promotion of SSI Worldwide and strengthening its growth through retailers and manufacturers. Doug strongly believes that the “doorway to diving” is the retailer. His passion is to go beyond what has been done, bring more people into the sport and to make scuba diving a lifetime activity.

“In Europe, Asia and Australia, SSI Regional Centers are growing and gaining market share. In the USA successful retailers continue to join SSI based on a proven business model of creating divers and selling scuba equipment. Resorts in the Caribbean, Red Sea and Pacific are also joining the SSI Network so they can access the hundreds of thousands of SSI Divers around the world,” stated McNeese.

Robert Stoss (Chairman) has been actively involved in diving since 1977 as an avid diver, instructor and retail store owner. For 10 years, from 1987 to 1997, Robert had a successful career with Scubapro® with the final position of Vice President and Business Unit Manger of the North American Diving Division of Johnson Worldwide Associates in Racine, WI from 1993 – 1997.

A new opportunity led Robert back to Germany in 1997 where he purchased Seemann Sub®, a leading German manufacturer and importer for a full line of scuba diving equipment. Over the last 10 years, under Robert’s guidance, Seemann® has earned the reputation as the innovative leader in the price to value dive gear segment. In 2007, Seemann Sub was acquired by Johnson Outdoors.

“I joined the SSI Network in February of 2003 as the licensee of the newly formed SSI European Service Center. SSI Germany has since taken a leadership position in the European professional dive market and today is head to head with the leading agency in Dive Center membership,” says Stoss. “I am confident that this new partnership with Doug will create unique opportunities for SSI retailers, instructors and resorts worldwide.

The Clark family is leaving Scuba Schools International on a high note. From a worldwide perspective, the SSI brand is more widely recognized now than ever before. The company is in peak financial shape and beat its all time high sales and profit goals in 2007. Although there will be a change in ownership SSI will remain focused on the success of the retailer and instructor. SSI understands that dive centers are the gateway to our sport and the backbone of the industry.

“We are very excited about the huge opportunities in the diving industry,” McNeese and Stoss continued. “All we can say is - prepare to be amazed.”

Visit the SSI website at www.diveSSI.com

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