Richardson has directly or indirectly shaped, improved and broadened access to diver education.
He launched the SAFE Diver Program, and laid the groundwork for the Project AWARE Foundation.
Few people have had the influence on diving as has Dr. Drew Richardson, the President and Chief Operations Officer for PADI Worldwide. He is also Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Project AWARE Foundation, President of DSAT (Diving Science & Technology), President and COO of Emergency First Response Corporation and President of Current Publishing. Respected by competitors and peers alike, it is safe to say that Richardson has directly or indirectly shaped improved and broadened access to diver education for more than 10 million divers around the world.
Richardson came to PADI in 1985 following a pivotal tenure as an Assistant Professor of Underwater Technology at the Florida Institute of Technology, where he trained commercial divers and also established the first Associate of Science program in Sport Diving Operations. Applying his backgrounds in marine science, business and education he guided the evolution of PADI’s instructional system. Among literally hundreds of landmark accomplishments since then, he guided the introduction of the Recreational Dive Planner – the first dive tables developed and tested specifically for recreational divers, launched the SAFE Diver program, implemented the Essential Change instructional movement of the 1990’s, laid the groundwork for the project AWARE Foundation and oversaw the development of literally every course and course product introduced by PADI, DSAT and the PADI International Resort and Retailer Association. In his role as President of Current Publishing, he is presently participating in the development of a marine sciences curriculum for national use in high schools.
With more than 4500 dives logged, Richardson has personally trained and certified more than 3000 divers from beginners through instructor trainer. He is an active member of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) and South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society (SPUMS), where he helps represent the interests of recreational and technical diving. He is also Chair of the RSTC’s Standards Committee, and was one of the initiators for the formation of RSTC Europe. A respected and popular speaker, Richardson has spoken about dive medicine, diver training, legal issues, the business of diving and other diving and marine topics at literally hundreds of conferences internationally. He is also an accomplished author and Editor in Chief of the Undersea Sea Journal with more than 500 articles and papers published in the Journal and publications of organizations that include the UHMS, SPUMS, RSTC, WRSTC, DAN and DEMA.
When he’s not doing something to further the causes of diving and the underwater world, Richardson likes to spend time with his family in Southern California.