Meet the GUE Seattle board members! Each of these divers bring a unique skill set from their respective professional “surface careers” to the GUE Seattle organization. Collectively they form the board of GUE Seattle. As a team, they all ultimately share the same vision and passion: The Research, Exploration and Conservation of our local Pacific Northwest waters!
Growing up one block from Lake Washington and a love of all things water, Jays obtained his first open-water diver certification in 1974 at the age of 16. After finding abundant antique glass bottles - and a Ford Model T - the exploration bug bit hard.
After a 37-year dry spell, Jay was thrilled to be given the gift of a week-long vacation in Key West to dive the shipwreck Atocha. Jay completed an open-water diver certification for a second time immediately before the trip, but decided that he wanted to seek out even more training to become a safer, better diver.
Once Jay got back to Seattle, a member of the local dive community suggested that Jay attend a dive with the local GUE community - and there was no looking back. The GUE standardized processes, commitment to diving skill, and the welcoming attitude was a perfect fit. Jay currently holds a GUE Technical Diver 1 certification.
With a passion for exploration and an unlimited amount of unknown targets to find, Jay can often be found on the water searching for that next great wreck. While on land, Jay owns a disaster restoration business as well as a general contracting repair business.
Alex’s first experience with diving was in the swimming pool at Underwater Sports at the ripe old age of 10. His father had purchased some new dive equipment from the store and was going to try it out in the pool. Alex was invited to come along and after just a few breaths on his dad’s alternate regulator, knew this was something he would do someday. That someday finally came 13 years later in 2004, and ironically in the same pool, when Alex took his open water class soon after finishing college. At the completion of the class his instructor told him “you’re going to be a dive instructor someday.” And so the journey began…
Currently Alex is a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer and GUE Fundamentals Instructor. He and his longtime girlfriend, Bex (also an active member of GUE Seattle), discovered GUE together in 2012 when Alex reconnected with Koos, who had been a classmate of his in his PADI instructor program. The skill of the divers as well as their emphasis on safety and their team mentality were immediately attractive and it didn’t take long for Alex and Bex to become active members in the community. Alex currently holds a GUE Tec 1+ rating and is considering going down the path of becoming a GUE instructor.
As much as the diving, Alex very much enjoys the people in the GUE community and the many new friendships he has formed in the past couple of years. He and Bex have hosted the annual GUE Christmas Party the past few years and hope to for many more to come!
Alex will tell you that it is impossible to pick a favorite dive as there are just too many amazing dives to choose from. High on his list however are the PB4Y in Lake Washington, all of the wrecks in Truk Lagoon and diving with Oceanic White Tip Sharks in the Red Sea.
When not diving, Alex is a partner in Carlisle Classic Homes, a local remodeling firm. You can also find him working on his own house or enjoying his other (and fairly new) past time of shooting.
General Board MemberMike@gue-seattle.org
Mike became a certified diver in 2011 before a vacation to the Caribbean and has been an active diver ever since. After returning from his trip, in search of buddies, Mike discovered GUE at one of their “tweak” dives and was impressed with the willingness of everyone to share their time, equipment, and knowledge with a beginning diver. Now, along with diving local Lakes and the Puget Sound (now with and without a deco bottle) Mike enjoys travelling to discover new dive spots. Some of Mike’s more memorable dives include the sharks of Fiji, the Poor Knight’s Islands Marine Reserve in his native New Zealand, and most recently the caves of Mexico.
General Board Member
Andrea is the co-owner and “co-captain in training” of Ocean Quest Dive Charters. She has been diving with the GUE community for several years, and holds a GUE Technical Diver 1 certification, and is working towards taking the GUE Cave Diver 1 course in the not-too-distant future.
Andrea volunteers her dive skills for South Sound Green Marine environmental education days, helping local students explore and learn about the intertidal environment.
When she’s not volunteering or learning about how to be a boat captain, Andrea enjoys hiking with her dogs, spending time with her daughter Camryn, and practicing her underwater photography skills.
Kees Beemster Leverenz
After being certified in 2009, Kees decided to seek out more experienced divers in the area. Kees did some research and was attracted to the standardization and skill offered by GUE. He was particularly attracted to the idea that a diver can “begin with the end in mind” and develop skills early on that are useful at every level of diving.
Armed with a too-tight backplate, a 7mm wetsuit, and a bright yellow aluminum 80, Kees got in touch with a few members of the local community. He was quickly overwhelmed with their generosity in lending their time, equipment, and advice.
Kees currently enjoys exploring the wrecks in the lake as well as diving in the Puget Sound as often as possible. He is doing his best to pay forward the mentoring he received, while simultaneously trying to learn from the more experienced divers in the community.