Tom has been an active diver since 1961 and an instructor since 1969. He has owned Leaird’s Underwater Service in Muncie, Indiana since 1971. The dive business started as a part-time store but quickly expanded and today provides programs throughout the state of Indiana and Western Ohio, including nine YMCAs and two universities with 12 instructors. Over the years, the group of instructors has trained over 4,000 divers.
Trained as a professional photographer, Tom spent 31 years with the Muncie lab of Lifetouch Prestige Portraits retiring as VP of Production with 250 employees.
Tom has held numerous instructor training programs throughout the USA and twice in Europe, certifying more than 250 new instructors. During those years, he and his wife Bobbi served as tour guides escorting hundreds of divers to many locations throughout the Caribbean. Tom's has taught thousands of divers from open water through numerous specialties including many public safety personnel such as police, fire, and rescue workers and has been on thousands of dives.
From 1974 through 1986, Tom served as Region Commissioner for six states in Mid-America for the YMCA Scuba Program. From 1986 on, he served on the YScuba Advisory Committee, serving four years as Chairman. During those years he served as volunteer author, co-author, and editor for ten training manuals and books for YScuba. Tom was presented the Bernard E Empleton award for outstanding service to YMCA Scuba.
Tom is active in his local community currently serving as Chairman of the 7 branches of the Muncie, Indiana Family YMCA Board of Directors. He also has held the title of General Chairman of the local Kiwanis Club Christmas tree sales project for 15 years which has returned over $250,000 in profits back to his community in projects for youth.
Tom has also served two 3 year terms as a member of the board for the Diving and Equipment Marketing Association (DEMA). He is currently serving his third term as President of the Recreational Scuba Training Council (RSTC). Today you can find him working at PDIC and Scuba Educators International Headquarters, running his dive center Leaird's Underwater Service, or diving with students at his quarry, Philips Outdoor Center, in Muncie, Indiana.
Tom Leaird 1961 Dive #5