The Ocean First community begins with our employees. We take pride in creating a bright, passionate and energetic culture that shares an enthusiasm for experiencing and preserving our ocean. All of our team members are courteous and knowledgeable and are ready to answer all of your swim, dive and travel questions to ensure each and every customer receives the Ocean First experience.

 

Graham Casden

Graham Casden

Founder & Chief Visionary Officer

Graham was born in Jackson Hole, WY but moved to California as a child. He soon developed an insatiable love for the ocean and quickly realized his life was intertwined with the sea. In 1995, Graham moved to Boulder to attend the University of Colorado and study marketing and entrepreneurship. His love for traveling and the ocean have led him to dive destinations all over the world. Graham wanted to find a way to continue exploring while also protecting the environment he loves. Over the course of the next 10 years, he’s worked diligently to create a community of ocean enthusiasts who are passionate about experiencing and preserving our marine environments. 

Amy Christopher

Amy Christopher

Owner, Director of Retail & Travel

Amy has been swimming and snorkeling for as long as she can remember. Her first experience was snorkeling with her family at Playa de los Gatos in Mexico when she was 2. From that point on she was hooked. Amy has been fortunate to have spent the majority of her life traveling around the world with her family. She earned her Open Water certification in 1991 and is now a SSI Master Instructor.

Amy is the Director of Retail & Travel Operations and a videographer at Ocean First.  Her favorite part about diving is coming across the unexpected while diving, observing the behaviors of marine creatures, and exploring new countries. Amy has been with the team since March of 2000.

Kathy Gagliardo

Kathy Gagliardo

Buyer & Retail Manager

Kathy has always loved and been intrigued by the ocean, all from the first time she was "bitten" by a starfish at the age of 6. She has since learned that starfish can not bite people. Kathy loves learning about the behavior of creatures in the ocean and plans on becoming a vet someday. For now, she volunteers her time at Colorado's Ocean Journey. Kathy joined the team in January of 1998 and became an instructor in 1999.  She is the Retail Buyer for Ocean First.

Mark J Duvall

Mark J Duvall

Director of Service & Facilities, Master Service Technician

Growing up on a ranch in the middle of Montana doesn’t afford many opportunities to spend time in the water, but as a teenager Mark would get out to Flathead Lake in northern Montana. In 1985, Mark moved to Boulder and worked as the IT Director for the Geological Society of America.  Later that year, while at a GSA meeting, a group of managers decided they would go diving in the Caribbean.  Unable to resist the lure of the tropics, Mark followed suit and never looked back.  Since then, he has been diving in the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Hawaii, New Zealand, Roatan, Mexico and all around the Caribbean. In 2007, Mark became an instructor for Ocean First and is now the Director of Service & Facilities and Master Service Technician.

Kelly Faulkner

Kelly Faulkner

Lead Retail & Travel Admin

Kelly, or Sassafras, as she is known around here, comes to us from Wisconsin, the land of beer & cheese.  She was introduced to snorkeling at a young age when she would spend time traveling with her family. After high school, Kelly  joined the program Sea|Mester where she picked up her love for the ocean and scuba. During the program she and sailed around the Caribbean, working as crew and studying marine biology, oceanography & Nautical Science. A graduate of CU Boulder with a degree in environmental science, Kelly was also the president of CU's Scuba Club.  She has been a member of the Ocean First family for several years.

Cathy Christopher

Cathy Christopher

Cathy grew up in northeast Ohio knowing that she loved science - biology specifically - from an early age. While her interest in marine science started with whales, by the time she got to undergrad, she was enamored with the invertebrates. While in grad school at Florida Atlantic University, Cathy earned her Open Water and Nitrox scuba certifications and gained experience with various projects about birds and sea turtles and everything in between.  

Although she has participated in several sea turtle studies, lived and worked on a dolphin research vessel, and has been dropped off by helicopter in the Everglades to count fish, her love and loyalty remain with the invertebrates, which she considers the most fascinatingly diverse group of animals on the planet. She likes to remind anyone who will listen that without invertebrates, there wouldn't be much to see on a reef!

Cathy moved from Florida to Colorado in 2015 to work full time for Ocean First Education (OFE) where she and the rest of the team develop K-12 marine science content. If you've taken any of the SSI Ecology courses, you're already familiar with the work done by OFE – the two companies partnered several years ago to make marine science education more accessible to divers. In 2017, Cathy became a dive instructor for Ocean First and enjoys pointing out the unique invertebrates she comes across on her dives throughout the Caribbean and Indo-Pacific. If you ask nicely, she might even help you ID your fish and invert images. 

Roger Young

Roger Young

Director of Sales, TIDES

Roger first became interested in scuba diving while watching the 50's television program "Sea Hunt," however growing up on a small farm in Oklahoma didn't provide many opportunities to experience the sport. He never lost interest, though, and in 1985 while on vacation in the Caribbean he had the opportunity to take a resort course. From that  point on he knew diving was the passion of his life. While he enjoys all aspects of diving, he has a special interest in helping others learn this exciting sport. In addition to teaching scuba, Roger is also a certified SSI Instructor Trainer, certified Alpine Ski Instructor and avid high altitude mountaineer.

Danny Knoll

Danny Knoll

Director of Training, Scuba Instructor

Danny, a native of Washington DC, moved to Colorado in the pursuit of outdoor adventures. Oddly enough, this is where he found his love for scuba diving. He became open water certified in 2012 in the high mountains near Vail, Colorado. After gaining his instructor rating in 2013, he headed for warmer waters and taught scuba diving in the Cayman Islands and aboard an 80 foot liveaboard in Hawaii. When not diving, Danny is an avid thru-hiker, having completed the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and Continental Divide trails.

Dave Sturtz

Dave Sturtz

Retail Associate, Scuba Instructor

Dave was scuba certified at Ocean First in 2002 when it was still called Scuba Joe, and went on to become a scuba instructor in 2011. He has dived in Costa Rica, Maui, Bonaire, Roatan, Cozumel, Baja, Grenada, the Caymans, the Virgin Islands, Fiji and Thailand, mostly with his wife and dive buddy Anita.  He began working on the retail end of Ocean First in 2016 and loves giving customer the care and attention he would expect to receive.  Dave also enjoys camping, rafting, skiing, biking and motorcycling, and is a volunteer firefighter with the Gold Hill FD.

 

Drew Herrick

Drew Herrick

Freediving Instructor, Retail Specialist

As Florida native, Drew has been exploring underwater as early as he can remember.  He took his first scuba class in 2008 and became a divemaster in 2010. Eventually, the mountains lured him to Durango, Colorado where he earned a degree in Adventure Education and spent several years working in the outdoor industry. Still, the ocean called and he moved to southeast Asia to continue developing his water skills. He became a Freediving Instructor in 2016 and taught courses in Thailand and the Philippines. To date, Drew has achieved breath holds over six minutes and depths of 200ft. He recently moved back to Colorado and is looking forward to training at altitude and supporting the growth of apnea enthusiasts around the front range.

Bruce Goodwin

Bruce Goodwin

Bruce's love for the water started with snorkeling the lakes in New Jersey. Thirty years later he earned his certification and was hooked. He was a school teacher for thirty years and has been retired since 2006. Because of his love for teaching, it seemed a natural progression to teach scuba diving. He has been helping or teaching professionally since 1995 and is a Master Scuba Diver Trainer. Bruce also works a few days a week at Ocean First as a service technician.

He has escorted divers to Cozumel, Roatan, Dominica and to Key Largo in the Florida Keys. His many dive trips have taken him to Micronesia and Indonesia, Chuuk (Truk), Bali and the Banda Sea, Palau, Yap, the Channel Islands, Flower Gardens in the Gulf of Mexico, Tobago, Curacao, Cayman Brac, Costa Rica, The Socorro Islands, Egypt, the Red Sea, and Dominica.  Bruce enjoys sharing his love of the oceans with divers including the many interesting land excursions the islands have to offer, such as zip line tours, hot spring and waterfalls, hikes through the rainforest, interesting restaurants and meeting the locals.

Mike Pivacek

Mike Pivacek

Mike grew up in upstate New York where he fished and snorkeled around cold, dark lakes as often as possible. His dream was to work at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and spend time in and around the ocean. When his family moved to Colorado, he was forced to put his oceanic career on hold; Mike spent eight years in the military and graduated from Regis College with honors, beginning a career in technology where he became a Chief Information Officer and eventually the General Manager for a large data company in Denver. He has traveled extensively for business and pleasure – his favorite land destination was Zimbabwe, and his favorite diving trip was to the Socorro Islands. 

Mike lives in Broomfield and now splits his time now between management consulting, training students in his self-defense business, traveling and diving with his wife Erin and teaching scuba at Ocean First including middle and high school students in the TIDES program. 

He has been diving since 2009 and has been instructing since 2017 – all of his certifications and professional training were completed at Ocean First. Mike’s dive travels have taken him to Key Largo, Cozumel, Fiji, the Caymans, Roatan, the Socorro Islands, and Guadalupe Island where he got to see great white sharks up close and personal! 

Brennan Bushman

Brennan Bushman

Scuba Administrator and Retail Associate

Born and raised in Vermont Brennan moved to Colorado in 2008 to pursue his love for cycling. He has worked in all facets of the bike industry from nonprofit to e-commerce. Scuba diving was always something that was a bucket list adventure and in 2018 he obtained his open water certification. This was a start to a new adventure that quickly turned into a passion. After 50 dives his first year, He endearingly earned the nickname Scuba B from his cycling buddies as well as got a tattoo inspired by the Wes Anderson film "The Life Aquatic". He just could not get enough and decided to pursue a career in diving. Brennan is currently on the path to becoming an Instructor and can't wait to share his love for diving with Colorado and beyond.

 

Kim Crouch

Kim Crouch

Kim grew up in an Air Force family and moved around the country every two years until she settled in Colorado to swim for CSU on a swimming scholarship. She started swimming competitively at age six and still competes in Masters swimming. She has always been drawn to water sports and also enjoys water skiing, surfing, windsurfing, sailing, and most of all – scuba diving! She feels at home in the water and likes how diving makes her feel like a part of the ocean environment so she can observe all sea life, big and small. She was certified in 1986 and dabbled with diving over the years while she wrote air traffic control software and raised two kids. She became an instructor in 2016 and is fascinated by all the math and science in diving. 

Her diving travels have taken her to Australia, Tahiti, Philippines, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, St Lucia, St. Croix, Roatan, Belize, Cozumel, and Florida. She also loves riding her road bike and traveling to Europe, New Zealand, and Asia with her family.

Kim's enjoys seeing her scuba students grow their skills by challenging themselves to become open water divers, and loves sharing their experience on their first ocean dive.

Matt Carr

Matt Carr

Scuba Instructor (Divemaster Instructor), Service Technician

Matt has been around the water his entire life. At a young age he would swim in his parent’s pool, testing how long he could hold his breath, to see what it was like to be underwater for a long period of time. In high school, he was on the diving team and as he grew older, his passion for the water also grew. In 2001, he took a trip to Cancun where he was introduced to diving with a Try Scuba class. In May 2002, he got Open Water Certificatied and then for the next 7 years volunteered for a dive shop as a Rescue Diver. In 2013, he got certified as a Dive Control Specialist and started working for Ocean First. Matt has worked his way up the Instructor ranks to become a Divemaster Instructor. Matt is also one of the main service techs and helps maintain our facility. Locally, he has logged over 150-175 dives in The Blue Hole in Santa Rosa New Mexico, 75 dives in Homestead Crater in Midway Utah, and 75 dives in Aurora Reservoir. Belize is one of his favorite places to dive!

When he is not teaching classes or working on gear, he enjoys being outside, all things relating to baseball, hanging out with family, listening to all kinds of music and going to Beaver Reservoir to camp and fish.

Dan Goldan

Dan Goldan

Scuba Instructor

Dan was scuba certified by Ocean First back in 1991 when it was still Scuba Joe.  He had wanted to get his scuba certification for several years, but at the time, couldn’t afford it.  He won a certification course as a door prize at an awards dinner.  At the time, he was a volunteer firefighter with Cherryvale Fire (now Rocky Mtn Fire), and is still a volunteer rescuer with the Boulder Emergency Squad.  He went on to become a public safety diver with the Boulder Emergency Squad, and then a Public Safety Scuba Instructor in 1997.  Dan became a corporate trainer for Dive Rescue Int’l in 1998 and remains active with them today.  In 2008 he became a recreational scuba instructor with SSI, and moved on to becoming a technical diving instructor in 2012.  Dan joined Ocean First as an instructor in 2010 and is currently an Assistant Instructor Trainer with SSI.  His passions in diving include multi-gas and multi-tank, deep, sidemount diving, as well as mentoring new instructors.  He also enjoys biking, swimming and shorter distance triathlons.

 

Shayna Farnsworth

Shayna Farnsworth

Scuba Instructor

Shayna has been a fish in water since she was a kid. Her love of scuba came from her mom, who taught scuba in Tulsa, Oklahoma in the 80’s. Shayna remembers using her mom’s scuba equipment to sit at the bottom of their pool and felt amazed that she could breath underwater. After a dive trip to the Red Sea with her family, Shayna realized she wanted scuba diving to become more than just a hobby, she wanted to share her love of the ocean with other people and become an instructor. Shayna is passionate about the ocean and conservation and is working towards making a career protecting what she loves!

 

Kathryn Foster

Kathryn Foster

Swim School Director

Born and raised in North Carolina, Kathryn spent her summers vacationing  with family along the Carolina and Virginia coast.  She began swimming at the age of three and took her love of the water on to high school to swim competitively.  Kathryn taught swim lessons while an undergrad at UNC Charlotte before traveling around Central America surfing and enjoying SUP Yoga. She recently graduated from graduate school with a degree in Transpersonal Counseling. Maverick, her three-year old pup, is discovering his own fascination of the water and together they are swimming and exploring all parts of Colorado.  

Thea Rogier

Thea Rogier

Training Administrator & Scuba Instructor

Thea grew up living in Southeast Asia and Southern Africa. She fell in love with sea turtles (and the ocean) when she was 2 and got scuba certified when she was 11. She studied Biology at UCSB for undergrad and then spent some time working on a sea turtle conservation project and as a divemaster in Barbados, before heading back to school for a masters degree in Marine and Environmental Affairs at UW. When not in the pool or greeting customers at Ocean First, she can be found out adventuring and finding places to rock climb and swim with her dog, Maia.

James Dubendorf

James Dubendorf

Swim Teacher

James grew up landlocked in small-town western Massachusetts. His love for the ocean was nurtured during childhood trips to southern Rhode Island - from eating sand to surfing hurricane swells, he was hooked. After majoring in cultural anthropology at Hamilton College, and attending the Williams Mystic Maritime Studies Program at Mystic Seaport, James studied contemporary social change on Pitcairn Island. James also built wooden boats in Maine and crewed on schooner Ellida sailing multi-night trips on the Penobscot Bay. James recently moved to Boulder for graduate school. When not in the pool, James runs a training business in the ski industry and enjoys outdoor adventures and campfire songs with his niece and nephew, and his dog Fitzroy.

 

Alex Feltes

Alex Feltes

Swim Teacher

As an East Coast native, Alex’s love for the ocean began by spending every summer boogie boarding along the Jersey Shore. Her curiosity for the natural world continued to grow as she pursued degrees in conservation biology and global studies in undergrad. After graduating, Alex moved to Catalina Island and worked as a marine biology instructor and aquarist at the Catalina Island Marine Institute. She later moved up the coast towards central California and worked as an outdoor educator at the Coastal Institute. In both locations, Alex led students of all types on hiking, tide pooling, kayaking, and snorkeling expeditions, bringing their classroom outdoors.  Alex is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Environmental Journalism at CU to continue her mission to connect people with parts of the world they never imagined experiencing.

Kyle Cafourek

Kyle Cafourek

Swim Teacher

Kyle’s childhood summers were spent at his family’s lake cabin up in Minnesota. When he was 13, he moved down to Texas and joined the swim team to beat the heat. At age 20, he joined the Navy and was stationed in Yokosuka, Japan. Kyle worked hands on with aviation, its equipment and dealt with the safe completion of launch and recovery of aircrafts aboard CVN 73 George Washington aircraft carrier. Since getting out of the military, he has moved to Colorado and is now studying web & graphic design. Out of the pool, he enjoys messing around with the Adobe Creative Cloud, traveling, and exploring Colorado and everything it has to offer.

Josh Rowe

Josh Rowe

Swim Teacher

Josh is a Denver native and a CU Buff that has a long history with water. Through his competitive swimming career he was a four year state qualifier, achieved All-American status, and was a member of the All-State team for Colorado. His interest in water goes beyond the swimming pool as Josh loves to use his free time to paddle board and go on sailing trips with his family!

FIND US

HOURS: MON-FRI 10AM-7PM // SAT 10AM-6PM // SUN 12PM-5PM