UNDERWATER Magazine had the opportunity to speak with Karl Miller, Vice President and General Manager of Bay-Tech Industries and ADCI Board Member. Thank you to Karl for all of your help!
Tell me about how you got involved with the industry and what your responsibilities are at your current job.
I started out my career in the early 1990s as a fitter/welder working for a fabrication company that built net guards, abandonment caps, drilling templates, and other types of fabrication. The company also had a diving division, and at one point we were fabricating skids for a rental company. At this point in time is where I met Mike Wills, the founder of Bay-Tech Equipment Rentals, Inc. Bay-Tech was a fairly new company just starting out. Shortly after getting to know Mike, I began working nights and weekends to help him out. When work got slow at my regular job I was offered a full time position at Bay-Tech Equipment Rentals, Inc. In addition to being a fitter/welder, I also did mechanic work. Growing up in the country I learned a little bit of everything from farming to carpenter work, plumbing, electrical, welding, etc. After a few years, Bay-Tech Industries, Inc. was formed to manufacture and sell equipment and supplies. Fast forward to today, I am currently VP/General Manager of both Bay-Tech Equipment Rentals, Inc. and Bay-Tech Industries, Inc. where we cater to the commercial diving industry worldwide. My responsibilities consist of day to day operations of all aspects of the business from sales, procurement, customer relations, business development, and sometimes even welding and fitting.
How have you been involved with ADCI?
Bay-Tech became a member of the ADCI in the early 2000s. As ADCI is important to the commercial diving industry, we felt it necessary as an equipment manufacturer and supplier to the industry to support their mission. To be honest, in my years of being in the industry, I was never directly involved with the ADCI as Mike, the owner of Bay-Tech, was the primary person attending meetings and relaying what was needed in the industry while I stayed back and held the fort down. I have always kept up with what was going on in the industry and I like to try and stay a step ahead of the ever changing industry requirements. In the past few years I have committed to attending all of the ADCI meetings that I can. This past year, I also ran and was elected as an ADCI associate board member.
What has been the most rewarding part of your career in the underwater industry?
I would have to say that the most rewarding part of my career would be being able to assist customers in their time of need. Many times a customer may need a compressor, a chamber, or even something as simple as a microphone for their helmet while on their way to the job site. There is a sense of fulfillment of being able to answer the phone, at any time of the day or night, and be able to get the customer what they need to be able to go to work and get their job done. There is also many working/friend relationships that have evolved over the years that will last a lifetime.
What has the ADCI meant to the industry?
The ADCI over the years has continued to raise the bar of safety and procedures to ensure the safest practices for divers worldwide. Diving is a form of transportation to their worksite and their life is on the line every time they suit up and plunge into the water to begin their work day. The ADCI has guidelines set forth and in place to ensure that for every dive the diver can return to the surface safe and unharmed.
What would you like to see the ADCI do to make sure the next 50 years are as productive as the first?
I believe it is crucial for the ADCI to continue raising the bar for safety for the future generations to come. As older generations move on from the industry, it has always been a loss of knowledge and experience that the future generations may not have a chance to learn from. The ADCI needs to capture this knowledge and see if it can help to influence future safe practices for many years to come.