The Our World Underwater Dive & Travel shows, (Chicago, IL and Dallas/Frisco, TX) have been sold to dive charter owner and show manager, Jim Gentile. Captain Jim has been running Windy City Diving, a Chicago area charter boat company, for the past twelve years, and has been managing the OWU shows for the past 6 years.
According to Capt. Jim, he is very excited about the purchase. As a dive charter operator, “I have been doing business with most of the area dive shops by not playing favorites with any one store.
My business plan was and is to make everyone welcome and to promote local diving. I plan to bring this same approach to the Our World Underwater Dive & Travel shows.” Captain Jim’s thought process is that for any show to be successful you need to attract attendees.
To attract attendees to a dive show you need exhibitors and the exhibitors need to be a mix of manufacturers, dealers, training agencies and of course dive destinations. Gentile believes that the attendees and all the exhibitors are linked together like the legs of a tripod, if one leg fails the whole thing collapses.
His goal is to strengthen each leg by initially getting all the local dive stores supporting the show, then getting manufacturers to support their dealers while all along making the show more exciting for the attendees by having daily trip give-a-ways and hosting a get together/party on Friday night.
One big change will be the elimination of the Friday night film festival in Chicago this year and having a large “Gala” party – Meet & Greet instead. We want to offer our attendees a chance to meet the exhibitors and speakers in a social setting and give the exhibitors a chance to meet them too.
“Though Jacque Cousteau referred to diving as the “Silent World”, diving has always been a social event for the diver and I intend to build a sense of community with Our World Underwater”, said Gentile. Our World Underwater will still offer its premiere Saturday Evening Film Festival, where this year they are featuring the work of Howard and Michele Hall along with other award winning filmmakers.
Gentile really appreciates the help and support of previous owners, Patrick and Sherry Hammer. Patrick and Sherry have been really good to me and I have really appreciated their many years of friendship and support”, said Gentile.
The Dallas/Frisco Dive Show will be held on January 28th & 29th, 2017 at the Embassy Suites Dallas-Frisco Hotel, Convention Center & Spa. Highlights of the show include a Film Festival on Saturday night from 7 PM - 9 PM, at the Embassy Suites with Emmy award winner Jonathan Bird headlining the show.
Underwater photography expert Cathy Church will be hosting a series of underwater photography workshops at the show. For more details, visit them online at www.ourworldunderwater.com
The Chicago Dive & Travel Expo will be held on February 24 – 26, 2017 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont Illinois. Just 5 minutes from Chicago O’Hare International Airport. The host hotel is the Hyatt Regency O’Hare.
According to Gentile, OWU has a special relationship with the Hyatt. “The Hyatt has hosted Our World Underwater for nearly 30 years. Once you check in, the convention center is attached, so you never need to walk outside; it is very convenient; especially in February” laughed Gentile.
Highlights of the Chicago show include music and entertainment for the weekend Scuba Cowboy Pup Morse, Saturday night Film Festival with Howard & Michelle Hall, Cathy Church and many others.
The Convention Center will be full of booths from SCUBA stores, Manufacturers, travel destinations apparel and jewelry. We have over 50 Seminars taking place and a lot of workshops, from the likes of Cathy Church and others on Saturday and Sunday.
The change in ownership of the show reflects the always changing nature of the dive industry and continues the legacy of the Our World Underwater Show. Established in 1971, OUW is the Midwest’s largest and longest continually running Dive & Travel exposition and a valued component of the scuba industry.
To get more information about the show contact them online at www.ourworldunderwater.com