Meet Your Instructors

Anna Schmitz Owner| Instructor

Anna began teaching SCUBA full time in 1984 and then continued on to IDC’s in 1989. Since then she has trained thousands of divers and instructors from around the world. Anna  achieved the status of “Gold” PADI Course Director in 2005, 2006 and 2007 and went on to achieve the “Platinum” status as a long-time PADI Course Director. 

Scott Cole | Instructor

A long time SCUBA enthusiast, Scott joined the ECS family in 2018 after retiring from the United States Air Force. He has maintained a “Silver” status as a Course Director since he started teaching Instructor Courses at Emerald Coast Scuba. 

Together Anna and Scott have met the requirements for Emerald Coast Scuba to achieve PADI’s top echelon as a Career Development Center! 

“We are extremely proud of this status and enjoy the process of teaching and working with the career advancement of our fellow instructors . We are excited to join with everyone on their path to Professional Diving here in Destin, Florida- The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village!”

Meet The Crew

Ray Thibodeau

Ray is the stalwart pillar of Emerald Coast Scuba. As a Master Instructor Ray is the trusted guidance for our academic programs. Ray is the ECS equivalent of PADI’s Guide to Teaching. If he hasn’t seen it, it probably doesn’t exist. He is also the Master of all trades as our Seamint Pond CPO and Equipment Repair Tech. Take 10 minutes of your day to listen to Ray and learn a lifetime of knowledge.

Dylan Woodbridge

Dylan first joined Emerald Coast Scuba as a Seal Team member from Kansas and knew he would travel back and be a pro with us. As a Fire Captain in Pensacola, Dylan provides outstanding instruction for our course work as Staff Instructor and is extremely well versed in our Emergency First Response suite of academics. Dylan also created the ECS Sustainable Harvest program for responsible interaction with our aquatic environment.

Scott Monson

Scott made the decision to retire to the good life of scuba instruction and brings to us a wealth of knowledge and life experience. Scott’s expertise and patience keeps him ideally situated for all courses and specializes in our Open Water classes. Scott has climbed the ladder to Staff Instructor with his sights on Master Instructor soon!

Julia Scheuerman

No life would be complete without your own mermaid. Julia is an outstanding Master Scuba Diver Trainer/Mermaid Instructor and received the internationally renowned 2022 DEMA Wavemaker award for her establishment and work with high school aged youth, teaching STEM through SCUBA.

Lou Adam

Once you get past the Sweetbeard, you’ll notice that our Shop Manager Lou is THE expert in SCUBA equipment and gear. Lou is a Staff Instructor and with Greg and Cho is one of our plankholders in the ECS VA program. Lou’s expertise goes well beyond that sales floor and embodies the PADI and ECS philosophy that we are dive instructors first and foremost.

Greg McGrath

Greg came to ECS from the Ranger Camp on Eglin and has excelled as our Veteran and Task Force Poseidon Liaison. With Lou and Cho, Greg is a Staff Instructor and also one of our plankholders in the ECS VA program. Greg is also one of our ScienceSea Instructors and has helped make this program nationally recognized.

Cho Schneidewind

Cho is one of our on-call instructors specializing in trips to the Grayton Beach Underwater Museum of Art. Cho is often busy writing children’s books and volunteering for philanthropic causes. Cho is also a plankholder in our first ECS VA class and has continued to hold the high standard he was taught.

Romona Reynolds

She photographs the Cousteaus, no big deal. Romona is world renowned and has published her art in multiple sources. After a record breaking divemaster program that included a break for amazing daughter, Romona completed her Instructor Development Course and is now the go-to for Underwater Digital Imagery/Photography.

Dusty Roberts

Dusty is Mr. Fix-it! After diving with us, Dusty chose to become an instructor and move to the Emerald Coast from Oklahoma and we are lucky to have him! Dusty is an integral part of our crew and is the epitome of the jack of all trades. Dusty is also a graduate of our VA Career Instructor Program and does extensive work with our veterans.

Laura “LaLa” Shields

Laura is our expert swim instructor here in the SeaMint Pond. Lala’s outstanding patience and care for children of all ages, coupled with her naturally teaching ability and perpetual optimism make her the perfect choice to lead our swim programs. Lala is a joy to be around and has taken here skills beyond the pool and joins us to SCUBA.