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Business Beat: Underwater weldingbusiness is tough work

Christine Walters

Vic Markytan owns and operates MM Diving, Inc., a commercial diving company specializing in underwater welding for heavy construction, oil-spill clean-up and other emergency diving projects.

Q: What do you do and how long have you been doing it?

Markytan: I've been in business seven or eight years. We do commercial diving operations, using hose gear with hardwired communications equipment. We direct cranes underwater, do underwater welding and burning, salvage, dams, bridges, pumping stations. My clients are all heavy construction companies – anybody who builds bridges, power plants, operates dams, water districts, the Coast Guard, oil clean-up, or governing agencies. The diver wears a video camera on his helmet, so we can listen to him and show our clients exactly what we're doing. We film everything, and along with a detailed report, we might have some still photography in there and then we edit the tapes down and put them on a DVD so the engineers can review it at their leisure on their computer. We have the only decompression chamber between San Francisco and Portland. I've made it available to the Coast Guard and rescue divers free of charge.

Q: What inspired you to go into this line of work?

Markytan: I used to watch Sea Hunt when I was a kid, with Lloyd Bridges.

Q: What training or education did you need?

Markytan: Most schools want you to have scuba diving already under your belt. I went down to the commercial school when I'd just turned 16 and the guy said it's not that he didn't want to take my money, but it would be best if I came back in a few years with a trade like welding. That was probably the best advice I was ever given. It's easier to train a welder how to dive than it is to teach a diver how to weld.

Q: What business decision or action would you change if you could do it again?

Markytan: I would have gone to college and got a degree in something else. On a cold rainy day, an office job sounds pretty appealing. Most diving isn't done in nice weather, it's done because it happened, it happened now and they need you now. When we raised the boats in Crescent City the other year, it was just horrible weather, but there's an emergency oil spill, so you're standing out there in the cold wind and the rain and you've gotta put your wetsuit on.

Q: What advice could you offer to budding entrepreneurs?

Markytan: Just do it. You really just have to make a decision to do it and go out and go. Ask for help from your friends and anybody else in the business community. Establish a line of credit with your financial institution. You want to get that going right from the get-go.

Reach Christine Walters at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

 
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