By 1991 the business changed its name to Specialty Diving and continued to grow through its innovative methods, particularly in the area of vessel hull inspections and wet welding for in situ repairs. In 1997 Specialty Diving of Louisiana entered the offshore business and now with its sister company, Specialty Offshore, was fully engaged in servicing the gas and oil industry. In 2000, Offshore extended its marine services and purchased its first vessel.
In 2009, the company acquired three other vessels, including its 180’ four-point diving support vessel, Specialty Diver 1, which appears to have been a prudent move. The following year, when the disastrous Gulf oil spill occurred, Specialty Offshore was contacted by British Petroleum and after reaching an agreement, released two of its vessels to the oil firm for exploratory use. Essentially, these ships, with teams of scientists onboard, would be engaged in the research of Gulf marine life and the long-term effects of the spill on the ocean’s ecosystem. To date, one vessel has been returned to Offshore while the second vessel is still under contract until August, 2011.
During the Oil Spill Recovery Program, USES also contacted Offshore, who through a third party was able to secure 9 barges and 3 tugboats for cleanup purposes.
A significant and vital aspect of the company culture
Growing up in Fargo, North Dakota, Deborah Wallace enrolled in scuba diving classes and eventually pursued a career as a diving instructor. In 1984 when she moved to Louisiana, Ms. Wallace took advantage of an opportunity to expand her career to commercial diving. Thus, with the aide of one commercial diver and the assistance of another outside salesperson, she formed Diving Services International. Recognizing the need for quality dive services, her group would provide underwater inspection and repair for industrial, chemical, government entities and private companies. Initially, the concentration of work was inland rather than offshore but with a strong performance record for problem solving and a willingness to work “out of the box”, business increased steadily.