Founder & President
Jim Elliott was once a volunteer guide for blind downhill skiers. After years of being inspired by the impact that skiing had on individuals with disabilities, Jim—also a passionate scuba diver—decided that scuba diving would be the perfect candidate to replicate this tremendous, positive experience.
In 1996, Jim left his career in the media industry—working with Chicago Tribune, WGN Radio and CLTV News—to become a full-time volunteer and teach individuals with disabilities how to scuba dive. Five years later, in 2001, he founded Diveheart, a volunteer-driven organization focused on building confidence and independence in disabled children, adults and veterans through scuba diving.
Jim, who has been diving since 1976, is also a scuba instructor with PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) and an H.S.A. (Handicapped Scuba Association) & SDI Instructor Trainer.
Jim’s efforts have been widely recognized by the Illinois Skin and Scuba Council—receiving the “Humanitarian of the Year” award in 2005—and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago—receiving the “Community Award” in all of 2005 through 2007.
Email us at: Board@Diveheart.org
Ron has worked with individuals with disabilities for the past 15 years, 12 of which have been at the Illinois Center for Rehabilitation and Education-Roosevelt in Chicago. For most of his career, Ron has been a recreation therapist, educating and introducing young adults with severe physical disabilities to adaptive leisure activities, including scuba diving.
Ron has been a volunteer with Diveheart for more than nine years and has been a member of the Diveheart board since 2009. He has worked on various committees, including the volunteer and marketing committees, and currently he chairs the Diveheart golf outing. Ron lives in the suburbs of Chicago and has two children.
Bill Bogdan serves as the disability liaison to Illinois Secretary of State, Jesse White, and is responsible for the coordination, development, and implementation of programs and services for persons with disabilities for the office. He also works on legislative issues impacting persons with disabilities, and addresses accessibility issues in driver service facilities and buildings operated by the office.
Bill was appointed Chairman of the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities (ICDD) by Governor Pat Quinn in 2010. ICDD works on a wide range of programs to help improve the opportunities for people with developmental disabilities in our state including education, employment, transportation, community living, and health care. In addition, Bill serves on the Illinois Elevator Safety Advisory Board, and is immediate past president of the Spinal Cord Injury Association of Illinois. He is president of Diveheart’s Hall of Fame for Divers with Disabilities.
Bill was named the DePaul University School for New Learning 2001 recipient of the Arthur Weinberg Social Activist Award for a video he produced entitled Exercising Your Rights Through Advocacy. He was also the recipient of an Award for Excellence.
Sean C. Barker is an entrepreneur and President of OMADAS LLC., leading a business and information technology-consulting firm with fortune 500 clients in the wholesale / retail, energy, call center services, application development, mobile technology, healthcare, engineering, ecommerce, food service, and entertainment industries.
Prior to starting OMADAS he was the Vice President of Global Operations for Ingram Micro the world’s largest broad line distributor with over 35 Billion in revenue, Director of Information Technology for WellPoint Health ( now Athem) with 45 Billion in revenue and President of S2 Networking consulting firm.
In addition to his substantial information technology experience Sean also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and an MBA
Steve Woodham has spent his life in the service of others. He spent 22 years in the United States Marine Corps, and recently retired from the Naperville Police Department after 24 years. He is a Wood Badge certified Boy Scout Leader, and has used his extensive and diverse experience as a leader, mentor, trainer, and coach to assist not only his three sons, but many others in setting and achieving their goals.
Steve began participating in SCUBA in 2017 after being injured and needing a low-impact activity to assist with his recovery. He has participated in many of the Diveheart Military Wounded and DSE events as a result of his involvement with the Aurora Vet Center. He has earned his SCUBA certification and plans on continuing on to become trained not only as an Adaptive Dive Buddy, but also ultimately, an Instructor.
Steve hopes to bring his skill set to Diveheart and the Diveheart Military Wounded programs to help them expand and thrive, and continue to provide this valuable resource to the Veteran community.