Meet the Team

Steven Backerman

Co-founder and Co-owner

Steven Backerman is one of the co-founders and co-owners of Paragon Dive Group. Steve founded Scuba Club Tucson nearly a decade ago as an independent instructor in Southern Arizona. Steve and Ben met on several dive trips to San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico (home to our favorite “local” dive-sites) and eventually merged Paragon Dive Adventures and Scuba Club Tucson. Everyone liked the Paragon name so much Paragon Dive Group was founded as the parent company to Paragon Dive Adventures (catering to technical dive training, gear and trips) and Paragon Scuba Academy (catering to recreational dive training, gear and trips) and Scuba Club Tucson (a club designed to introduce dive-curious folks to the wonders of scuba diving AND provide social interaction amongst divers in the Southern Arizona dive community).

When I first certified as a diver 20 years ago, I never imagined becoming an instructor. Around 10 years ago, I decided to ‘up my game’ and pursue professional certifications in order to become more competent as a diver. Turned out, I enjoyed teaching diving as much as I had enjoyed teaching business and economics at various universities, including the University of Arizona, back in the 1990s and early 2000s. I feel fortunate to have met Ben Erika. Our combined forces have led to Paragon Dive Group being the fastest growing online seller of scuba gear in the United States and the fastest growing SCUBA shop in Arizona.”

Steve is a TDI/SDI Open Water Scuba Instructor, NAUI Open Water Scuba Instructor and a PADI Master Scuba Dive Trainer, while also certified as an Advanced Nitrox/Decompression Procedures/Heliotrox Diver, currently training to become certified as a Closed-Circuit Rebreather Diver.

Ben Lair

James Riley

Rick Rose

Natalie Riley

Francesco Cameli

Erika Lair

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