Andy Watson, founder, Aberdeen Diving Services, talks to Business Matters about how his passion for diving has led his company to become a finalist in the 2023 Business Champion Awards
What do you currently do?
As the founder of Aberdeen Diving Services, I am responsible for equipment servicing and Padi Specialist instructor within the business. ADS is still very much a growing business and we are always growing our team and I will hopefully be able to share some of my responsibilities to the fantastic team we have.
I am a Padi diver through and through and have been over the moon to be able to bring a Padi diver centre back to the NE Scotland. I have a strong passion and belief that diving can be for anyone from any walk of life. Through dedication, passion and my absolute love of diving have made this become a reality.
I have had a varied working background from events management to off shore survival training, with all the varied skills I have managed to collate over my working life have now been able to push ADS to what it has become today and will be the driving factor for where it will go in the future.
What was the inspiration behind your business?
Aberdeen Diving Services was officially born as a ltd company on 7th October 2020. After being a Padi diver for nearly a decade and Safety diving in oil and gas as well as diving equipment servicing.
I wanted to get back into my passion of diving and teaching diving since there hadn’t been a Padi dive centre in the NE for several years.
After gaining extensive press and award coverage we ADS had gone from a small relatively unknown company to the go to company for anything diving! This has included being the first to call for all diving enquires from not only recreational diver but also large scale diving companies for oil and gas both on and off shore.
We have recently been able to say we can teach anyone to dive we have had divers with both physical and learning difficulties who we have been able to assist with adaptive techniques on the required skills to being there to assist with reading and scribing for exams.
Keeping training fun is our aim and what we do best. No one wants to have to do exams outside work of education but we make this fun and have had rave reviews from all of our students who always come back to us for there continued education in diving.
Who do you admire?
I look up to business owners who keep work fun and build a family rather than a team of staff. Im a huge believer of if you do what you love you will never work a day in your life!
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
Since starting ADS I do look back at what I have done and if I would change anything. I believe there is no such thing as a mistake but just another way you have found that is didnt work. Im very grateful for all of our customers and clients who have used a small business rather than a large scale company.
ADS has been completely self funded and feel this has kept the business even closer to my heart, I am extremely grateful in what ADS has become and cant wait to see where it will go next!
What defines your way of doing business?
I think that I treat all team as an extension of my family and they know they can speak there opinions without the thought they will be lost. All of our customers are treated how I would treat anyone im open and honest with them all and wouldn’t say ADS can do something if they cant. When a customer comes to me for advise they know they get the same advice I would give any of my team if they asked the same questions.
Im quite open to the fact I don’t know everything and if I don’t know the answer I will come back to them with the answer and reach out to my network.
Every day is a School day!
What advice would you give to someone starting out?
Do it! It’s a scary process and you never know the future but just keep on pushing and you will get there! If you want something enough you will achieve it. You will have many day you feel down but its how quickly you brush it off and get back up that makes the difference