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On My Desk: Dive shop owner adopts go-with-the-flow office

Duane Kashmark has operated Mick’s Scuba in Moorhead since 2003. Kashmark said scuba diving allows one to escape, if only for a while, to a world without worries, cell phones or workaday problems. Dave Olson / The Forum

Moorhead - Duane Kashmark earned degrees from Concordia College in economics and secondary education.

But his plan to be a high school economics teacher was torpedoed when scuba lessons convinced him a life aquatic was the appropriate career course.

Kashmark went to work at Mick’s Scuba in Moorhead in 1991, the same year he earned his first degree at Concordia.

In 2003, he purchased Mick’s Scuba from founder Mike Knorr.

“I started working here part time and never left, I guess,” said Kashmark, who explained why he finds scuba diving appealing.

“I love the fact that when you drop down underneath the water, everything else goes away,” he said.

“You’re not worried about balancing a checkbook, or thinking about what needs to be done at home,” he added. “I tell students, ‘I love that nobody can get ahold of me on my cell phone.’ ’’

Mick’s Scuba is located at 420 21st S. S., in Moorhead.

Kashmark’s office is at the rear of the business, way back, past all of the scuba gear and wet suits the business sells.

While the space is home to some diving-related items, it is largely a loosely organized compilation of papers, business supplies and miscellanea.

On the back wall you will find:

1. A framed quote by Teddy Roosevelt extolling the virtues of risk taking. The wall art was a gift from Knorr on the occasion of Knorr selling the business to Kashmark.

The quote ends with the line: “His place (referring to the risk taker) shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

2. Handmade artwork. “One of the boys did that when they were I don’t know how old,” Kashmark said, referring to his sons, ages 11 and 15, both of whom are certified divers.

3. A photo of Kashmark and his wife, Maret, a counselor at Robert Asp School in Moorhead. Like the rest of her family, Maret Kashmark is a certified diver.

The photo was taken in the cockpit of an airplane shortly after the couple became engaged.

“Basically, I got the captain to ask her to marry me over the public address, so when we landed they invited us up to the cockpit,” Kashmark said.

4. Framed diving certification records.

“My wife did that for me years ago,” Kashmark said.

While some find diving intimidating, Kashmark said with proper training exploring beneath the waves can be a relaxing and fascinating pastime.

Even with sharks in the picture.

During a diving trip to the Galapagos Islands, Kashmark encountered hammerhead sharks 12 feet long, a situation he said required great care, though not because the sharks were threatening.

He had to time his breaths just so; otherwise, the bubbles scared the sharks.

Dave Olson
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