Editor’s note: This month’s Business Beacon is a spotlight on The Divers Down Pollution Project, a group of locals who work to remove pollution from our land and waterways. We chatted with Jamie Larrison about their efforts. Do you have a business you think we should feature? Leave a comment below!
1. How did you get the idea or concept for your business?
Jamie: We noticed an increase in the amount of trash in Destin — above and below the water — and we felt a responsibility to pick up as much as we could in hopes of creating awareness and protecting our land and waterways.
2. Let’s discuss numbers: What year did you open? How many locations do you have? How many people do you employ?
Jamie: The Diver’s Down Pollution Project (DDPP) is a fast-growing group of locals concerned with the increasing amounts of pollution. Starting in Destin in July 2020, the members of DDPP have risen from three to more than 250 active members. DDPP has now picked up more than 5,000 pounds of trash from our local beaches and waterways here in northwest Florida.
3. What do you sell or what service do you provide? What’s your best seller?
Jamie: We do not sell anything. DDPP services NW Florida by removing the various types of pollution from our land and waterways.
4. What’s unique about what you do or offer?
Jamie: We’re a gang.
5. How would you describe your business to a potential customer?
Jamie: This area is home to some of the most unique and dynamic ecosystems in the world. People come to this area for the beaches, dune lakes, fishing and breathtaking scenery, which are all based on natural resources. We feel that it is our responsibility to protect those natural resources. The best way for us to do that is to keep these areas clean while inspiring others to do the same. #SCIENCE
6. What do you love most about your line of work?
Jamie: We get to make positive change while doing what we love — scuba diving.
7. What sorts of trends are you seeing in your industry?
Jamie: We are seeing there’s a misconception that you need to create a large event in order to make a positive impact. We try to inspire the trend of DIY (Do-It-Yourself) cleanups of any size.
8. Tell me in just a sentence or two what you feel sets you apart from your competitors.
Jamie: We’re a gang.
9. Who or what inspires you? This could be a family member or celebrity, a particular quote or even a book/movie/podcast. This sky’s the limit!
Jamie: Ponce De Leon, since 1513.
10. What’s the best thing about being a part of the Emerald Coast, personally and/or professionally?
Jamie: The waterways and our access to the gulf.
11. Are you/your business involved in the community in any way? Volunteering or giving back? If so, how?
Jamie: We’ve been known to dabble …
12. What does a typical day in your business look like? (Pretend it’s Monday (or Friday!) and take me through the highlights of your day.)
Jamie: We research a potential site. We organize an event and whether it’s dive or land-based. We remove as much pollution as possible, then share results via social media to increase awareness and grow the movement.
13. What’s your best “insider tip?” (This could be a community tip for vacationers or homeowners or even a tip for customers related to your business.)
Jamie: The over-abundance of trash in our waterways is a large-scale issue, but results and improvements are made on a small scale. Real improvement can be made by everyday people. With that, our tip is: If you see trash, pick it up — whether it’s yours or not.
14. How do you recharge or relax when the day is done?
Jamie: We BYOB and enjoy sunset at our favorite beach.
15. Just the deets please! Where are you located? Business hours? Social media profiles and/or website links we need to know about? (Please feel free to add social media handles or direct links!)
Jamie: We are located in Destin, Florida. Anytime is a good time to pick up trash if you’re seeing it. Private group on Facebook at The Divers Down Pollution Project. To join the group, you must simply request to join. Upon approval, you pledge to pick up trash and post a picture of you with it on our group page. By joining the group, you are simply pledging to do your part in protecting our environment. Other resources are included in our Facebook group.
16. One final question: If there was just one thing you wish the public knew about your business, what would it be?
Jamie: WE’RE A GANG!