In 1986, Lee Ann was spending her weekends boating off of West Palm Beach and the Florida Keys. A friend suggested that she learn to dive; never thinking it would be the start of an adventure quite like the one she would encountered.
Living in North Florida, she signed up for a local scuba course that was taught in the nearby springs. She walked into class on the first day and met her instructor, Lamar Hires, in less than a year her scuba instructor would become her husband.
At the time, Lamar was teaching a great deal of open water classes as well as cave classes. He took the class to West Palm Beach to do check-out dives and she fell in love with the ocean.
Since Lee Ann lived near the freshwater springs, she was soon curious to try cave diving. By this time, Lamar and she were dating. Of course, dating a cave explorer certainly helped fuel her interest. Lamar was quite busy working at Dive Rite, exploring, and teaching, so on the weekends he asked his dive buddies to take Lee Ann diving. Unknown to him, they were taking her cave diving! Lamar was shocked to find out she was diving the Peacock Springs system quite blissfully within a few weeks of receiving her open water certification. Lee Ann began her cave training with Lamar and in January of 1987. They ventured on their first trip to Mexico to complete her certification. Mexico at the time was rugged and remote. They hiked their gear into the systems and certainly did not have the luxury of wooden steps and footpaths that are present today. Lee Ann must have done well, because the day she finished her class Lamar asked her to marry him.
In six short months, her life had completely changed to focus around diving. At the age of twenty-five she was already an independent business owner in a different industry but found herself gravitating toward greater involvement in the dive community. Lee Ann was elected to the board of directors of the NSS Cave Diving Section and spent the next four years as the CDS Secretary Treasurer.
In 1997, Lamar and Lee Ann bought Dive Rite and she sold her company to work at Dive Rite full time. In 2013, their son Jared graduated from the University of Florida and joined them at Dive Rite, making this truly a family business.
Lee Ann’s primary responsibility is International Sales, which has grown to representation in over 95 countries. Lee Ann finds it exciting and rewarding to work with clients all over the world.