Our Founder & History
Aqua Air Industries was incorporated in 1972 by company founder, Rodney A. "Rod" Cruze (1942-2005). His dream was to provide innovative equipment to the diving industry.
Click to see our current
commercial diving equipment
Rod was nominated into the prestigious ADCI's Commercial Diving Hall of Fame in 2006 due to his extensive knowledge, wide-ranging diving experience, and his development of superior diving equipment that he provided to the commercial diving industry, as well as his ongoing participation and support of the ADC(I), its Chapters, and Underwater Magazine since their inception.
Rod's interest in diving began at a young age. Born in Morton, Illinois and by the age of 16, Rod had built his first high pressure compressor. Rod went on to attend Bradley University and the University of Miami majoring in Marine Biology.
Rod was then employed by McWhorter Engineering in Birmingham, AL where he greatly increased his knowledge of air compressors and systems. In Rod's nine years as a commercial diver, he did freelance commercial diving, worked for World Wide Divers in Morgan City (now known as Oceaneering International). Rod also spent two years in Trinidad working as a sat diver thru Sanford Marine Services for Amoco Trinidad diving the Reading and Bates Mark IV - C "Mini Bell" system. Rod worked for Westinghouse Inc. and was a saturation diver for Fluor Ocean Services in the "Cachalot-450" system.
Throughout his commercial diving career, Rod enthusiastically completed all work assigned to him plus more while inspiring his fellow divers to do the same. Working as a commercial diver for nine years exposed Rod to the many deficiencies in diving equipment and lack of safety practices that were in use at the time.
His uncanny mechanical ability, innovation, determination, and God-given talent drove him to open his own commercial diving supply business that he named Aqua-Air Industries, Inc. in 1972.
With the supply business established with the help of his wife, Dianne, Rod started Sta-Sea Offshore Rentals in 1976, named for their son Stacy Ayres Cruze, to further serve his customers needs. He excelled at providing top of the line major brands of commercial diving equipment as well as developing his own AAI line of more than 70 superior products. One of those products was the first 1250 air filtration system that was standardized by the U.S. Army. Rod's design for a cushion mounted inner base for 5120 compressor packages compensated for excessive vibrations caused by compressors and motors and this lead to an extended life of the equipment. Rod also installed one of the first "intake breathing systems" on his low pressure compressors which were designed to improve air quality for the diver, and then he added an expansion tank manifold to remove the moisture and heat.
Rod was constantly thinking of ways to improve the quality and safety of his equipment and serve not only the large offshore dive firms and the small inshore companies, but the individual commercial diver as well. In fact, Rod assisted countless new diving companies in getting started with the necessary equipment while advising them with his wealth of knowledge of the industry.
With so many hurricanes hitting the Gulf of Mexico since the year 2000, Rod foresaw the future demand for saturation tankage and complete saturation systems for the commercial diving industry. Immediately, he got busy making plans for the fabrication process to begin. Soon, Aqua-Air got bombarded with saturation tankage quote requests. Rod's incredible ability to predict the future of the industry was beyond comprehension. He knew the needs of the diving community before they did and he met their needs with new and improved equipment at every turn.
In addition to Rod's outstanding service to the commercial diving industry, he provided his community with leadership as a Scout Master in the Boy Scouts of America for many years in which he also held several regional positions.
Rod Cruze will be remembered by all as an aggressive and concerned contributor to the commercial diving industry through his constant efforts to build quality products and systems for commercial diving designed to promote the highest degree of safety. In all of these activities he gave freely of his time and energy to offer a meaningful contribution to society.