OceanGate CEO Admits Preference for “Inspiration” Over Experience in Hiring Mariners


Stockton Rush told Teledyne Marine in an interview that was both extraordinary and sadly predictable, that his employees were not “50-year-old white guys,” who might have military or marine experience. He chose younger, more “inspiring” employees, because “anyone can drive a sub.”

“When I first started my business, you will find that there are many sub-operators, but you will see, uh… gentlemen who were ex-military sailors, and you — you’ll notice a bunch of 50-year-old white guys. I wanted my team to be young, and inspiring, and I can’t inspire a 16-year-old to pursue marine technology. But a 25-year-old who is a platform operator, sub-pilot, or one of our technicians, could be. We’ve tried to recruit young, intelligent and motivated people because we are doing something completely new… We can train anyone to drive a sub.

Oh my! Where to start?

The submersible has not been found, and, as Streiff noted today, some of the trapped explorers, including Rush, 61, may still be alive. The New York Post’s article:

Rush’s Everett-based company, which has its headquarters in Washington, made two trips previously to the wreckage of 1912 of the “unsinkable ship” that is located 12,500 feet below the surface of the Atlantic, 370 miles from the coast of Canada.

The CEO and founder of the company, who is using a joystick from Amazon to navigate the Titan submersible that has gone missing, have been trapped in the small vessel with four adventurers who each paid $250,000 for the tour since Sunday.

Rush, as horrifying and saddening as this is, is tragically just a product of his times. Western culture is embracing this insane notion that skin color and age are useful indicators of quality or experience. It is as racist and ageist sounding as it may be, but it happens everywhere, fueled in part by the drive for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in corporate boardrooms and academia.

DeAnna Burt, deputy chief of Space Force operations for cyber, operations, and nuclear, recently revealed that she uses other factors than skills, qualifications, and experience to determine whether someone is suitable for employment. When discussing what Burt perceives as anti-LGBT efforts in the US, alluded to wanting what could only be described as “safe spaces” for hiring decisions.

When I consider potential candidates, for example, for the squadron commander position, I try to match the person with the right job. Burt continued, “I consider their work performance and relevant experiences first.” Burt continued, “I also consider their family and personal circumstances.”

She continued, “If I feel that a candidate is not able to perform at their best potential in a particular location and feels unsafe being themselves, then I will consider another candidate who may be less qualified.”

The general stated that she was asked to speak at the event on June 7, “because it is important to create opportunities for conversation where we can find these individuals, as well as overall well-being and readiness of our force.”

Rush’s decision to immediately hire experienced mariners as pilots for his subs may go down in history as a mistake. But he is not the only one who made this misguided choice.

We can hope for a happy end to the OceanGate tale, but we can also pray that this tragedy (or almost-tragic event) will inspire people back to sanity.