“We’ve got to be the only people in the Midwest who can say we own a submarine,” says Schade.
The 1996 graduate and his family are investors in Atlantis Submarines International. The company takes tourists below the ocean’s surface in specially built 48- or 64-seat passenger submarines, giving them a firsthand look at coral reefs, shipwrecks, sunken war planes, or up-close looks at sharks, whales, stingrays, dolphins and all kinds of fish.
Schade’s father, Don, first invested in the company 12 years ago. Atlantis now operates in 11 locations around the world, including Guam, Aruba and the Virgin Islands, among others.
“It’s amazing the kinds of things you see off the coast of Hawaii,” says Schade. “To me, it was a surreal experience to see the ocean floor. You see an extraordinary amount of sea life. It’s awe-inspiring.”
The first time he went 150 feet below sea level, a fish gave him a look like, “What the heck are you doing down here?” The answer, of course, is simply checking out the family investment.