Above photo credit by Jim Harris
Bram Clement is not a man of many words, but the words he does speak, people stop to listen. Bram is an incredibly experienced Examiner and in a way, has become a godfather of ratings. He knows all the in’s and out’s of training skydivers to become instructors, he knows the in’s and out’s of all there is to USPA’s and manufacturer instructional methods, and he knows the in’s and out’s of running a successful business.
Bram hails from the Netherlands however moved to the United States over thirty years ago. He shares with a smile that the US is, “a land of opportunities.” Bram discovered skydiving simply by being invited for his first jump by a friend. Bram’s first jump was a static line jump with a round canopy in the Netherlands. “The second I left the airplane,” he said, “I knew that I wanted to continue!”
It wasn’t too long after his first jump that the club he learned at burned down and the dropzone invested in all new, state-of-the-art equipment. State-of-the-art for that time in 1986. “As a result, I was transitioned to a square parachute and jumped from a Cessna 182 with no step!” Bram explained. Shortly after, Bram joined a summer camp there and finished his student program.
When Bram made it to the US, he had began skydiving work in Florida and was eventually offered a full-time job in another state. The opportunity of full-time work was the moment that he knew skydiving was going to be his career. And since, Bram has become an Instructor / Examiner in EVERY discipline of our sport as well as opened a successful business called, Skydive Ratings.
When I asked Bram where he continues to get his drive for teaching, he simply replied, “I enjoy seeing candidates learning in a relaxed, non-threatening environment, and seeing them be successful at it.” Having known Bram for some time and having the privilege of visiting his school, I was able to see first hand his professionalism as well as sense of humor to offer just that – a relaxed atmosphere where students thrive.
Although Bram has an incredible resume, he has traveled to many different dropzones, taught hundreds – if not thousands of students – Bram’s biggest accomplishment is simply staying alive and being injury-free his entire skydiving career. Bram said, “I see my job as risk management.” And he does all that he can to mitigate risks which is probably why he’s such a skilled Examiner.
Most skydivers have passions outside of skydiving. For Bram, he enjoys the ocean. When not on the dropzone, Bram enjoys scuba diving and sailing.
For a man who’s accomplished so much, Bram is working towards greater things in our sport. He shared with me, “I am creating a high-level education system for instructional ratings.” I’m looking forward to that because improvements in training new instructors can only help make our sport safer.