Employees at EMS Technologies were stunned to learn that Penny Glover, 42, one of the company’s top officials in Europe, apparently died in a very mysterious diving accident in which Glover, an expert diver, and her companion, disappeared during a Nov. 21 dive with four other divers.
Glover, a managing director for the Satellite Networks division of EMS Technologies of Norcross, G a., is presumed dead after she and her diving buddy, Jacques Filippi of France, failed to resurface after a routine diving expedition off the coast of France.
“If you get to know Penny for five minutes, you know she’s an experienced diver, a world-class diver,” said Don Osmond, senior vice president and general manager for EMS’s Satellite Networks division, who was Glover’s boss. “She’s a very methodical, very precise person when it comes to technical matters and she treated diving in the same way. And for her to pass away on what I perceive to be sort of a routine outing with friends just seems so bizarre and strange.”
Glover and Filippi were on a vacation diving trip with four others near the island of Porquerolles in an area known for its sea walls. Glover and Filippi released buoys to indicate they were coming up from below but never resurfaced. The other four divers returned unharmed.
Osmond, who has known Glover since 1999, found the events surrounding her apparent death hard to grasp. “She’d tell me diving stories about how she’d be one of seven people in the world to attempt a particular d ive. So if she’d planned some sort of high-risk dive, I could sort of understand it, but the circumstances seem just so bizarre.”
The French government has been searching since the accident for the bodies. Divers were only able to search to a depth of 60 meters, but officials have been using remote-controlled vehicles and cameras to attempt to recover the victims, Osmond said.
According to published reports, Glover’s family, from the Beccles and Halesworth areas of England, will hold a memorial service in France, where Glover lived for the past two years, and will hold a private service if her body is found, returning her ashes to the sea.
Glover was a former chief instructor for the British Scuba Aqua Club, and was known as one of Britain’s top rebreather experts. She had been diving since 1986.
Osmond said people held out hope for Glover and Filippi’s eventual recovery because the rebreather equipment they wore could have allowed them to survive for an extended period of time, possibly even for days.
She headed a sales and marketing component in Europe for EMS’s Satellite Network division, which Osmond said was expected to grow as business in Europe took off for the company.
Before coming to EMS in 2004, she worked at SES Astra and Satlynx, where Osmond said she was a pioneer in the area of Digital Video Broadcast, Return Channel via Satellite development. She worked in a technical capacity for the European Space Agency before that.
Work and diving were her two passions, Osmond said.
“She had an immense technical understanding as well as a marketing bent, which made her a very unique individual,” Osmond said.
EMS is collecting cards and e-mails from employees and customer suppliers who knew her and putting together a memory book to mark Glover’s passing, Osmond said.
“She was really well known in the industry, and well liked, and we’ve been receiving an outpouring of sympathy from everyone,” he said.
Glover is survived by her parents, who are in their 70s and live in England, and two sisters.