CEO of DAN Southern Africa, Midrand, South Africa, Director of Diving & Hyperbaric Safety at DAN America, Durham, NC.
Francois Burman was born in Cape Town, South Africa and graduated in 1983 with a BSc Mechanical Engineering, awarded with honors, from the University of Cape Town. Two years of conscripted service in the South African Navy followed, where he served as a naval officer and gained experience in naval engineering and ship design.
He registered in 1987 as a Professional Engineer and was accepted as a member of the Institutes of Mechanical Engineers and Welding. He holds tertiary qualifications in welding engineering, pressure vessel design, engineering materials, project management, business management and, in case all else fails, astronomy. He is also a qualified ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems auditor.
His initial career was with the Atomic Energy Corporation of South Africa, where he started as a junior engineer and progressed rapidly to senior management. His expertise in pressure vessel fabrication, welding engineering, and non-destructive testing technology developed steadily through further study and practical experience.
A career change in 1994 took him into the realms of hyperbaric technology, when he joined a Cape Town based company that specialized in life-support and underwater engineering.
In 1995 he and Dr Frans Cronje established the first private hyperbaric oxygen therapy company in South Africa. Although being a non-physician, his expertise and credibility in the field of hyperbaric medical technology led to his being co-opted onto the Executive Committee of the Southern African Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Association (SAUHMA). He was made an honorary life member in 2016.
In 1997 he joined Divers Alert Network Southern Africa (DAN-SA) as Operations Director and is now the Executive Director & CEO, responsible for all aspects of DAN and its programs. He serves on the board of International DAN and is the technical consultant for various international recompression chamber assistance programs.
In 2000 he combined his various professional portfolios and interests by creating a core holding company – Hydra – with diverse business interests in engineering technology. Together with several business partners, he serves in a strategic planning and management capacity at the helm of 9 active companies. These encompass nuclear systems management; high specification gas control equipment; business consulting; diving safety and clinical hyperbaric systems.
In 2014 he completed an MSc in Medical Sciences (Baromedical Sciences), awarded summa cum laude, at the University of Stellenbosch. His thesis entitled “A retrospective review of the most common safety concerns encountered at a range of international recompression facilities when applying the Risk Assessment Guide for Recompression Chambers over a period of 13 years” culminated in a predictive model able ascertain the safety status of an unseen hyperbaric recompression treatment facility.
In 2016, in addition to remaining the CEO of DAN Southern Africa, he accepted the full-time post as Director: Diving & Hyperbaric Safety at DAN America in Durham, NC.
Francois has authored two published reference books on hyperbaric chamber safety assessment, has published several technical papers and chapters, contributes technical and safety articles to the UHMS Pressure magazine, and regularly presents lectures on hyperbaric facility safety and chamber related matters.