Dick Rutkowski helped popularize the use of nitrox among sport divers through the International Association of Nitrox Divers (IAND), which he founded and which later become International Association of Nitrox and Technical Divers (IANTD) under president Tom Mount. He also helped standardize and expand hyperbaric chamber training through his Key Largo, Florida-based organization Hyperbarics International, which Rutkowski founded and still operates today.
Rutkowski retired from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 1985 after 33 years of federal service, where he served as deputy diving coordinator and director of NOAA’s diver training. In addition, he was the founder and a director of NOAA’s Diving/Hyperbaric Training and Diver Treatment facility from 1973-1985, which treated hundreds of divers for diving injuries. He also served as co-director of Undersea Hyperbaric & Medical Society (UHMS) physicians diving and hyperbaric medical training program.