IN­SPIRED BY TRAGEDY

WHEN A TRAU­MATIC BRAIN IN­JURY TOOK A DAUGH­TER’S LIFE, A GRIEV­ING FA­THER CRE­ATED TEAM WENDY

Tactical World - - Contents - STORY BY DOUG JEF­FREY, PHO­TOS COURTESY OF RICHARD KING PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

This in­side look at Team Wendy takes you in­side their com­pany, prod­uct and phi­los­o­phy. By Doug Jef­frey

It’s in­ter­est­ing how some man­u­fac­tur­ers be­come en­grained in the con­sumer’s mind for a cer­tain prod­uct. Take the fast­food in­dus­try. For many peo­ple, the con­nec­tion is prob­a­bly Mc­don­ald’s. In the tac­ti­cal world, Team Wendy may very well be the name that con­sumers link to hel­mets. And for good rea­son. For more than 20 years, the Cleve­land, Ohio-based com­pany has been pro­vid­ing un­par­al­leled pro­tec­tion to a va­ri­ety of cus­tomers. It started with the ski in­dus­try and has tran­si­tioned into mil­i­tary, law en­force­ment and search and res­cue.

To find out more about this com­pany’s his­tory and fu­ture, we spoke to Jose Rizo-pa­tron, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer.

Af­ter you read this, you’ll un­der­stand why many con­sider Team Wendy the go-to com­pany in the tac­ti­cal and ad­ven­ture world.

QUES­TION: Tell us when and how Team Wendy got started.

AN­SWER: Jose Rizo-pa­tron: Team Wendy was founded in 1997 by Dan T. Moore as a memo­rial to his daugh­ter, Wendy, who passed away from a trau­matic brain in­jury (TBI) fol­low­ing a snow ski­ing ac­ci­dent that same year. Ini­tially, our fo­cus was on cre­at­ing the most pro­tec­tive ski hel­met on the mar­ket—and this at a time when only a small per­cent­age of skiers and snow­board­ers wore hel­mets. The mar­ket wasn’t nec­es­sar­ily ready for a hel­met like this, but in the process of de­sign­ing our first ski hel­met, we in­vented our patented Zor­bium foam. We quickly re­al­ized the im­pact that this tech­nol­ogy could have to mit­i­gate TBI in more than just alpine sports. In 2005, the U.S. Army re­leased a ten­der for pad sets to be in­cluded in their hel­mets, and we shifted fo­cus to this new space. Since then, Team Wendy has cre­ated in­no­va­tive, scal­able hel­met sys­tems for elite mil­i­tary, law en­force­ment, and search and res­cue op­er­a­tors that al­low them to scale up or down for the mis­sion re­quire­ment, in­clud­ing our lat­est prod­uct re­lease: the M-216 Ski Search and Res­cue Hel­met, which has brought us back to the space where it all started—and at a time when the mar­ket is fi­nally ready—and we’re bet­ter than ever at what we do.

Q: De­scribe your staff. Does it in­clude re­tired mil­i­tary per­son­nel?

A: Team Wendy em­ploys a di­verse group of tal­ented em­ploy­ees with a broad range of skill sets and ex­pe­ri­ence that drive the com­pany’s re­search and de­vel­op­ment, op­er­a­tions, mar­ket­ing and sales suc­cess. Ca­pa­bil­i­ties range from chem­i­cal, me­chan­i­cal and elec­tri­cal engi­neer­ing, and in­dus­trial de­sign to op­er­a­tions and qual­ity con­trol man­age­ment with decades of ex­pe­ri­ence in ex­ec­u­tive man­age­ment/ lead­er­ship. The staff in­cludes mil­i­tary and other U.S. gov­ern­ment vet­er­ans, as well as sev­eral out­door en­thu­si­asts who are in tune to in­dus­try re­quire­ments and are con­stantly aim­ing to im­prove upon ex­ist­ing sys­tems and ad­dress un­met needs.

Q: You’ve been pro­vid­ing the Army and Marines liner sys­tems for hel­mets for more than 10 years. De­scribe how that

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