AireTronics, Inc., Irvine, Calif., recently signed a deal to provide inflatable torso protection vests to the U.S. Marine Corps. In doing so, company President J. Todd Brumley got an education of what it’s like to work with the federal government.
Brumley, in an interview with Powersports Business, said he received verbal commitment of the deal in July. But it took until March 13 for the official contract to be mailed to AireTronics’ Irvine office.
The contract calls for an initial order of 160 AireTronics High Visibility inflatable vests to be worn by Marines during training courses. The training courses are held worldwide.
Brumley attended a demonstration of his product at Marine Corps headquarters in Washington, D.C., in July. After the event, he was told the Marines would fill an order. Brumley, of course, brought the good news back to the West Coast with him.
But, “weeks later, I don’t have an order,” he said. “My shareholders thought I was nuts.”
Brumley said the company will spend the next three weeks filling the initial order of vests. He said he’s already been told by a regional Marine Corps official to expect more orders. Brumley also is hoping to have the inflatable vests available for sale on marine bases.
The vests’ inflatable system will not be any different than what AireTronics sells to the public.
If a rider unexpectedly falls off a bike, lanyards attached to the motorcycle trigger two CO2 cartridges that immediately inflate a polyurethane bladder system. The AireTronics vest then inflates, providing a cushion surrounding the rider’s torso.
The outer garment of the vests, however, will reflect the Marine Corps’ requirement of being reflective and having highly visible colors.
AireTronics’ work with the military could be increasing in the future.
Brumley said the company consciously went after the Marine Corps first, knowing that other military branches often follow in their footsteps.
“Now we have to reinvigorate our efforts” to sell the inflatable vests to other branches of the military, he said.
Copyright 2006 Powersports Business