July 2008 Issue
When Wendy Moore died 11 years ago as a result of injuries sustained while skiing without wearing a helmet, her grieving parents decided they wanted to honor her memory and help prevent others from the same fate.
Dan and Marge Moore founded the Team Wendy corporation to promote the idea of wearing a helmet while engaged in intense recreational activity, and raise product-safety standards for those already on the market. The Cleveland couple also made it their mission to create new headgear that would perform better than anything in existence –– a goal that has led to supplying equipment to soldiers stationed in Iraq.
Six years ago, the Moores, along with a team of chemists, physicists, engineers and academicians, developed a visco-elastic form of foam designed to protect against repeated impact.
“There are essentially two types of accidents,” explains company CEO John Sweeny. “One is a catastrophic, single impact –– the cyclist, for example, who crashes into a bridge abutment.
“The other type, which contributed to Wendy’s death, involves a series of impacts caused by falling and tumbling.”
Much like mattresses designed to bounce back after pressure is applied, Team Wendy’s Zorbium Action Pad helmet liners are made of foam soft enough to resume its original shape upon impact but rigorous enough to withstand the uses it would be subjected to.
Sweeny, a career Army officer who served on the National Security staff of the vice president before retiring in 2004, realized the foam could have a much broader use. Since he took the Team Wendy helm three years ago, the company has supplied more than a million and a half liners to military personnel.
Sweeny, who was stationed at the Pentagon on 9/11, is proud of the fact that Team Wendy has turned tragedy into an opportunity to save lives.
“I have dozens and dozens of close friends I’ve known for almost 25 years now who are still serving and have been in and out of danger more often than I care to count,” he says. “It is gratifying to know that when they do have to go into harm’s way, they’ve got the absolute best protection –– at least from the helmet standpoint –– that we can possibly provide to them.”