This Navy Yard company is making NFL-level gear for blue-collar workers

After his father died, Sean Petterson built a company making life easier for blue-collar workers like him.

StrongArm's V22 Ergoskeleton. (Courtesy photo)
It’s painfully clear why a running back needs to have the highest grade protective gear when he’s chugging between the offensive line and running down the field. But athletes aren’t the only people who use their bodies at work.

Sean Petterson and Justin Hillery met at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Both their fathers had been blue-collar workers, and they had the idea to make equipment that would make the daily lifting and bending and carrying not so taxing on workers’ bodies.

“Sean’s father passed away while he was in high school from injuries on the job. So they started creating equipment,” StrongArm Technologies’ Emily Slawek explained.  

What they’ve come up with (Hillery is no longer with the company) is StrongArm Technologies, which moved into the Navy Yard last year, and will be a part of New Lab when it opens later this year. StrongArm makes wearable devices that strap onto the worker’s body and distribute weight easier.

“We’re making equipment for blue-collar workers,” Petterson said in a 2014 video about his father. “I don’t know if it would’ve saved his life, but it definitely would’ve helped. … Every single day I know that I’m working toward something that makes me happy … something that every single day makes me just a little bit closer to my dad.”

The company signed a distribution deal with engineering giant 3M, which also took an equity stake. Next month StrongArm will begin selling through 3M’s distribution channels. This summer StrongArm will begin selling directly to the public.

Companies: Brooklyn Navy Yard
Series: Brooklyn

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