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The Lost Arrow Project by Patagonia – Military Alpine Recce System : Production Partnership with Peckham Vocational Industries

Friday, May 18th, 2018

Yesterday, I introduced readers to the Military Alpine Recce System design. Now, I’ll focus on manufacturing this innovative system. This is no small feat. The design relies on world-class materials and manufacturing.

Finding The Right Production Partner

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Like most clothing companies in the 21st century, Patagonia relies on a global supply and manufacturing chain to produce their wares. To support the US military, Patagonia been directed by DOD to work with with several domestic manufacturers over the course of their involvement in USSOCOM’s clothing programs. Some relationships have been better than others. In the case of Peckham Vocational Industries, Patagonia was able to make their own decision, and has found a true partner. Patagonia takes quality and social responsibility seriously and in Peckham, those values align.

What Peckham Is All About

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Founded in 1976, Peckham Vocational Industries is named after former State of Michigan Rehabilitation Services Director, Ralf A. Peckham. Some SSD readers will recognize the name from the labels in your government issue clothing. In industry, it’s well known as a non-profit clothing manufacturer which supports US military contracts.

Although Peckham boasts five business units, there are 650 clients/team members in their manufacturing line, spread across sewing, spread, cut and bundle operations. But there’s more going on than just making clothing. Peckham doesn’t look at its workforce as employees. Instead, they are clients or team members. Their mission is to help those with barriers to employment succeed as individuals and as contributors to the larger community. The clothing manufacturing facility contributes to this mission by providing paid job training opportunities to people with disabilities.

There is an additional 80 member administrative staff which includes human services specialists (made up of vocational counselors, rehab services, intake specialists, and others).

The Facility

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The modern and spacious Lansing facility is situated right next to the airport. It boasts 115,000 sq ft of manufacturing space and another 100,000 sq ft of warehouse space.

There is an additional 35,000 sq ft at a nearby facility where 50 team members work.

Everything is clean and well maintained. Although well organized, the design integrates curves over straight lines whenever possible, to be more soothing to team members with special needs. An entire corner of the production floor features windows to let in natural light. Next to this, a major portion of the wall showcases artwork.

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Due to the restrictions of some of its team members, Peckham has also invested in automation when possible, or developed innovative tooling to assist those with physical limitations.

A Holistic Approach to Employment

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While most companies want their employees to focus on their current job, Peckham takes pride in preparing team members to move on to other jobs, even if that means with other companies. To help make this a reality, vocational counselors work with team members, coordinating training.

Team members are allocated training hours during the week. In addition to vocational training, these can be used for life skills seminars, where they learn how to file taxes, avoid predatory lending and interview for jobs. There is an studio on site where team members can participate in art therapy. Their artwork is featured in annual show with team members splitting the proceeds of their work with the Peckham Community Partnership Foundation which provides grants to enhance services for team members.

Vice President Of Manufacturing, Ed Terris explained, “Peckham Vocational Industries stands for the principal that every human being has great worth, can contribute to society, and should be given the opportunity to do so.  The people that our mission serves, the ones who make up our workforce, deliver amazing results in support of our war fighters every single day.  They are among the most dedicated and hardworking individuals I have ever worked with.”

Terris should know. No matter where we were, all throughout the day, I heard team member after team member call out, “Hi Ed!” He answered each and every one, by name. More than any other thing I saw at Peckham that struck me at how dedicated that organization is to its goal.

Patagonia Gives Back

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Patagonia has recreated their advanced R&D center “the Forge” at Peckham. It includes lamination, sonic line bonding, laser cutting, and soon 3D clothing design to rapidly conceptualize and replicate to production scale. Additionally, Subject Matter Experts travel to Peckham regularly to provide mentoring to those in the production floor. They also learn from Peckham, a company which prides itself on innovative solutions to allow physically challenged team members to participate in the manufacturing process.

What Peckham brings is their openness to new ideas, as well as automation knowledge that supports their mission and workforce. Together this creates a perfect partnership of shared values and creative problem solving.

George Alonso, Vice President of Marketing & Business Development, spoke to me about the relationship, “Peckham is very proud of our partnership with Patagonia.  Our mission has benefited tremendously from the effort they have put into the relationship.  They have continually challenged us to grow our innovation capabilities and manufacturing techniques.”

Training Team Peckham

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Peckham’s team has jumped in with both feet. During my visit, Patagonia’s Cyndi Davis and Casey Shaw were on hand to provide instruction to lead sewers on various construction techniques, including sonic line bonding. The Peckham team worked right along side, discussing ways to improve their process.

Peckham’s George Alonso expanded upon what I had seen, relating, “They have always approached this partnership with a spirit of cooperation and genuine support for the community that Peckham’s mission serves.  It isn’t every day that you find a company or partner with that kind of ethos, matched by the fortitude to see it through.  I think it has paid off with the creation of a revolutionary new system that delivers truly elite levels of performance for our soldiers.”

Teach a Man to Fish

When I look at what is happening here, I think about the old proverb, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

This partnership is going to pay off in bigger ways than just MARS. The same processes used to manufacture this system will be available as Berry compliant options for other military programs.

In addition to clothing members of the US military, Peckham serves society in another way. Rather than being dependent on others, the team members at Peckham Vocational Industries earn a wage and benefits, including savings towards retirement. They are contributing members of a larger community and I saw pride on the faces of those that I met.

While Peckham’s measure of success is training and employing its team members, they have to remain viable in the marketplace, providing a good value to their customers. Customer satisfaction is a priority and they’re serious about it. In fact, they’re ISO 9001:2015 certified.

Patagonia benefits from this relationship by having a reliable production partner they can rely on.

The end user gets a great product, made right here in the USA.

This is the third of a four-part series on the Military Alpine Recce System developed by Patagonia’s The Lost Arrow Project. Earlier installments include the history of Patagonia’s SOF support and a system overview. The final story will focus on some of the individuals components. The full system will be on exhibit at SOF Select during SOFIC.

Remington Outdoor Company Successfully Emerges From Chapter 11

Thursday, May 17th, 2018

Significantly Reduced Debt Load and Interest Expense Continued Focus on Revitalization

Madison, NC – May 16, 2018 – Remington Outdoor Company (“Remington” or “the Company”), one of the world’s leading designers and manufacturers of firearms, ammunition, and related products, announced today that it has emerged from Chapter 11 after successfully implementing its plan of reorganization (“the Plan”) previously confirmed by the Delaware bankruptcy court on May 4, 2018.

The Plan provides a comprehensive balance sheet restructuring of the Company and converts over $775 million of the Company’s debt into equity. In addition, the Plan provides the Company with a new Asset Based Loan (“ABL”) facility of $193 million, the proceeds of which will refinance its prior ABL facility in full, a new $55 million First-In, Last-Out Term Loan and a new $100 million Term Loan. As an integral part of the Plan, all trade and business claims are unimpaired and will be addressed in the Company’s normal course of business. The Plan received support from over 97% of the voting Term Loan Lenders and all of the voting Third Lien Noteholders.

As provided in the Plan, all shares of Remington’s common stock issued prior to the commencement of Remington’s bankruptcy proceeding were cancelled upon emergence, and Remington has issued new shares of common stock and, in some cases, warrants, to the holders of its previously outstanding funded debt in return for their allowed claims against Remington. The term of Remington’s previous Board of Directors expired upon emergence and a new Board of Directors shall be appointed immediately.

“It is morning in Remington country,” said Anthony Acitelli, Chief Executive Officer of Remington. Mr. Acitelli continued, “We are excited about the future – producing quality products, serving our customers, and providing good jobs for our employees.”

Remington’s legal counsel is Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP, its investment banker is Lazard Freres & Co. LLC, and its financial advisor is Alvarez & Marsal. The Term Loan Lenders’ legal counsel is O’Melveny & Myers LLP and their investment banker is Ducera Partners LLC with M-III Advisory Partners, LP also advising the Term Loan Lenders. The Third Lien Noteholders’ counsel is Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP and their investment banker is Perella Weinberg Partners LP.

Court filings and claims information may be accessed at cases.primeclerk.com/remington

www.remingtonoutdoorcompany.com

The Lost Arrow Project by Patagonia – Military Alpine Recce System : Program History

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

Most people who enjoy the outdoors know Patagonia as a company which produces outdoor clothing. Still others may know about Patagonia’s long-term dedication to social and environmental responsibility. While those may sound like marketing buzz-words, it turns out they manifest themselves in ways the average person would never imagine.

Social responsibility can mean a lot of things, to a lot of people. In Patagonia’s case, it’s a decision of where they dedicate resources.

What most do not know is that for more than a decade, Patagonia has focused their expertise at providing technical outerwear for the most extreme environments and athletes, to a different customer, US Special Operations Forces. That’s right. Patagonia has a dedicated team, focused on supporting USSOCOM with delivering US Made/Berry Compliant technical cold weather and combat uniforms as prime provider to the Protective Combat Uniform program. What’s more, they’ve cultivated a relationship with a like minded production partner, Peckham Vocational Industries. Itself a company founded upon service to others.

I spoke with Eric Neuron, Director of Strategic Product & Military for Patagonia Works and he related that one unintended, but important outcome of their military work has been a renewed focus on the US manufacturing base. They’ve spent the last three years investing in Peckham Vocational Industries, with technical machinery and knowledge transfer from their global supply chain.  Their goal is to build the capacity to produce outdoor apparel that is technically equivalent to what they produce globally.

Part of their dedication to the environment is to produce durable goods which will last, despite arduous conditions, and won’t need to be replaced as often.

Even those familiar with Patagonia’s PCU work usually don’t know how long they have been supporting the military. My relationship with the brand goes back to the late 1980s, when I was assigned to 3rd ID’s Long Range Surveillance Detachment. We were issued thick dark blue pile suits to ward off the cold while in a hide site and polypropylene long underwear, complete with logo on the left chest. Not long after that, very close copies of those garments were included in the US Army’s Extended Cold Weather Clothing System. Right down to the nylon chest pocket.

Throughout the 90s, SOF units would issue specialized pieces of Patagonia clothing for use in extreme environments. But it was not until the Global War On Terror that Patagonia answered the nation’s call and began developing entire clothing systems for SOF.

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In 2004, Patagonia commenced work for a SOF customer on an environmental clothing system which was comprised of modifications to what was already in their commercial line. Leveraging their Regulator line of inner layers, this project was dubbed the Military Advanced Regulator System or MARS. Some garments remained the same as their commercially available counterparts but with a color change to Alpha Green, while other items were slightly modified with additions such as sleeve pockets. Later, many components of MARS were produced in Coyote.

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At around the same time, the Program Manager for SOF Survival, Support and Equipment Systems invited three vendors in to update their PCU ensemble. The first go around had been developed quickly in-house at Natick Soldier Systems Center, just outside of Boston, with the assistance of renown mountaineer Mark Twight.

The other two vendors bowed out after deciding that they didn’t want to lend their brand names to clothing produced in domestic factories they had little control over. Patagonia jumped in with both feet, refining PCU’s seven levels despite being limited to fabric technologies already in the program. They also worked tirelessly with the Ability One sew house which produced the gear, to keep quality high throughout the process. Even then, Patagonia’s role with PCU didn’t leverage their design capability.

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Then, in 2009, Patagonia got their chance to take the lead on a clothing project for PM SSES who decided to develop a SOF Combat Uniform. This garment became PCU Level 9. They held a development event in El Paso, Texas, along with their Ability One partner, bringing in personnel from each of the SOF components to provide feedback on prototypes. This was very much a hands-on event, with multiple evaluations occurring as well as an early use of 3D laser scanning to determine sizes for the operators.

Patagonia’s Cyndi Davis was central in the development of that garment and someone SOCOM would continue to turn to for expertise in the ensuing years. The Patagonia team refined its initial concepts and turned the uniform into reality. Now, they also produce a jungle version of that uniform, called Level 9 HW.

But they haven’t stopped there. Most recently, Patagonia formalized The Lost Arrow Project, a subsidiary of Patagonia Works that is solely focused on their government contracting business.  Their aim is build special-purpose clothing and gear for extreme environments, developed specific to the requirements of the government user, and for compliancy in government contracting.

About three years ago, what was to become The Lost Arrow Project, decided to start with a clean slate, envisioning a follow-on to PCU. They brought in one of Patagonia’s most experienced designers, Casey Shaw, who began work on what would eventually become the Military Alpine Recce System. It’s still called MARS, but they’ve transitioned from their older Regulator technology to new materials with a focus on tailored breathability.

Eric Neuron, sums up their efforts quite well, saying, “The latest iteration of the MARS line of cold weather clothing has redefined the state of the art in domestic outerwear, is a paradigm shift from the status quo of cold weather layering systems, and is the culmination of The Lost Arrow Project.”

This is the first of a four-part series on the Military Alpine Recce System developed by Patagonia’s The Lost Arrow Project. Other installments include an overview of the system and its design, a focus on their production partner Peckham Industries and a deep dive into some of the components. The full system will be on exhibition at SOF Select during SOFIC.

Flame-Resistant Apparel Experts, Massif, Continue Their Hiring Surge

Tuesday, May 8th, 2018

Ashland, OR – May 8, 2018 – Massif, a world leader in flame resistant apparel for the U.S. Military is pleased to announce the continued growth of its team dedicated to supporting its amazing customers. Over the course of the last year, Massif has added the following positions: Marketing Communications Manager, Technical Sales-Field Testing Manager, Assistant Buyer-Fabric, and Quality Manager. Most recently, two more Military Sales Representatives joined the team as well. Adding to their already strong sales team, Massif hired Tyler Boeddeker whose background in US Navy aviation as a Naval Aircrewman – Helicopter/Search and Rescue fits perfectly into Massif’s commitment to the USN community. Also joining the team is Garrett Podesta whose background in DOD and protective equipment sales through key channels such as the AbilityOne® Base Service Centers is an integral part of supporting the USAF community.

“Our commitment to advanced fabrics and designs lasting mission after mission, has given us the privilege of protecting millions of men and women working in the world’s most challenging environments. Bringing Tyler and Garrett on board allows us the opportunity to better service our growing customer base and their ever-evolving needs. Their skillsets and experience complement and strengthen our sales team moving forward and we’re excited to have them on Team Massif,” said Darci Knobel, VP of Customer Experience.

This growth in the Massif Team continues to drive demand for added resources and they are now filling openings for the following: Apparel Technical Designer, Product Developer, Patternmaker, Sales Support Specialist, Planner/Buyer, and Shipping/Receiving Assistant.

Noelle Christensen, VP/GM of Massif explains the reason behind the recent hiring surge. “Since 2014, we’ve expanded our Sales team from two to six positions. They’ve fueled sustainable growth and landed approvals for long-term development so we can continue to invest in innovation and the fulfillment teams needed to support the increased demand. We are thrilled to be in a growth phase with a skilled leadership group and high-performing team working toward a common goal.”

Massif, nestled in the Pacific Northwest, at the base of Southern Oregon’s Siskiyou Mountains, continues its robust expansion in the flame-resistant apparel space. Founded in 1999, Massif grew by word of mouth from the SAR and Wildland Firefighting communities to the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Army. Today, they serve every branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, the general aviation community, and other specialized organizations. Their 2018 theme, Keep Going, taken from the famous Winston Churchill quote, resonates with their steadfast commitment to support people working in some of the world’s most challenging environments. They can’t wait to see where the journey leads and are looking for other passionate team members intent on the same. Check out their Careers Page for more details.

www.massif.com/info/careers

Mission Ready, Parent Company of Protect The Force Announces Appointment of Former NYPD Commissioner to Board of Directors

Saturday, May 5th, 2018

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA – (May 1, 2018) – Mission Ready Services Inc. (“Mission Ready” or the “Company”) (TSX VENTURE 50 :MRS) is pleased to announce the addition of former NYPD Commissioner, William J. Bratton, to the Company’s Board of Directors effective May 1, 2018.

Currently serving as the Vice Chairman for the Secretary of Homeland Security’s Advisory Council, Mr. Bratton, during a 46-year career in law enforcement, instituted progressive change while leading six police departments, including seven years as Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department and two nonconsecutive terms as the Police Commissioner of the City of New York. Mr. Bratton is the only person ever to lead the police agencies of America’s two largest cities. Mr. Bratton currently serves as the Executive Chairman of Teneo Risk (“Teneo”).

Jeffery Schwartz, President & CEO of Mission Ready states, “During the recent 12-months, we have built an excellent team who will be instrumental in the growth and success that we envision for 2018 and beyond. Mr. Bratton’s extensive experience and contributions to the industry will be of great value to the Company. We could not ask for a more qualified individual to help us advance Mission Ready at this important time in the Company’s evolution.”

Leupold & Stevens, Inc. Sponsors Commissioning of USS Portland

Thursday, April 26th, 2018

BEAVERTON, Ore. — Leupold & Stevens, Inc., sponsored the commissioning of the USS Portland – the first United States naval ship to be named for Portland, Oregon – on Saturday, April 21.

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The San Antonio class amphibious transport is 684 feet long and is crewed by 371 sailors. It is the third USS Portland to have been commissioned by the U.S. armed forces, but the first to exclusively be named for Oregon’s largest city – previous incarnations have paid homage to Portland, Maine, or both cities simultaneously. A staple in the region for more than a century, the Leupold brand was originally founded in Portland before moving its headquarters to nearby Beaverton in 1968.

“Everyone on the Leupold team takes pride in how active the company is within our local community, and we’ve long supported the men and women of the U.S. armed forces,” said Bruce Pettet, president and chief executive officer of Leupold & Stevens, Inc. “The commissioning of the USS Portland was something we were ecstatic to take part in. We want to extend congratulations and our thanks to the ship and her crew.”

Now that the USS Portland has, as naval tradition dictates, been “brought to life” by official ship sponsor Bonnie Amos, it will call San Diego its home port. The ship is expected to be in service for the next 40 years.

“The two previous ships to bear the name Portland distinguished themselves in service to our nation,” Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said in a release prior to the commissioning. “I fully expect the future USS Portland will continue that proud tradition, whether delivering humanitarian assistance or the full range of combat capability for many decades to come.”

For more information on the USS Portland, go to USSPortlandLPD27.org.

For more information on Leupold® products, please visit us at Leupold.com.

Remington Outdoor Company Promotes Matt Ohlson to Vice President of Professional Sales

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

Huntsville, AL – Remington is pleased to announce that Matt Ohlson has been promoted to the position of Vice President Professional Sales.


Ohlson started with the company in 2012 as a Senior Product Manager for Ammunition and has held several positions over his tenure including Senior Product Manager Shotguns, Director of Product Management Consumer Accessories and his most recent position of Director of Defense and Product Management Consumer Accessories.

In his new role as vice president, Ohlson will be responsible for overseeing Law Enforcement, Defense and International Sales. Reporting to Matt will be the Director of Law Enforcement Sales, Director of International Commercial Sales and the Defense Organization.

“Matt’s hard work and proven results underscore his transition into his new leadership role,” said Anthony Acetelli, CEO. “He demonstrates an in-depth understanding of the law enforcement, defense and international market and we look forward to his contributions as we look to the future.”

www.remington.com

Knight Vision, LLC Acquires Rights To RQE

Friday, April 20th, 2018

Knight Vision, LLC., a wholly owned subsidiary of Knight’s Enterprises has acquired the exclusive rights of RQE precision mounting and adaptation devices.

Along with the various IP and design concepts acquired, adding to the Knight’s family is the owner and lead designer of RQE as an integrated business and design entity.

Learn more at www.knightarmco.com/15291/shop/uncategorized/rqe-slick-sheets.