After receiving a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Arizona State University and pursuing an MBA in marketing, Howard Lindsay spent more than 10 years creating effective aerospace and military composite-based products and technologies. Lindsay founded ViaTech to apply aerospace composite technology to consumer products. After three years, he became VP of Engineering at True Temper Sports, but he eventually bought ViaTech back, changed the name to Vyatek Sports and positioned it as a composites technology and R&D company.
What drew you from aerospace to sports and rec?
I was never an airplane guy. It’s such a conservative industry, for good reason. If you’re the type of company or person that likes to push the envelope, aerospace is not the place for you. You can’t try radical new ideas with lives at stake. But in sports equipment, such as archery, baseball, golf etc., you have a lot of latitude. Once I got a taste for it, I never looked back.
How does your aerospace background help you?
It would be impossible not to get a good technical education in the aerospace composites industry. My time there was absolutely worth its weight in gold. It provided a great training ground where I learned the subtleties of what can and can’t be done. You can’t hide performance issues in the aerospace market. Transferring that over, there are a lot of snake oil sales people in consumer products, but it’s important that Vyatek offers tangible technical solution with tangible gains, hiding nothing.
What is your focus within the industry and how do composites apply?
Vyatek Sports “unofficial” tagline is, “We’re the intel inside-type provider of technology to high-tech sports equipment. We make products lighter, stiffer or stronger.” Our quick elevator pitch is that we don’t make every product, we just make the ones we work on better. What differentiates us is that we offer patented and branded technology solutions to consumers.
Someone comes to us and says they want a lighter, stronger or stiffer product and we’ll work with them for a period of time, sometimes four to five months or up to a year to create a product we’re collectively happy with. We participate with partners from cradle to grave. We are involved in the conceptual development team as well as sourcing of that product. We don’t develop thin-wall ultra-light carbon parts. We sell a technology solution we brand as IsoGrid, which protects against buckling related failures for thin-walled structures. If someone comes to us and says they want an ultra-lightweight part, if it’s a candidate for IsoGrid, which sometimes it’s not, we offer them a custom solution.