As those who read this blog recently know, I got more than I bargained for from Air Canada coming home from a quick business trip to the Philadelphia area.
The same can be said for the trip itself.
We had been invited by Jonathan Wong, president of Galvin Green Canada, to the W.L. Gore and Associates facilities in Newark, Del., seemingly to get an education into what goes into Gore-Tex products used in golf outerwear.
What I didn’t realize going in is that Gore has been granted more than 2,000 patents worldwide in a wide range of fields.
Other than the outerwear category that had brought us to Newark, what caught my attention was Gore’s contributions to medicine, specifically products such as synthetic vascular grafts, surgical meshes and sutures, among others.
Gore has been providing the medical community with a wide variety of products for over 35 years, but the company also reaches into aerospace, automotive. the military, energy, computers, telecommunications and electronics, among many others.
So, golf outerwear is a microcosm of everything that goes on at Gore, but one that is taken seriously.
The company actually launched in 1958 in the basement of founders Bill and Vieve Gore, initially serving the electronic products market. In 1969, the discovery of a versatile polymer by Bob Gore, the son of Bill and Vieve, opened a variety of markets.
The new polymer was an expanded polytetrafluoroethylene, but you can call it ePTFE for short. Bob Gore stretched PTFE rapidly and, instead of breaking, it remained strong, porous and versatile.
That not only expanded the Gore product line, but also set the stage for the introduction of Gore-Tex fabrics that are engineered to form an impenetrable barrier against wind and water while maintaining breathability through its patented membrane technology.
Along the way, we discovered that Gore not only tests its own products, but also products from companies that use its technologies.
In one case, we donned jackets, pants, boots and gloves and stood in a deluge to check out the waterproof capabilities and it passed the test. In another case, we stood in a steamy room used to check breathability.
We also walked into a room that resembled a laundromat, but the washing machines here were used to test durability when products were washed.
Quality control is apparently taken quite seriously at W.L. Gore and Associates, which stepped up with action over words to illustrate its point.
As we discovered from our airline at the Philadelphia airport when we were supposed to be departing, not all companies are willing to do the same.