Getting to Know the Special Ops World

Getting to Know the Special Ops World

Welcome me back from SOFIC in Tampa this past week! Traditionally I’ve worked with the industrial side of the business. This trip was my first direct experience with high level military operators.  There was so much to experience and learn.

We were in the SOF Select wing of the Westin, across the bridge from the Tampa Convention Center. LALO hosted our booth and we got to rub elbows with the rock stars of the soft goods world (Mystery Ranch, Eagle, and Patagonia to name a few). It was a sea of MultiCam and tactical colors: greens, browns, and earth tones abound.

We featured a mannikin to show off IcePlate EXO® – our new exoskeleton-inspired Plate Carrier – with IcePlate® Curve. IcePlate® Curve is the latest iteration of our flagship innovation to keep soldiers cool in the hottest conditions. IcePlate® is essentially a wearable frozen water bottle, simple but ingenious. It takes the water you would already be carrying and turns it into a powerful cooling tool as well as hydration source. Flat and slightly curved, it fits snugly against the body, integrating seamlessly into your preexisting kit.

Walking into SOF Select, the QPI mannikin was the first thing people saw. Imagine me, way different from nearly everyone else there: a cheerful blonde female in an ocean of the predominantly male tactical elite.

Two European operators entered the room. At the base of the mannikin we had one of our IceVest HiVis Safety Vests. These are high-visibility yellow, not quite the prevailing color scheme for this conference. They immediately took notice and came over to learn more about IcePlate and our new plate carrier, ICE. Seconds later, they were down on the floor as they took ICE apart, dissecting all the features and functionality.

Our products are designed to perfectly meet the needs of the warrior class. In this moment the quality and intentionality of our design was really driven home to me as I saw first-hand how quickly these operators understood the features of our products.

“Glad you made the enclosure this way," the operator said. "It will work easily with my current plate carrier.” And so forth.

As Justin Li, our co-Founder and CEO, says, we offer enhanced capabilities, not simplistic accessories.

IcePlate® in some ways is deceptively simple. At first glance it looks like just a new apparatus for carrying water. Once the operators understood that we repurpose the water they already carry and turn it into a powerful cooling tool, we really had their interest.

Imagine if you were told that a smart adjustment to your equipment would let you work faster, longer, stronger?  Minds were blown.

It’s like magic to add usefulness without adding weight, and a trivial cost. (Actually, a significant net cost savings.) Since weight equals pain that’s a big deal. I felt the visitors’ amazement.

For warfighters in the field, staying cool and hydrated is a matter of life and death. Our IcePlates convert our warriors into Superwarriors

As my colleague Doug Burr, QPI’s Director of Sales and Business Development, told me

“Our presence at SOFIC expanded QPI’s global reach into the highest level of warfighters. We found new markets on four new continents: Australia, South America, Europe, and Asia/Pacific.

“Also, it was our first introduction to actual procurement officers for various special forces around the world. They gave us a better understanding of the purchasing process. Little things like getting a NATO Stocking Number have a big impact. We are already following up to get NSN numbers and will have them in a matter of weeks.

“We are simplifying the procurement process. That will dramatically cut the military purchasers’ red tape.”

So … anybody out there want to be an early adopter?

Email Doug,

We read your every email.

We will get right back to you and make it easy for you!


- QPI Team

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