2017 marked the 32nd anniversary of Rigging Innovations. What began in 1985 as a dream and vision of what I envisioned a modern harness and container to be, has culminated in what I believe to be the most advanced harness and container design in the world today.
I have been asked as to how I do it but I really don’t have an answer. It seems that I have something in my DNA that allows me to see things differently from others. Aside from this, there is a lot to be said for having been in the industry for many years honing my craft.
I have used the analogy of the music industry where the songwriters, musicians, and singers arise from. Almost all begin their careers at the bottom of the ladder and after many years of practice, determination, and hard work, they come into their own. I look at my career path in the same light. From obtaining my Senior Rigger certificate, to a Master’s certificate and working for various companies over the years, I have gathered the background, experience and knowledge that have culminated in what I do today. The last 32 years have given me the opportunity to do it my way, for good or bad.
There is one thing that I have done since 1983 that has had a significant influence on my thinking and is entirely unrelated to designing parachute harness and container systems. It is that I have become an avid reader of the Wall Street Journal newspaper and Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine. What do these two publications have to do with skydiving rigs, you ask?
The wall Street Journal (WSJ) has taught me common sense business thinking, and I have said many times that I should have my MBA simply from reading it for so long. I have been able to follow the ups and downs of the world economies and the births and deaths of hundreds of companies, large and small. I have been able to see close comparisons to what I have done and situations I have faced. Using this information has provided me with paths and ideas for progressing with RI.
Aviation Week has been a business as well as a technical journal to study for ideas in the aviation specific environment. It has provided insight to the success and failures of government, military and civil organizations.
I was recently reading Av Week and read an article by Antoine Gelain, a contributing columnist, regarding the French company, Dassault Aviation. For those unfamiliar with Dassault, it is a small by international standards, family owned company specializing in military fighter aircraft. The Mirage fighter jet is their most well known design and the Rafale their latest.
In reading Gelain’s article, I was struck by the similarities our two companies share in their overall vision. The following paragraphs caught my attention.
“The mystery and fascination surrounding Dassault is not new. In a Rand Corp. report commissioned by the US Air Force, Robert Perry writes extensively about the company’s paradox. He wrote: “That Dassault is consistently able to create and produce high-performance aircraft comparable to and competitive with those of the United States is almost paradoxical, given the resources of the company and the international environment in which it operates.” Trying to come up with some rational explanation for such success, he concluded: “In many respects, the uniqueness of Dassault appears to be explainable mostly in terms of the company’s people, principles, policies, and practices.”
“What is certain is that behind what may seem old-fashioned or unorthodox practices, the company has always been at the forefront of technology, thanks to a consistent and evolutionary approach to innovation. This has allowed Dassault to capitalize on every prototype built; and it has built a lot of them.
Yet there is something uplifting about an organization that so consistently manages to defy the odds, challenge commonplace analysis, and so expertly balance craftsmanship and high-tech, conservatism and INNOVATION.
After all, there is a lot to learn from outliers, and possibly a lot to gain from being one. If we only try to replicate what the majority does, we will merely remain average. And average is the one thing a combat aircraft cannot afford to be.”
When I first read this, I was literally struck dumb. I could not believe what I had just read. I had only to substitute rigs for aircraft and the parachute market for United States and everything fit as to what myself and RI believed in and practiced. It was as simple and concise a description of our vision and philosophy that I had ever read.
For those who have taken the time to read this, I hope it explains who we are and what we do. It is now our time in the sun and we plan on taking advantage of the opportunity to prove to the world what we are capable of. We do not aspire to be the biggest. We just want to be the best in what we do. The new Curv 2.0 system is unlike anything else in the world. I say this not in arrogance but as a simple statement of fact. There is one thing I will say that reflects the above; “If all they do is copy me, they can’t beat me”.
Rigging Innovations Inc