24 Aug 18

DON’T CALL IT A COMEBACK // 2001 – 2007

35th Anniversary Blog

All year long we’re celebrating the moments that got us to this great spot: 35 years of Making the Workplace a Betterplace. It’s a tribute to our history and the big part you’ve played in it. So join us every month for a new tale, a quirky giveaway, and a fresh playlist of tasty tunes … ‘cuz there ain’t no party like an Ergodyne party, and this one’s gonna go down in the books, kids.

“There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.” – George W. Bush

With spines stiffened (pun very much intended) from an unfounded attack on back supports by federal regulators during the mid-1990s, Ergodyne entered the new millennium determined to never again become reliant on any one single product offering.

Though the company had experienced a nice run of success on the back (there we go again) of its pioneering line of supports, President and CEO Tom Votel, knew an evolved approach was needed to survive.

“One of my responsibilities as leader of this company is to make sure that we don’t have to make changes in personnel if we get surprised by something that’s not working,” says Votel. “I feel a tremendous responsibility to make sure we’re diversified, stable and growing.”


The strategy that came out of Ergodyne’s fight with the feds not only set a course of exciting growth for the company, but would solidify the brand’s reputation as an innovator in the world of industrial safety.

2000s Ad for Grabbers

Above: It wasn’t just the brand offering that was evolving in the early 2000s. “Keep Ergodyne Weird” was the mantra of Ergodyne’s late Marketing Director Howard Huber, who led the transformation of the Ergodyne brand identity into something the industrial safety world had never seen before. Let your freak flag fly, baby!

At the center of it all was the Tenacious Work Gear® concept, built around three pillars (Prevention, Protection, Elements) and one mission: Make the Workplace a Betterplace. The launch of the GloWear®, Squids®, N-Ferno® and Arsenal® brands would follow.

Distributors and safety professionals have since come to expect a fresh volley of products from Ergodyne every year — a full pipeline constantly pumping out leading-edge innovation.

“I think Ergodyne set the trend in the industry for innovating, product design and everything they come out with has a sizzle to it,” said longtime Ergodyne seller Jeff Fordham of JDF and Associates in a video produced for the company’s 25th anniversary.

2000s Ad for ProFlex Gloves

But folks hadn’t seen nothin’ yet. Now that the vision was set, it was time to drop the hammer, hit the nitro boosters and see what this thing could really do.