By WESLEY ROBINSON
A recent Eastern graduate has developed a product to keep people warm far longer than any product by Under Armour, Nike or any other leading brand.
Dwaine Evans is the creator of a new, potentially groundbreaking cold weather shirt called for his company PODZ GEAR. The shirt strategically places heating packs on key points of the human core to ensure warm blood is constantly spreading through the circulatory system.
“No one’s ever thought to use the blood as a means to heat or cool the body,” Evans said. “I never thought that basic concept would come to [where it’s at now.]”
The 24-year-old Flatwoods native said he came up with idea back in 2009 while he was on a paintball trip in Georgia with Eastern’s student club.
“I thought, there’s got to be a better way,” Evans said recalling the frigid winter day. “[When I got back] I put the ideas on paper and thought this could work.”
Unlike current products on the market, Evans said the patent-pending technology uses the blood to keep the body warm. He added that the looser, more comfortable fit make the product something more beneficial to the general population.
The company launched a 45-day Kickstarter campaign to raise $30,000. which ends Nov. 8. As of Wednesday Oct. 2, PODZ Gear had raised $4,259.
Jeremy Brown joined in on the project after taking with Evans, who was a frequent customer at the bank Brown managed. Brown said over time Evans began to explain his idea for creating the shirt and eventually the two became business partners.
“I said ‘let’s pursue it,’” Brown said. “We developed a rapport and over six months we finally decided to make it a reality.
He said he was drawn to PODZ GEARby the many uses the product could have for athletes, firefighters, military personnel, construction workers and beyond.
“I know how cold I got as a coach, pitcher and player in the early spring, late fall during the season and working out in the winter,” Brown said. “You don’t want to wear too many layers and look like the Michelin Man on the field as a coach.”
Brown, who handles PODZ GEAR’s finances, said he and Evans added partners to the company to help develop the business. Each one of the four partners is an Eastern graduate.
Brown said the company is trying out Kickstarter as a way to market the product and gain potential investors. The Kickstarter page features videos of the product in action, the science behind the shirt and perks for people who donate, such as wristbands, car stickers and a free shirt.
“It’s kind of a hybrid of many different things,” Brown said of the Kickstarter campaign. “We wanted to try it first before going the traditional method.”
After the fundraising campaign, Evans and Brown said the company will begin manufacturing the shirt and start a direct sales campaign.
Evans, who received a degree in industrial safety and risk management works as chemical operator by day. He said he spends at least 40 hours a week on developing PODZ GEAR.
“It’s my dream,” Evans said. “I’m going to do everything I can to make it succeed.”
He said he continues to work with Eastern’s Business and Technology Accelerator at the university to help refine his original idea to where it is now.
To support PODZ Gear’s Kickstartarter campaign visit podzgear.com.