The Story / Team of Viz Reflectives North America and Alpha Workwear
How We got Started
By Joe Atmonavage, firstname.lastname@example.org
Krook sees this incident as having led to his new life as an entrepreneur and the inventor of a new photoluminescent pigment used on construction workers' safety vests.
"This technology is something new and never seen before," said Doug Peterson, a risk manager and northern region safety director at United Contractors Midwest. "I've seen nothing even remotely as effective as this product."
However, when his father got sick, he felt obligated to take over his contracting company in New Ipswich, N,H., where Krook grew up. It was 2006, after six years in the construction industry, when the accident happened. Krook and his crew were building an inside loading dock for a company that makes mortar shells for the government. He was showing a co-worker where to cut an opening in the building's wall to create a entryway for supply trucks to unload materials in a secure location. Then he stepped back. "I fell back off the floor and landed on a metal bar that went up 9 inches in my back and almost leaving me paralyzed," he said. "It was one of those life-changing experiences.”
Despite the intense pain, Krook used those 27 minutes to think about the future. "After I was hurt, I started to look at the world differently," he said. "I wanted to protect workers from going through what I had gone through….that was something that I became passionate about." After spending six months recovering from his injury, he was back at work on a job in Mississippi building a 40,000-square-foot pool. During the project, he and a few engineers were looking for a way to identify the pool's edge at night.
It was decided to try a readily-available chemical, but it wasn't bright enough to be seen in ambient-light. That was when Krook, relying what he learned in a "few" chemistry classes at FSU, began searching for a luminescent compound that could be easily seen outdoors and in ambient light. "I literally set up a lab in my garage and started doing some research to figure out how photoluminescent pigment actually works and how I could take that and increase the intensity so it would be seen outside," he said. "The whole idea just started from that pool."
"It was about two years later that I actually had a way to increase the intensity," he said. "The 'ah-ha' moment was when I showed this to a family friend who had invented a product back in the '80s." His family friend, impressed, told him it was time to find a patent attorney. That was in December 2012. Of course, Krook won't reveal how he increased the results but people like Kingsley are impressed with what he has discovered.
"I am a Ph.D chemist with 30 years experience in technical product development and spent many years developing photoluminescent materials," said Kingsley. "I was amazed at how
much Justin accomplished with no formal training or experience with material science (and) with much fewer resources." “The hardest part was convincing my wife that using everything we had saved towards an unknown product that may or may not work and even if it did, would it sell?” "The purpose of a high-visibility garment is to make a person visible," Krook said. Before the discovery, once a construction worker stepped away from the light, they were invisible. Now workers can be seen hundreds of feet away using Krook's product. The glow lasts up to eight hours. "I can see the cars hitting their brake lights when I am out here in the dark moving traffic control," Peterson said.
Viz Reflectives manufactures the tape, then sends it offshore to be sewn onto the garments and then shipped back to the United States to be sold. "We didn't want separate brands that would cause confusion in the market, so I started Viz Reflectives North America and we decided the tape would be sold under VizLite®DT and our garments under Alpha WorkWear," Krook said. Krook started the company about 14 months ago. He's been using LinkedIn, a business-focused social-media website, to market his product. That connected him with Peterson and United Contractors Midwest, and has recently met with Exxon Mobil, Jacobs, Archer Western, Kiewit, OldCastle, Con Edison, National Grid among many other very large companies. "They loved it," said Krook, adding that he “now has a fire-retardant version of the tape and our FR garments currently under construction.” Krook has also met with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, MBTA and NHDOT. “With so many fatalities on the roadways we feel it is a no-brainer to add a 3rd layer of protection.
We would like to meet with the Departments of Transportation in all 50 States” Krook adds “there is no doubt in our minds not only will we prevent accidents but also save lives!” He said he introduces the product the same way to every company. "It's a great feeling knowing that I am pitching a product that could literally save someone's life," Krook said. "It's not just a product to sell or some kind of gimmick. It's a real, industrial-safety, lifesaving product and a lot of companies are seeing it the same. That is very gratifying knowing you are out helping people." Krook has turned this into a career and he hopes it can eventually create job opportunities for locals in North Central Massachusetts. He said once the manufacturing machine in the UK gets up to 50 percent capacity, he is looking at local places to open manufacturing. "I always said if this ever went anywhere, I would want to help create jobs," Krook said. Krook is not there yet, but he has upgraded his lab and moved into a new office building in MA.
Jennifer L. McCoy
Sales, marketing, product management and business development executive with award-winning record of achievement. Instrumental in developing new market opportunities and implementing go-to-market strategies that drive business growth. Strong relationship-building, negotiation, communication and project management skills. Experienced at adapting to rapidly changing priorities, leveraging diverse experience and skills.
Recent Career History
OccuNomix International, LLC 2006 – 2015
Vice President, Sales and Marketing
Promoted in 2008, 2009 and 2013 from Director of Marketing and VP of Marketing/Product Development respectively. Manage a senior management team comprised of three Regional Sales Managers, three Product Managers, Art Director, Graphic Artist, Director of Technical Design/QC as well administrative support staff member. Created and unified new brand identity in a fragmented and highly competitive industrial supply industry.
Columbia University, Graduate School of Business –Certification: Strategic Marketing Management
State University of New York – Bachelor of Science: Marketing
▪ Graduated with “Highest Distinction” - 3.8 GPA