“Doing the Next Top Makers Pop Up Tour gave us a greater vision for the company.”
Co-founders Sean Petterson and Justin Hillery met at Rochester Institute of Technology. The first day they met, they discovered that they had something very personal in common: both of their fathers had jobs that were physically demanding—Sean’s father was a contractor and Justin’s was a lineman. Sean and Justin had witnessed the injury, wear, and pain that their fathers had endured. They wanted to honor their fathers and all of the people they aptly dubbed ‘Industrial Athletes.’ Right then and there, StrongArm was born and Sean and Justin sewed their first prototype for back/body support work-wear by 6 am the next morning. But they needed space, equipment, funding, and a network to make their vision a reality.
In July of 2013, the business moved to New York City and is now located in the Brooklyn Navy Yards. Sean and Justin became involved with NYCEDC’s Next Top Makers and participated in the Five Borough Pop Up tour. This gave the business credibility, visibility, and a network of like-minded innovators to help attract investors and got them featured on the Discovery Channel. Justin says that New York City represents their brand because “of the raw passion and work ethic of people that live here.” From a chance meeting at school to a company that employs 13 people full-time and close to 30 on a consultancy basis, StrongArm is a testament to Sean and Justin’s dedication, passion, and mission to design cutting edge work-wear that improves the physical well-being of ‘Industrial Athletes’ everywhere. Even more, it pays tribute to their father’s lives.