We’re in Florida, Why Bobsleigh?
We’re in Florida, so you may be asking, why bobsleigh?
My name is Barb. I’m an engineer at Raydon. My best friend, Zane, is from Latvia. We’ve known each other for many years. Zane is a former luger and bobsleigh pusher on the Latvian Women’s Bobsleigh team. In 2015 she introduced me to bobsleigh. I fell in love with it! I couldn’t wait for Saturday nights, when we would be able to watch my two teams, the U.S. and Latvian Olympic Bobsleigh teams, slide down the tracks for a potential medal. I saw my teams win many medals! It was so exciting.
The challenge with this sport, as with any sport, are the injuries involved. I would have never dreamed that I could be part of the solution to decrease the amount of injuries in this sport! An employee owned company, Raydon is all about innovation. In 2016, we started a special pilot initiative called, WTF (Work this Friday). The purpose of the initiative for any employee to share their innovative idea and present it to all fellow employee owners. The projects that received the most votes would be funded. So, the dream to decrease the amount of injuries truly began! My presentation was virtual reality bobsleigh trainer. I know it seems crazy. Why would a company in Florida even consider a bobsleigh trainer? But, Raydon has been a world leader in virtual reality training solutions for military for almost 30 years. We specialize in unleashing the power of human performance and I just happened to know the experts. If could combine Raydon’s expertise and the bobsleigh experts, we could help train the bobsleigh athletes and help to reduce their risk of injury.
And, so it began. Zane took me to Latvia the following year. She introduced me to the Olympic Bobsleigh track in Sigulda, and I took a ride down the track, twice! As we say in the US, “I was hooked!” Zane spent many nights teaching me about bobsleigh. My colleagues spent many hours teaching me and helping me with the technology we would need to do this. And now the rest is history! We presented our ideas and Raydon was so impressed they chose to fund all of the employees’ innovative ideas! The next thing we had to do was come up with a name for our trainer. My manager who came up with the word, Barbsled, after my name, Barb. And so it was born!
Raydon Barbsbled VRT became a reality, a virtual reality, and we would soon be on our way to work with the Latvian Olympic Bobsleigh team to test our trainer in Altenberg, Germany!