Company Profile: W.L. Gore & Associates

July 31, 2013

Started by Bill and Vieve Gore in the basement of their home, W.L. Gore & Associates, now it its 55th year, is truly a household name in the outdoor industry.

“Bill Gore worked at DuPont and had learned a great deal about the value of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE),” said Gore Sales Associate Brad Yeomans. “Bill wanted to take Teflon—which is DuPont’s name for polytetrafluoroethylene—and put it into products. DuPont didn’t want to have any ‘finished’ products on the market because they were a chemical supplier, so Bill decided he wanted to leave the company and buy the product. DuPont said they would supply him, and a short time later he was working in his basement wrapping copper wire in PTFE—in an effort to improve signal clarity and increase signal speed. That’s how it all got started.”

According to Yeomans, W.L. Gore & Associates’ fabric division has several hunting-related developments in the works for 2014 and beyond.

“We didn’t unveil any new technology for 2013 in terms of hunting-related gear, but something that we are openly talking about is our commitment to environmental responsibility. GORE-TEX and WINDSTOPPER products meet or exceed Oeko-Tex Standard 100, and many are also bluesign certified. As an innovative company, we are often in the forefront of technological breakthroughs where we assume added responsibilities. Hunting and fishing products for Gore no longer incoporate C-8 chemistry, which is no longer viewed as environmentally friendly. We are always on the forefront of doing what is best for the environment, and we will continue to lead that charge.

We are also one of only three companies that have been on Fortune’s list of the top 100 companies to work for. We strive for perfection in everything that we do. Our GORE-TEX products have been around for over 30 years and are still doing fantastic. Gore has over 2,000 patents, but we maintain trade secrets more commonly to keep from telling others what it is we are doing. We just concentrate on developing as quickly as we can, staying on the leading edge of technology and simply out-developing the competition.”

Not a company to rest on its laurels, W.L. Gore & Associates has big plans for the future.

“The future is bright for the Hunt/Fish category at Gore,” Yeomans commented. “With the acquisition of Sitka about three years ago, things really continue to move in a positive direction. Sitka has a phenomenal team and continues to change the way people think about clothing. Some of our other licensees such as Simms Fishing Products, Cabela’s, and Bass Pro are growing with us as well. I feel that overall; we are in a very, very good position in our particular product category.”

(800) 467-3839; www.gore.com