A former CIA Officer, Zach Greenhill’s encounter with a large trash can in New York City led him to figure out how a terrorist could take advantage of its properties, creating negative societal consequences. This past Friday at a sold-out Annual Meeting of the Lake Norman Chamber, he was recognized as the Entrepeneur of the Year.
Zach and his wife Judy Greenhill are now working with the U.S. Army’s Research and Development division as they collaborate with small technology-based businesses to meet future threats like those I described.
The Greenhills, who recently moved to Cornelius, operate Greenhill AntiBallistics Corp. Their product, Force Disruption Platform, is a material that when applied to armor reduces the force of impact by up to 50 percent. Their goal is to protect children, athletes and, what the Army is most interested in, soldiers, from traumatic brain injuries.
Bob McIntosh, with The McIntosh Law Firm, along with 2019 Chamber Board Chair Tricia Sisson, recognized Greenhill with The McIntosh Law Firm Passion to Succeed Award. McIntosh told the meeting attendees, “From military vehicles to hockey helmets, this Lake Norman entrepreneur is working to protect our children, athletes, and military from traumatic brain injury and he’s our McIntosh Law Firm Passion to Succeed – Entrepreneur of the Year.”
Zachary Greenhill began Greenhilll AntiBallistics Corporation (GABC) on an August day, at about 8:40 am. Zach, a CIA Clandestine Services officer, then a lawyer, was looking at the Big Black Bomb Container on a Manhattan subway platform, a black metal round 75-gallon bin. The platform was packed with hundreds of riders. Zach began to think operationally about how to make a terrorist “combat ineffective.” Terrorists don’t announce themselves; their weapon of choice is a bomb; often in a container. Then, Zach hit upon an idea: why can’t you use the force of an explosion against itself ? It must be possible, he thought; every action has an equal reaction…
Today, for helmets and equipment for personal protection, GABC has developed an advanced material, FDP™ (Force Disruption Platform) which reduces force of impact by up to 50% in the thickness of a dime. Its purpose is to protect children, athletes, and our soldiers from concussion, blunt trauma, sports, running and other physical injuries. Over 11-years, Zach assembled scientists and engineers to build, test and scale his invention and refused to accept that it was technologically impossible. Also, he directed a patent strategy which resulted in a global portfolio of 17 patents with 4 pending in the U.S.
GABC is negotiating with a sports equipment manufacturer to put FDP™ into helmets; the Army has asked for a proposal to integrate FDP™ into helmets; GABC has been selected to represent North Carolina as 1 of 8 companies to present at the Startup Grind Global 2020 Conference in Silicon Valley, to be attended by 8,000; and won Phase I of a logistics competition sponsored by the Walton Family Foundation for FDP™’s use during shipping to protect sensitive equipment and fragile items.
When asked what it means to be recognized with this prestigious award, Greenhill responded, “I am humbled and honored to be chosen by my peers as Entrepreneur of the Year. For our startup and for me, personally, as an entrepreneur, it has been an adventure with exhilarating peaks and the deepest of valleys. However, I’ve been blessed with the right team, and fellow entrepreneurs who have given me their advice and support. So, I feel that I’m really accepting this award on behalf of all of them.”
He added, “The Chamber’s support has been invaluable. Right from the off, i.e., the new members’ reception, we/Greenhill AntiBallistics Corporation (GABC) received the warmest of welcomes and, then, the Chamber became a great resource for us to learn about the LKN community. The Chamber opened doors for GABC and at its events we connected with businesses and other members with inspirational stories. The Chamber also helped us to engage with NGOs and elected officials, which is crucial for startups like GABC. We are especially grateful to the Chamber’s President, Bill Russell, for his help and guidance and to the rest of his team which has always been there for us.
Pictured are Bob McIntosh, Judy and Zach Greenhill, Tricia Sisson, and Bill Russell. Photo courtesy of John McHugh / Ocaid Photography.