Robert Turner and Wes Smith met in college at North Carolina State University as members of Phi Delta Theta fraternity. Their shared interest in the outdoors and in the field of engineering fueled a friendship.
Prior to NC State, Turner spent a great deal of his youth on the waterways on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. He was an avid watersports enthusiast and a beach patrol lifeguard in Bethany Beach, Delaware.
Meanwhile, Smith grew up in North Carolina where he fostered his own passion for the outdoors. Wes achieved the distinguished title of Eagle Scout by the age of 17 and found employment working as a kayak and white water rafting instructor.
Both became aware of a major issue with manufacturing practices while studying Engineering in college; plastics were overused and recycling was more or less a myth. The conversation about consumer-driven overproduction of plastics continued outside of the classroom, becoming a focal point throughout their collegiate years.
Upon graduating, Smith began a career in industrial engineering, overseeing manufacturing processes and managing large-scale production operations. Turner began working as an civil engineer, gaining skills with design and analysis, as well as crucial experience in business operations and project management.
Their personal passions for the outdoors continued, and they came to realize they could not ignore the scope of the plastic recycling issue.
Wes was confident that products could be manufactured from recycled plastics that were as durable as those made from virgin plastics. Smith & Turner began working to prove that theory. They began developing plans for and designing their first product, a kayak made entirely from recycled plastics.
They were able to find a blend of rotomolded recycled plastics with durability equivalent to virgin plastics. At the same time the prototype design of their first kayak was being peer reviewed and finalized.
In the summer of 2021, after the design was finalized, molds were built, and materials were sourced, the first prototype of their recycled kayak was produced. Turner and Smith spent the summer fine tuning the product to optimize its performance and utility.
If a product can be made from recycled materials, it should be. If it can't, find a way it can.
Use existing waste to reduce our own, and ensure that less appears in natural environments.
Focus on making products that fulfill the needs of outdoor enthusiasts -- hobbyists and specialists alike.
Everyone can enjoy an outdoor experiences, given access to the right equipment.