Allen Gibson is an idea guy. Ask him about his degrees, and he’ll demur in the way that only a born and bred Midwesterner can do. But while Gibson may embody the warm, people-first ethos that the Midwest is known for, his company, CAPE Industries, is set to revolutionize the global market for an industrial component necessary for work in the world’s harshest environments–cable glands.

Ask any electrician what a cable gland is, and they will pull out the connectors needed to connect the rigid conduit that protects electrical wiring. The average cable gland contains 14 separate pieces, some of which act as grounding for wiring. There are two versions of cable glands–cheap plastic that cannot ground electrical wiring or stand up to harsh elements or sturdy but expensive metal glands.

Gibson thought there was a way to combine the two. His vision came while working in the oil and gas sector. Visiting some of the earth’s harshest production environments drove home the need for durability. Knowledge of the versatility of advanced polymers impressed him with their potential. Three patents later, Gibson and CAPE Industries have created a polymer gland with only four parts that offers a lighter but still highly durable option, with grounding capabilities.

As the idea guy, Gibson knew that building a team to support his vision was vital. His years in oil and gas brought him a roster of contacts that could offer insight into all product development sectors–his advisory board includes experts in marketing, finance, production, and distribution from around the world.

“We knew as a startup that we needed to be lean and mean to get to market,” says Gibson. “We have advisory board members in western Canada, Europe, Texas, and Oklahoma. Everybody has a purpose, and it has been fun building the team.”

The company headquartered out of North Kansas City’s premier co-working space, iWerx, is ready to take the next step forward in bringing the gland to market.

That next step is adding another highly qualified team member, Melissa Ver Meer, Ph.D., to the Kansas City forward operating base. Ver Meer will act as the Chief Technology Officer and move the manufacturing process forward, based on 20 years of experience in advanced materials and manufacturing at enterprise levels. Her tenure at Honeywell Technology’s Kansas City National Security prepared her well for moving CAPE Industries to the next phase of their journey.

“Melissa is an absolute rock star,” says Gibson. “She is exactly the profile of the person we needed on the team–she has the technical expertise to work with advanced polymers, which is important. In everything we do, we are trying to replace stainless steel and other metals.”

While the advisory board may span the globe, Gibson is keen to keep as much of the actual development work close to home. He’s working with a local company to manufacture the glands, using molds custom-made in Asia, delivered to KC for manufacturing application. The company is currently working on four sizes of cable glands.

Several steps of certification with both U.S. and international agencies remain before CAPE Industries can unveil its creation to the world. Still, in the meantime, he continues to strengthen the team. Solomon Whitaker, a recent UMKC mechanical engineering graduate, recently joined the team to work on product design and technical support. With the engineering prowess of Whitaker and Ver Meer on his side, the idea guy is poised to become an action leader in an industry ripe for disruption.

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