Dan T. Moore, CEO and chairman of Dan T. Moore Co. that holds 19 companies, is an ageless entrepreneur and inventor who is full of ideas and vitality. He skis and motorcycles the world, which you can read about on his blog; starts successful business after business; holds about 30 patents; and currently is hobbling about on crutches and in a cast after having bones in his ankle fused from a ski accident. His plans? To ski again! And, to continue to innovate and create successful startup companies in Collinwood.
His Cleveland Industrial Innovation Center (CiiC) at 17000 St. Clair Avenue, a former airport used by Curtiss Wright of Wright Brothers’ fame, houses nine established and startup manufacturing companies that employ approximately 350 people: Team Wendy, Soundwich, CiiC, Gem Tool, Ecowise, Metal Matrix Innovations, Rooftop Green, NatGasCar and Petfiber. The property also has available tenant space that Moore markets to encourage minority business enterprises.
While it’s easy to focus on Team Wendy, his original company which manufactures military helmets that stop high-velocity bullets for militaries and special forces around the world and which got its start as a ski-helmet manufacturer in 1997 at the intersection of Coit Road and Kirby Avenue after the skiing death of Moore’s daughter Wendy due to a traumatic brain injury, Moore is passionate about his startups. He says, “We hire people skilled in chemistry, engineering and business. We determined that focusing on starting companies is more profitable than buying them. And, I like to tinker.” The question he always seeks to answer is, “Where is there an unmet need?”
His startups include Metal Matrix Innovations that makes disc brakes out of aluminum instead of cast iron. They are lighter and ride better. Moore says they are made from a silicon carbide sponge into which they shoot aluminum. Rooftop Green manufactures “a tray that holds earth like a coffee filter,” Moore explains. “When there is a heavy rain, the soil doesn’t roll out onto the roof, and it’s less expensive for customers to purchase than traditional trays. The trays are made from recycled materials and are recyclable. They also can be used residentially on patios.” NatGasCar converts automobiles from petroleum-based gasoline into natural gas engines. Petfiber recycles Coca Cola bottles, made from polyester terephthalate (PET). They are melted and spun like cotton candy into a fiber for use in the automotive industry. All of these companies are sustainable, and Moore says he intends to run them until someone else can do a better job then he will sell them. Of his process, he says, “We get an idea, patent it, find the right people who can do it and run it.”
With all these startups, Dan needs to outfit them with the proper equipment. When asked where he gets much of it, he says, “I shop at HGR Industrial Surplus’ showroom in Euclid at least once per month. HGR is great because if I need something quick, I can grab it and plug it in by the afternoon.” He has purchased cranes; machine tools; welders; milling machines; a variety of mixing, coating and extruding equipment; lathes; an ironworker; and other machine tools. Some of these purchases also are being used in a “makers space” called “FAB Lab” that the company has created for employees to use in their leisure time on their hobby and side projects. Moore truly is an advocate of innovation.