First, how did the company and the vaulting pole acquire the name ESSX and what does it mean?
When I left PORTaPIT, a division of Sport Supply Group TX, who had purchased and merged the FiberSport company I founded in 1976 and owned for 14 years, I felt I could make vaulting poles. Prior to that time, I was using Paul Richards' expertise formerly Sky-Pole, then Altius, to private label poles.
Paul had always made great poles for me, however, the delivery was slow and at the time I did not know what I know now, which is that the pole manufacturing process is a very tough project and many things often can and do go wrong.
The project upon leaving SSG was to buy a company and be a majority stockholder to take the shell public. I purchased Southern Development Corporation, a communication company that had a great idea connecting fax and voice lines from one incoming phone line. The ESSX determined the type of call between fax and voice and directed the switch to send to a fax or answering machine. The device patent and the product was purchased and the funds distributed to the stockholders to close the company to be an empty shell corporation. The name and trademark were still a part of the company at the time my investment group, consisting of Malaysian group and myself, took ownership. In today's world, a new name is difficult without trading on others and the trademark was very exclusive so we called the company EssxSport Corporation. Previously, I had found Ampro Corporation/Cat A-Pole/Accelerator and used pole making equipment that was up for bid at a bankruptcy auction. Originally, PORT a PIT SSG was going to allow me to purchase it, but backed out and I sent a friend from Innovative Hockey, the famous hockey stick maker, to purchase the equipment. The equipment was moved to Mexico to Innovative Hockey and set up to make poles we named ESSX Extreme and MS ESSX EXTREME.
On Thursday, September 10, 1989, 16 years ago, we set up the ESSX pole making equipment in Mexico.
We placed an order with our office there to produce our first 100 ESSX poles. The first 101 poles had used a glass fiber cloth that was used in the fishing rod industry and once the poles were put to the test, we had a few break. We recalled every pole, paid the freight to get them back, and sent a replacement out made with the best glass fiber. Mexico was difficult to ship from as the duty was never the same and the freight was always held up. Going to Mexico often to fix things was difficult and expensive, so we moved the equipment to a place to update it, improve it, and then open up operations at our California office in Sun Valley, California. Along with improvement, we fine-tuned the patterns to be easier to manage in the factory and provide a smooth transition between poles. EssxSport Corp. had after many filings become a public company trading on the OTCBB and we opened up a 506 private placement to raise $1,000,000. We had the honor of Alberto Caberlotto, former owner of LOTTO shoes, to come on as a director to help with a soccer shoe. Yes, an ESSX soccer shoe!
ENRON and many public companies tanked the next few years being public and meeting all the standards got very expensive. We acquired a few companies and the new board of directors wanted to move on to other stuff related to Wall Street. I stepped down and let them take the public company over to strengthen it and I paid to buy the pole vaulting equipment and the name ESSX and moved the operations to Fort Worth, Texas. We had a great year in 2004. Many top athletes, including Tye Harvey, jumped 19'2" on ESSX: Kellie Suttles, Tracy O'Hara, and Jillian Schwartz, jumped over 15': and Irie Hill broke many World Master records. Time in America financially got tough in 2006 and in 2007, I lost my son and partner in the business, Aaron Caldwell. Getting glass and keeping people employed, it all was tough.
I entered into a private labeling agreement once again with Altius that did not work out, moved the equipment to UST Mamiya and leased a place to build poles. They helped out greatly to get me back on my feet. In 2012, we started rolling good poles out once again and the product has improved beyond other brands today. Over the past years, I had purchased carbon from them as they had the very best solution.
Once we agreed and saw the operation could be a workable company, they purchased the equipment, ESSX name, and operations. Having the resources of UST Mamiya's renowned Golf Shaft Maker has been a big benefit to building a quality vaulting pole.
Today UST-ESSX is known all over the world.
The future is the UST-ESSX Vaulting Pole. It will take trying it to believe that it is truly something different than any other pole on the market today!