North Carolina Bobsled Maker Goes for the Gold
Keep a close eye on the USA Bobsled and Skeleton Team at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea this February – you might be surprised to learn their sleek bobsleds and skeleton sleds are made right here in North Carolina by Mooresville-based deBotech Inc.
Founded by North Carolina natives Hans deBot and his wife, Jamye, in 1998, deBotech, Inc., specializes in carbon fiber – a super strong, lightweight material used in everything from sports equipment to electric cars, race cars, planes, sailboat masts, military applications and more to make them lighter, stronger and faster. Since 2002, deBotech has been involved in building bobsleds and skeleton sleds for the U.S. Olympic teams.
“I had a driver come to me and ask if I’d help build a U.S. Olympic bobsled, and I didn’t know anything about bobsleds at the time,” deBot says.
After researching Olympic rules and regulations, deBot produced an advanced carbon-fiber sled using his knowledge of lightweight racing products, having previously helped develop products for NASCAR and other forms of racing. His sled attracted attention at the 2002 Olympics, and the rest, as they say, is history.
“We now build all the bobsleds and skeletons for the U.S. Olympic teams, including all the BMW bobsleds,” deBot says. “We’re currently in the design process for a new bobsled. We’re highly sought after because of our attention to detail and our understanding of building a quality carbon fiber product.”
The USA Bobsled and Skeleton Team made history at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, winning four medals in bobsled events and two in skeleton. They also contributed to winning a gold medal at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.
“We’re really excited about the 2018 Olympics – we hope to win a bunch more medals for our U.S. teams,” deBot says.
Building sports equipment is only one of the many industries deBotech serves. The company has built products for General Motors’ Corvette and Camaro programs, Chrysler’s Viper program, NASCAR and other forms of racing, military, aerospace, and products for everyday people.
“I take pride in helping everyday people, not only Olympic athletes,” deBot says. “I had a young man come to me who had been paralyzed in an accident from the waist down and wanted to go back to wakeboarding – something he once loved. We partnered with another Mooresville business, Anthony’s Fabrication, and put together a wakeboard he could use with his upper body strength, strapping himself into a sit ski bucket. Now he can enjoy wakeboarding again.”
People often call deBotech for support in the design of their products.
“We’ve done a lot of diverse things,” deBot says. “We were able to help a veterinarian from Texas develop prosthetics for dogs. We helped him turn three-legged dogs back into four-legged dogs.”
In 2015, deBot was inducted into the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Hall of Fame at North Carolina State University. That same year, deBotech received an industry award from the North Carolina Motorsports Association for positively affecting the motorsports community within the state.
DeBot says he owes a lot of his success to the strong work ethic instilled in him by his mother and his father, who was an immigrant from Holland.
“Being an immigrant, my dad was never afraid of hard work, and my biggest asset was him instilling that in me,” deBot says. “The best path to take is often the most difficult one. My wife and I started our business in our garage, and we now employ 50 people. We take pride in positively affecting lives around us.”
In 2015, deBot was named Mooresville’s Businessman of the Year.
“Mooresville is Race City, USA, and without Mooresville and its racing heritage, my company wouldn’t be able to support all the industries we support,” deBot says. “Because of that, I do all I can to support my community, even bringing Olympic teams here. I’m proud of where I am.”
– Jessica Mozo