Bucknell Engineering Team to Aid Gilson Snow in Water Sports Development

Bucknell SBDC and Gilson Snow officials

Awarded Grant from Gov. Wolf’s Manufacturing PA Initiative for Expansion

LEWISBURG, Pa. – Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf recently awarded a $70,000 grant through the Manufacturing PA initiative to Gilson Snow, Inc., of Winfield for development of a new water sports line. And just like the start of the company six years ago, professors and students from Bucknell University’s College of Engineering will be assisting in the unique design of Gilson’s new product line.

Bucknell mechanical engineering professors Craig Beal and Nate Siegel and up to five students will be working with the Gilson Snow team on developing new wakeboard designs and testing them through summer 2020.

“Our intent is to develop connections between the properties of wakeboards that we can control, like stiffness and weight, and the quality of the ride as perceived by the rider.” Siegel said. “This could enable us to design a board in a way that yields performance that we can predict. Our efforts will include simulations, sub-scale prototype testing in our flume facility, and full scale testing by experienced riders.”

Launched with entrepreneurial assistance from the Bucknell Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in 2013, Gilson Snow, Inc. initially developed its snowboarding and ski line through design assistance from Bucknell’s College of Engineering. Last year, Gilson Snow co-founder and CEO Nicholas Gilson was named Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the Eastern PA office of the U.S. Small Business Administration, and in May, it earned Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s Product Innovation Award for the design of its snowboard and ski equipment, which provides an enhanced and unique “feel” on the mountain.

“Throughout the long term relationship between Bucknell’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and Gilson Snow, we have observed their rapid growth and success in the snow sports industry, much of which appears due to their differentiated fluid dynamics design approach, in particular, their Soft Edge and S-Curve design features,” said Steven Stumbris, director of the Bucknell SBDC. “We believe that by helping to expand the scope of their work to the water sports market, we may be able to help stimulate additional job growth in Pennsylvania.”

Gilson is quick to cite the Bucknell “feel” to his business, which is now one of the fastest growing snowsports companies in the world, shipping snowboards and skis across North America, Europe, New Zealand, Australia and Asia.

“Bucknell University and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) have been instrumental in our success in snow sports, and we’re thankful to have their teams by our side as we take our first steps into water sports,” Gilson said. “The College of Engineering has provided invaluable resources and talent as we’ve tackled some of our biggest manufacturing and design challenges, and the SBDC has provided sound business counsel along the way, starting with a review of our first business plan back in 2013. The people that comprise the College of Engineering and the Bucknell SBDC are not only wildly intelligent and hardworking, but they are great people who make the work a whole lot of fun.”

Twenty-six projects received Gov. Wolf’s $1.7 million in Manufacturing PA funding to spur new technologies and processes in the manufacturing sector. The $70,000 awarded to Bucknell was the maximum amount for allowed one single grant.

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CONTACTS: Craig Beal, 570-577-2347, craig.beal@bucknell.edu; Nate Siegel, 570-577-3827, nps004@bucknell.edu; Nicholas Gilson, Gilson Snow, Inc., 401-787-3401, nick@gilsonsnow.com; Steven Stumbris, 570-577-3791, steven.stumbris@bucknell.edu; Mike Ferlazzo, 570-577-3212, 570-238-6266 (c), mike.ferlazzo@bucknell.edu

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