Loudoun’s Qore Performance Has Cooling PPE Gear Ready For First Responders As Weather Heats Up

#LoudounPossible Pod Justin Li Qore Performance

#LoudounPossible Pod Justin Li Qore Performance

On the sixth episode of the #LoudounPossible Pod, host and Loudoun Economic Development Executive Director Buddy Rizer welcomed on Justin Li, the co-founder and CEO of Qore Performance.

Li, a former Sheriff’s deputy in San Diego, had to battle the heat as part of his job, which included heavy tactical gear on manhunts and other missions. Studies had shown that cooling gear can be far more effective than anabolic steroids at enhancing endurance, which gave Li an idea.

“I took an old pair of compression shorts and I had my mom help me stitch pockets over the femoral artery, and then I stuffed Otter Pops in them. It’s all I had,” he said with a chuckle. “That’s kind of how it works. I didn’t even know how to turn on the sewing machine, to be honest with you, but there I was, a 30-year-old dude going to his mom’s house to stitch some underwear.”

From such humble beginnings, Li found many applications for his idea, including the 2014-16 Ebola crisis that ravaged parts of Africa and had effects around the world. The crisis inspired Li and his business partner to put their invention on Kickstarter in 2015, as well as to apply for the “Ebola Grand Challenge,” an innovation contest.

“They were looking for novel solutions to critical problems within the fight against Ebola,” Li explained. “Within that challenge, at the top of that list, was cooling under PPE, or personal protective equipment.

“When you suit up in what was called the Ebola suit at the time, a huge plastic apron, rubber gloves, duct tape, goggles, mask, etc., everything you need to protect you against exposure to the Ebola virus, the beauty of all of those things is that they keep the bad stuff out. What they don’t allow your body to do is regulate its temperature.

“Part of keeping the bad stuff out is keeping the heat in.”

Which brings us to the current fight against the novel coronavirus and COVID-19.

Listen to the full conversation with Justin Li and Qore Performance: