When the U.S. Olympic athletes enter the stadium in PyeongChang, South Korea for the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics next week, they are sure to feel a mix of emotions – excited, proud, hopeful and maybe a bit nervous. But one thing they won’t feel? Cold. That’s thanks to heavy-duty, cutting-edge down parkas designed by Ralph Lauren and made exclusively by U.S. companies – including one innovative WBE, Butler Technologies, Inc.
Butler Technologies, a women-owned high-tech precision screen company based outside of Pittsburgh, PA, partnered with DuPont to produce a centerpiece of the coat’s design – a high-tech wearable printed heater in the form of an American flag placed inside the coat’s back panel. The printed heater provides up to 11 hours of continuous warmth, something athletes will be likely be grateful for in frigid PyeongChang, where temperatures average around 15° F.
Nadine Tripodi, owner and president of Butler Technologies, said the company was not originally aware that this printed heater project with DuPont was for the Olympics, but once they found out, she and her staff were immensely proud and excited. She credits a long history of partnering with both suppliers and customers to research and test innovative products and technologies as to what led to this type of high-profile work.
But above all, Nadine appreciates the commitment Ralph Lauren has made to American technology and manufacturing in producing the U.S. Olympic apparel.
“We strongly believe and support the value of American manufacturing,” she says. “We’ve been in business in this country for 30 years and we’ve seen some ups and downs. It’s really meaningful for us that we can be a strong manufacturer and continue to promote what we can do in this country. I’m so excited Ralph Lauren has taken on this attitude when creating the apparel for the Olympics.”
Since this project, Nadine has already started collaborating with other U.S. companies involved in the jacket technology and anticipates the interest in wearable technology to grow.
“I think it’s going to snowball here,” she says. “We’ve already received several inquiries for heating for footwear and other articles of clothing.”
- Ready to see the coats in action? The 2018 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies will take place Friday, February 9. Learn more.
- Read more about the jackets in Ralph Lauren Magazine.