For the second year in a row, Visible Good was invited to the Extreme Cold Weather/High Altitude Symposium sponsored by USARAK, the Army’s Alaska Command. This year the Visible Good team, supported by Unifire, our distributor, brought a cold weather-equipped RDM, complete with lighting, power distribution and HVAC system for demonstration. When one of the avionics group chiefs saw the RDM and all of its plug & play systems – he took it. The full system is now being used at Ft. Wainwright as a temperature controlled crew chief office/ready room inside the vast, historic, Hangar 1 building at Wainwright (pictured below). After initial testing and evaluation there, the shelter will be disassembled and prepped for shipment to a remote mountain site for use in cold weather survival training exercises.
December 2016: Congressman Seth Moulton, District 6, gets a private showing of the Visible Good Shelter. Due to the Congressman’s busy schedule he hasn’t been able to make time to visit Visible Good at our Newburyport warehouse. We understand, so when the opportunity arose to visit the Peabody City Hall for the 6th District Economic Development Federal Resource Forum, Visible Good decided to bring a shelter to him. Here’s a photo of the Shelter setup directly parallel to the City Hall and only steps from Moulton’s parking spot – indeed the efforts were rewarded and Congressman Moulton spent some time with the Visible Good team inside the shelter on his way into the forum.
THE FOOD PROJECT – Ben Zoba
Ben from the FOOD PROJECT is proudly HUGGING his Shelter.from our smaller field on the north side of Larch Row to the bigger field on the south side.
They generously took time out of their day to teach me and Susan how to disassemble and reassemble their genius RDM structure that Felix Twaalfhoven donated and Visible-Good delivered last Spring. I’m super-thankful for the generosity of Felix and John to provide us with a great (mouse-proof!!!) storage/office space at our Wenham Land!
September 2016 – Visible Good wins Mass Ventures STAGE 2 Grant 2016 Winners Mass Ventures
November 10, 2015: Unifire Acquisition Press Release
Visible Good is happy to confirm that Unifire Inc, the companies leading distributor has acquired the Tactical Division of SourceOne Distributors. This acquisition will substantially increase the distribution reach for both Visible Good and Unifire. The acquisition will provide access to over $10 Billion in US contracts such as the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Special Operational Equipment Tailored Logistics Support Program (Formerly Prime Vendor), GSA schedules, and a Blanket Purchase Agreement with the Department of Homeland Security.
GIZ Magazine – Article Dec 6th, 2015
Disaster By Design: Innovation Emergency Relief Shelters
Visible Good is touted as one of the worlds leading shelter solutions. Take a look.
Visible Good and members of the US Army team spent a full day on top of Mount Washington, where the site was closely reviewed and analyzed as a potential Field Test site for the Army developed Arctic Shelter System designed and manufactured by contract holder Visible Good. The visit was used to explore adequate testing sites for the 400 sf version of the Arctic RDM. No plans have been finalized, but the experience of subjecting the extreme-weather version of the RDM to some of “…the worst weather on Earth…” is exciting. Wind conditions often range between 100-200mph at the observation point, coupled with temperatures as cold as -50 F and snowfall of as much as 4 feet in 24 hours. Mt. Washington might just be ….The ultimate cold weather test conditions.
Mount Washington’s weather is notoriously extreme. In winter, Mount Washington experiences sub-zero temperatures, hurricane-force winds, snow and ice that essentially turn the peak into an Arctic outpost in a temperate climate zone. In fact, winter conditions at its summit can rival those of Mount Everest.
Visible Good has been working closely with it’s lead distributor, Unifire Inc., located in Spokane, Washington. Unifire Inc. has over 30 years of experience in supplying Federal and State agencies along with commercial clients with dozens of critical products needed for some of the most demanding situations imaginable. President and owner, Dan Raczykowski says “The Visible Good shelter system is an Integral Part of the temporary shelter Solution” and sees the RDM as a pivotal product that is coming to market at precisely the right time. The Shelters and Connector accessory are to be used as demonstration pieces for active presentations at Camp Pendleton, Fairchild Air Force Base and other locations in the next couple of months. These agencies have been in pursuit of easily erectable hard walled shelter systems to replace old and inefficient tents and trailers.
By Cindy Atoji Keene
With more than 30 million people displaced from their homes by natural disasters last year, architect John Rossi is on a mission to develop a new emergency shelter design that could prove useful during a humanitarian crisis. Co-founder of Visible Good, based in Newburyport, Rossi has devised a lightweight, folding modular shelter called a “Rapid Deployment Module” (RDM) that is a hybrid between a trailer and a tent and can be used in emergency situations by first responders, aid agencies, and even educators and the military.
Q: Are there any real-world examples of this module in use?
A: The RDM shelter was used by British Petroleum (BP) environmental cleanup crews in the ongoing cleanup operation of the Deep Water Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. We sent several to Oklahoma this summer to provide temporary housing for families who lost their home after the tornadoes. In addition, after prototype models survived harsh environments, included hurricane conditions and a near miss by several tornadoes, the U.S. Army awarded us with a grant to research and develop an “extreme” module that can withstand bitter Antarctica cold or scorching desert heat and endure 100 mile winds. ]
Q: There are many emergency shelter technologies – what makes yours different?
A: The name “Rapid Deployment Module” says it all. Some emergency shelters can take quite a while to put up – even days. Ours can be assembled in under 30 minutes with no tools. The parts themselves are universal, like a Lego, and the buildings fit together to make bigger buildings or more versatile spaces. The semi-permanent shelter arrives in its own crate, which is actually the floor. Because of this integrated floor structure, it sits slightly off the ground, which is a good benefit in wet or rubble-strewn areas.
Q: You’ve been working on prototypes of the shelters for years. What inspired you to begin your first sketch?
A: I was doing a ton of work in the module world, those prefabricated houses that show up in a few pieces and go together in a day. I wondered what it would be like to have a tiny building in a flat-pack that could expand to the biggest building you can get. Nine years ago, I did a handful of sketches then put them away, took them out again three years ago after the devastation in Haiti and the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The initial concept was inspired by the plastic shopping cart “parking lots” that you see in supermarkets.
Q: Millions of people are displaced from their homes by natural disasters, including recently, hundreds of Chinese who were victims of an earthquake. What happened to most of these people?
A: According to a United Nations release, what often happens is many people actually never end up going back to where they are from. Relocation becomes semi-permanent, if not permanent. In Haiti, for example, there are still hundreds of thousands living in tent camps. This can be a problem because the camps become very permanent places but the infrastructure is very temporary, often with no sanitation, lights or water, and lots of safety and security issues.
Q: There are loads of case studies on failed sheltering projects because the team didn’t consider the cultural context of the application.
A: That’s a very thorny issue. It’s very hard to manufacture something at a reasonable cost that’s customizable across cultures. I won’t say I cracked the code on that one. But in Haiti, I noticed that people started putting graffiti on trailers; they turned a blank canvas and turned it into something that is their own. I think it’s their way of taking possession of these foreign big white boxes and making them a reflection of their culture. I would completely welcome that on any of our installations.
Q: You have a demonstration RDM set up in Newburyport. How do you use it?
A: I’m sitting in here right now, talking on the phone. The vent screens are open, and there’s a little folding table and desk chair. You don’t need a lamp because the roof is translucent and there’s plenty of natural daylight. It’s a very standard module, set up per the 20-picture installation diagram. We spend time working in it, and one engineer’s son, Liam, does his homework here and has even slept in it. He’s 13 years old, and we like to say the shelter has passed the “Liam test.”
Visible Good has been engaged in talks with World Education, a Boston-based organization That “…improves the quality of life through education for half a million children and adults in 22 countries…” and is one of UNICEF’s largest partners for education in Nepal. Our talks center on RDM units for use as replacement schools for the thousands of buildings destroyed or damaged by the devastating earthquake in April and the follow-on tremors. The World Bank has stated that the recovery in Nepal is likely to take ten years. With 40+ year’s experience in Nepal, World Ed is taking the long view and Visible Good is happy to support their efforts. We are currently seeking funding to support the assembly of a dedicated inventory for this purpose. If interested in providing financial support for this effort, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.