Gilson Boards

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Ever since he was a teenager, Nick Gilson had a vision for an innovative new snowboard design. The idea stayed on the back burner for a long time, but a few years ago he teamed up with friend Austin Royer and, in the true spirit of the maker movement, created a fabrication shop in his basement. The first prototypes of a new board were made.

After months of trial and error, the boards began to embody a revolutionary new base design. Adding a couple members to their team, Gilson Boards began to take shape.

Excited to get their boards on the market, the team came to the Bucknell University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) where they received guidance in business planning and capital formation. Building on that relationship, Gilson Boards tapped into the center’s Engineering Development Services, where they collaborated with students and faculty from Bucknell’s College of Engineering in research and product development. After months of 3D modeling, computer simulation, and analysis of their materials and unique board geometry, Gilson was ready to demonstrate their new technology on tour. In just 45 days, over 1500 riders on slopes nationwide tested their prototypes. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive: “It made me a better snowboarder,” one rider said. Another remarked, “That board is phenomenal.” Gilson Boards was getting noticed, even being featured in Wired Magazine.

Today, Gilson Boards has an innovative manufacturing facility on the appropriately named “Mountain View Road” near New Berlin. They continue to partner with the SBDC on product development and management assistance and are members of Bucknell University’s Entrepreneurs Incubator (BUEI). As BUEI members, they benefit from the Greater Susquehanna Keystone Innovation Zone program, which sponsored engineering analysis through an “Innovation Grant.” In addition, the Innovative Manufacturers Center (IMC), a partner in the central Pennsylvania Partnership for Regional Economic Performance (PREP) with the SBDC, has helped Gilson innovate and improve their manufacturing processes to drive further growth.

Gilson states, “From the top, the board appears to be a standard snowboard. It is not. Turning the board over reveals the most technologically advanced snowboard on the market.” Gilson Boards is bringing about real change in the industry and is committed to doing it in central Pennsylvania, employing a highly skilled and growing workforce, leveraging regional partnerships, and utilizing local raw materials. Gilson Boards is a small business making a big impact!