In Native American Pawnee culture, Atira is an earth goddess and protector of every living creature. In today's world, first responders are the ones who have our backs, putting their lives on the line every day to protect ours. Not only do they expose themselves to the dangers of fire and smoke inhalation, they also risk long-term health effects from the harsh, toxic ingredients found in chemical fire–fighting products.
Knowing there must be a better solution, ATIRA® co–founders Jeff Denholm and Stephen Haddix sought to create a product that could fight fires more effectively, while also reducing harm to firefighters and the environment. And so FBG–I, the non–toxic fire–block gel that lets firefighters do more with less, was born.
Jeff, who is honored to serve as an athletic ambassador for Patagonia–a leader in sustainable business–is a strong believer in the company's mission statement of using business
This belief is reflected in his commitment to creating a sustainable solution for the firefighting industry, and a dedication to giving back to those who give their all.
No stranger to overcoming obstacles himself, Jeff is a former Professional Mariner and Commercial Diver who lost his dominant arm in the engine room of an Alaskan trawler. Nevertheless, that hasn't stopped him from overcoming the physical setback and excelling at several action sports, including but not limited to, being an internationally recognized surfer and long–distance paddleboard athlete. The same tenacity that enables him to excel as an athlete also fuels his drive as the founder of a company whose mission is to make the world a better place.
Seeking a fire retardant for his Wildfire Equipment Company, Jeff was struck by disturbing statistics about the toxicity of current offerings, and asked himself, "What if we could come up with a non–toxic product that is more effective at fighting fires of all types without doing unnecessary harm?" He discovered that there are milions of gallons of flame retardant dumped into natural resources every year, significantly damaging our planet, all while exposing firefighters to toxic chemicals. So began Jeff's drive to create a product that not only saves lives and structures, but does no harm to the earth.
Armed with the insight that fire–block gel was the future of firefighting, a chance encounter brought Jeff together with ATIRA® business partner Steve Haddix, who, as luck would have it, was in the process of developing just the product he was looking for.
Having grown up on a grass–seed farm in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, where he participated in seasonal field burns with the Redland Fire Department, Steve developed a deep respect for the land, and was inspired at a young age to become a firefighter. While in college, he volunteered for and was ultimately hired by the City of Corvallis Fire Department, working his way through firefighter to engineer and paramedic, while completing a degree in mechanical engineering. A gifted engineer driven by a relentless work ethic, Steve eventually embarked on a career that culminated in developing a corporation that became a "sole source supplier" to Boeing's 777 program.
As a certified firefighter to this day, Steve is passionate about finding a better and safer solution to fighting wildland and structural fires, the number of which have risen alarmingly over the past decade.
ATIRA Systems® is the professional nexus of both Jeff and Steve's entrepreneurial spirit and passion for the environment. Together with you, ATIRA® looks forward to changing the future of fire–fighting – starting now.