An Old Knee Injury Gives Retired Executive a Chance at Entrepreneurship

By Martin, Claire | International New York Times, December 3, 2013 | Go to article overview

An Old Knee Injury Gives Retired Executive a Chance at Entrepreneurship


Martin, Claire, International New York Times


Entering the business of biomechanically engineered tights, a retiree joins many baby boomers who have become entrepreneurs late in life.

When Kim Gustafson moved to Vail Valley in Colorado more than a decade ago, he was 54 and had recently retired as an executive in the office-equipment business. But he wasn't ready to stop working. "I'm not the type of person who wanted to play checkers," he says.

Mr. Gustafson is one of a growing number of baby boomers starting businesses later in life -- though that was not his original plan. Initially, he worked as a ski instructor. But he found that degenerative arthritis and the wear-and-tear of his rigorous skiing schedule were exacerbating an injury he had sustained several years earlier after falling from a ladder.

Mr. Gustafson sought treatment at the Steadman Clinic, an orthopedic surgery center based in Vail, eventually undergoing five knee surgeries. To continue to teach skiing, he was told, he would need to wear a hard, cumbersome knee brace every time he hit the slopes.

As he grew accustomed to the brace, he began to wonder whether people with less vulnerable joints than his might benefit from a more pliable and comfortable form of knee support -- perhaps a pair of tights. To explore this possibility, he turned to a group of biomechanical experts at the Steadman Philippon Research Institute, a branch of the Steadman Clinic.

Coincidentally, the researchers had been contemplating something similar, and they began drawing sketches of nylon and spandex tights embedded with bands of rigid fabric to protect the knees by restoring them to their natural alignment.

Mr. Gustafson and scientists from the institute struck an unusual agreement: They would develop the tights together, and if the product reached the marketplace, the institute would receive royalties to be applied to future research projects or the hiring of scientists. Within two years, Mr. Gustafson started a company he eventually called Opedix and began selling the biomechanically engineered tights online.

His decision to start a business in his late 50s is far from unusual. A report this year by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation found that late-in-life entrepreneurs -- ages 55 to 64 -- now make up 23 percent of new business owners, up from 14 percent in 1996. And the results of a survey released this month by the Pew Research Center showed that baby boomers were less likely to say that job security was "extremely important" to them than members of two younger groups: millennials and members of Generation X -- suggesting an inclination toward entrepreneurship.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

An Old Knee Injury Gives Retired Executive a Chance at Entrepreneurship
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.