Queensbury’s KIRSH Helmets Revolutionizes Their Industry: Meet Donnie DeVito
Jason Kirshon, an avid motorcyclist who lives in Lake George, realized that most people he saw on the roads were wearing unsafe novelty helmets instead of the safer, albeit more bulky and uncomfortable, version approved by the Department of Transportation.
KIRSH Helmets was co-founded in 2017 by Jason Kirshon and Donald (Donnie) A. DeVito II. Unlike conventional motorcycle helmets, the helmet Jason invented has a soft interior that measures just 0.5 inches in thickness. In addition to being comfortable, it also stays in place without slipping and has no wind drag. The KIRSH Helmet conforms to heads of all shapes and sizes and contains a fluid-structure interior bringing comfort that is unmatched in other helmets. The business employs 19 people as well as 18 independent agents across the country.
We spoke with Donnie, who is not only Co-Founder, but also President, and Chief Operating Officer of the business, about why KIRSH chose Warren County, and why you should too.
Tell us more about you first, Donnie.
I was an officer in the U.S. Army and the New York Army National Guard, last serving as a Captain in the 10th Mountain Division. I’m a distinguished honor graduate of the U.S. Army Intelligence School and a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry School. Prior to this, I was a Senior Vice President with both Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch and I have worked in the financial sector for more than 30 years.
I have been involved in multiple start-ups and when I met Jason back five years ago, I was looking for someone to accompany that I could mentor. Bringing his innovation into an industrialized product, along with the amazing team that we have, is very fulfilling.
We just started shipping the helmets to customers and dealers this month and are feeling blessed to reach this milestone as the world struggles through the pandemic. Even the hardest working entrepreneurs do not succeed on their own. It takes the unified effort of hundreds of people, employees, investors, customers and strategic partners to build this company into what we believe it will be.
Tell us what is unique about KIRSH Helmets.
Our technology. Fluid Displacement Liner (FDL) technology “flips the script” on how safety helmets are engineered. The fluid technology creates a whole new benchmark for the style, performance and comfort benefits available in a safety helmet.
Our core values. We’re 100% Made in the USA, the only motorcycle safety helmet manufacturer to be. Isn’t that incredible when you think of riders and the patriotic values they embody? Bringing manufacturing back to the United States is the core of our DNA and the fabric of our company.
We are ultra-committed to hiring Veterans and Americans with Disabilities to manufacture & assemble our helmet technology, fulfill orders, and support customers. Because our team stands for our customers so well, we won’t deliver anything less than our absolute best to our customers.
Our people. Whether it’s an employee, advisor, investor, business partner or a friend or fan of KIRSH, it really is a family dynamic here and everyone has contributed to and is part of the story.
Why choose Queensbury for your business?
The community’s values – Queensbury loves and fosters manufacturing. Seeley Machine is a shining example. This community loves its veterans. They support motorcycle riders. This area is so rich in manufacturing and technology ability, of which we’ll tap more as we grow further.
Also, connectivity to the Capital Region. The proximity to I-87 means that key business partners and vendors are within 45 minutes of our facility, if not in the same building (again, Seeley Machine). We’re also close to leading academic institutions such as RPI, Siena, a rich tradition of Community Colleges and Vocational Training as well as other training programs, which have been such a key part of the KIRSH story.
Our CEO and inventor, Jason Kirshon is committed and rooted in this area, being a Lake George native himself.
What do you find unique about Warren County?
Warren County has a rich history of birthing companies that are game-changers. This area provides support to businesses large and small, including start-ups and emerging companies.
The lifestyle here is unmatched. Warren County has world-class outdoor recreation all at a low cost of living.
Warren County has always been in our plans. I’ve worked in the Adirondacks and the North Country before and it’s part of who we are. We see the beauty and the depth this area has to offer, along with the community values and the workforce, the access to the larger community and the Capital Region.
What would you say to business owners considering relocation to Warren County?
Here you have access to major transportation routes, hubs, and major markets. It’s only four hours to New York City, Boston, and Montreal.
There is direct funding access and program support from the EDC of Warren County and SUNY Adirondack among many other community assets.