About Us

Propel LLC is  a product innovation company focused on the development, sales, and marketing of innovative textile driven technologies.  Our primary markets are the US Military and Fire Service.  We are  problem solvers and solution finders.  We are avid listeners with a solid understanding of the science and nuances required in these markets.

Propel has received US Army R&D contracts  to develop textile technology solutions that have transitioned to acquisition. We were competitively awarded two Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Contracts by the US Navy, for Stitchless Seam Engineering (Phases I, II and III contracts) and Advanced Wireless Textiles (currently in Phase II).   Propel also consults for many globally recognized companies, with current and past clients including Globe Manufacturing LLC, Patagonia Inc., Cascade Designs, Aspen Aerogels, Miltech, SSM Industries, Mustang Survival, and Sheep Venture Company.

Our knowledge and networking skills offer our clients exclusive and unique resources.  We are not tied to a single technology - instead  we work  back from the problem in order  to develop collaboratively across companies and industries to develop the best solution for the user.  We are an adjunct to our clients, both government and commercial, taking on the difficult & innovative tasks essential to the success of each project.

Clare King, president of Propel LLC, handling the material used to make one of the coats they are producing for the US Navy. The coats are produced with limited thread & needle, instead they are made using bonding and welding of the material.
PBN PHOTO/ MICHAEL SALERNO

Our Team

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Clare King

President and Owner

Clare started her career working in economic modeling, only to shift gears and start Cherry Tree, one of the first technical outdoor clothing companies for children. From there she followed her passion for technical textiles, working for companies both large and small, including GE, before founding Propel in 2006. Using a wealth of experience in textile materials and processes she is able to think about a problem and its solution from conceptualization through full scale manufacturing, with attention to both design and business detail.

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Bethany Pollack

VP of Business Innovation

Bethany joined Propel LLC in 2007. After ten years with the company, she is an expert in taking an innovative technology from an idea to full commercialization for all of Propel's clients. Bethany is known for her exceptional organizational capabilities, clear-sighted business sense, technical insights and her amazing ability to  focus  a project for success.

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Birgit Leitner

Head of Product Development

Birgit is an accomplished designer with years of experience in product design and development of technical apparel for both start-ups and global brands.  Her well rounded approach and understanding of the client’s unmet needs allows her to provide sound solutions to complex problems. Birgit holds several patents and joined Propel, LLC in 2014.

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Brigette Robichaud

Office / HR Manager

Brigette oversees finance, accounting, government contract compliance, human resources, and facilities. Brigette is customer focused, a good communicator, and a great problem solver. Before joining the company in 2015, Brigette worked in a broad range of accounting management roles in the construction, healthcare, insurance, and not-for-profit sectors.

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Arianna Buonanno

Design Associate / Social Media & Marketing Manager

Arianna joined Propel LLC in 2013 with a B.S. in Textiles, Merchandising, & Design.  She works close with technical industry professionals to concisely understand the needs of a garment to then develop and execute custom test protocols for new projects, as well as assisting in design.  She also is at the forefront of Propel's social media and marketing presence. Arianna creates intriguing and engaging posts to drive traffic and interest to the company.

Case Studies

Submarine Damage Control Suit ‘Steam Suit’

Propel was awarded a Phase III contract to use the efforts of our Phase I Stitchless R&D to design, build, and prototype an improved Damage Control Suit for submarine use. The design brief described one suit to fit anyone from 5ʼ2” to 6ʼ4”. Propel was able to meet this extraordinary design challenge by creating an…

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Stitchless Seam Engineering

Topic Title: Seam Engineering: Stitchless Seam Technology US NAVY SBIR PHASE I&II AWARDS TOPIC No.: N122-134 PHASE II Contract No.: N00189-15-C-Z087 This project is a technology pathway to the future of garment making – exploring the potential for new Stitchless methods to replace sewing with needle and thread. For our customer – the US Navy…

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E-Textiles & Smart Integrated Uniform™

Propel is engaged in multiple DOD SBIR funded efforts, and its own efforts to develop e-yarns, e-textiles and smart garments with a goal of connecting the human to the system, such as the sailor to the shipʼs system. Topic Title: Electronically Functional Garment Systems: A Smart Integrated Uniform (SIU™) Demonstration Prototype SBIR Phase II: N143-127…

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WASP™: Wearable Advanced Sensor Platform

Propel is a key member of the multi-company, multi-university team that has worked with Globe Manufacturing LLC, Pittsfield NH, to develop the first workplace wearable to continuously monitor a firefighterʼs physiology and indoor location. WASP™ collects, transmits, and displays integrated user data in real time to a command station or remote monitoring location. Knowing where…

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