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Winner in: 2007

Current performance undergarments that firefighters, military personnel and other first responders wear can burn like a candle if set afire. driFire has created a fire-retardant and moisture-wicking fabric that not only keeps the wearer safe from flames, but comfortable and dry as well. When demonstrated at the Illinois Fire Academy in Champaign, the garments were a huge hit. As a result, the Department of Homeland Security provided a grant to the Fire Academy to further research driFire’s application for a possible contract with the military, which has led to a successful line of Military-focused products. Between 2008 and 2010, the company grew over 300 percent in sales, and in 2009, driFire was awarded the ‘New Product of the Year’ award by Occupational Health & Safety, an industry-leading trade magazine.