Inspiring Conversations with Todd and Donald Drummond of Defend Our Children
Today we’d like to introduce you to Todd and Donald Drummond.
Hi Todd and Donald, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
Todd and Donald Drummond are the Father/Son inventors of the evolutionary Safe Space Security Desk and founders of Defend Our Children 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization
I, Todd, graduated high school in 1973 in a small town in upstate New York. College was not an option so I started out working locally as a technician in a Men’s Suit manufacturing company named M. Wiles. After 5 years an opportunity came up to work at Wembley Industries at a Tie manufacturing company in New Orleans as a Lead Technician & Process Engineer. The hardest decision I ever had to make in my life was to uproot my family, a wife, and 4-year-old daughter, and leave the only place I knew, a close family and hometown friends to go 1,250 miles away on a bet. Once in NOLA, the challenge of the job took my focus. After about a year, I had identified a major bottleneck in production flow. A time study confirmed my suspicions that stopping a processing machine to remove and neatly stack each tie was the culprit. It was clear that this removal process had to be automated in order to keep the machine operating full speed. With that in mind, a mechanical stacking concept came to mind and I spent the next few months refining sketches, building mock-ups and an eventual full-scale prototype. My automated stacker worked and immediately increased production 150%. This stacking machine, affectionately named “Sadie the Robot” was the first totally air-operated tie stacking system in the world, a defining moment in my career and my first corporate patent.
In 1984, based in part on the success of the “Sadie” patent, I was offered a position as manager of the research & development department in a startup advanced material R & D firm based in Minneapolis Minnesota area named Xerkon Inc. By now, relocation had become part of the job and second nature to the family. Within the next 5 years, I was granted 3 ballistic material corporate patents each for the aerospace industry. In 1989 Shell Oil bought Xerkon Inc. and decided it to align Xerkon’s technology and assets with a firm in Brea CA called Compositek Engineering. I spent the next 6 months overseeing Xerkon’s relocation to Brea CA while my wife & daughter stayed in a Residence Inn in Brea CA.
Near the completion of the Xerkon the 6 month relocation, I was offered a position as President of another ballistic material startup company on the Mag Mile in Chicago IL called Cooper Composites. Cooper wanted to expand their market presence into the aerospace industry which would be my next challenge. Within 2 years Cooper had recognizable presence in the aerospace market but as usual, by 1993 investors swooped in and bought Cooper Composites.
It was at this point that I realized that the advanced ballistic materials market was where I needed to be. The family was getting tired of relocating so with a few major contract potentials in my place, I decided to go out on my own creating Global Composites Inc. By now my daughter was starting college in Southern IL, my first son Donald was born and the wife felt that since we had the chance, it would be nice to be near family again so I ended up relocating to the NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis MS which was an hour from the wife’s hometown and the facility met all the federal security requirements necessary to comply with most of the aerospace and military contracts I had.
In 1996 I was asked if I would consider volunteering as a law enforcement officer with our local Sheriff’s Department. This was the last thing in the world I would have ever expected but off I went. I started out part-time on road patrol with occasional event support duties when time permitted. Then in 1999, my childhood dream came true, an opportunity to Co-own and drive a Top Sportsman Race car on the NHRA drag racing tour. As Global Composites contractual obligations were coming to a close, a full-time race schedule and law enforcement duties started taking over my schedule. I spent the next 10 years balancing schedules enjoying two of the most exciting and adrenaline-pumping jobs of racing a car traveling a ¼ mile in 6.9 seconds at 200 mph and law enforcement patrol in the County we decided to finally call our home.
By 2008, a full circuit race schedule was hard to fit into the demands and opportunities of law enforcement growth so I decided to stop racing and focus on law enforcement. I can say with absolute certainty 2 of the most rewarding assignments throughout my 20 years in law enforcement would first be the 4 years serving in our County schools system as a Nationally Certified School Resource Officer “SRO” where I specialized in school security and active shooter response tactical response expert and secondly having the honor of training and certifying new law enforcement officers as the Director of our Law Enforcement Training Academy before retiring in 2016.
My son, Donald, joined the Mississippi ARMY National Guard in 2010 and graduated from Mississippi State University in 2015 with a Bachelor’s in Building Construction Science. He was commissioned as an ARMY Engineering Officer in 2015. After graduation, he went to an ARMY advanced engineering school where he learned additional vertical, horizontal, and combat engineering topics. Combat engineering includes constructing bridges, clearing barriers with explosives, general explosive deployment, detecting and avoiding mines and other environmental hazards. Following school, he took a job with a civilian employer in project management where he has been involved in the construction of 7 projects totaling over $150M and over 650.000 sq. ft. He has focused on construction that gives back to the community such as healthcare buildings and is currently a Captain in an Engineering Unit that covers South Mississippi.
The Safe Space Security Desk Story
Invention concept – after a lifetime of watching the horrors of school shooting massacres, the Parkland School shooting on February 14th, 2018 hit a nerve. All my school safety training and background seemed to kick in and I felt that something had to be done to protect our children. The repeated senseless killings and the devastation it left behind had reached a tipping point. The heart wrenching pleading from parents begging “Somebody do something” and our children grasping the reality that they felt THEY needed to be able to “protect ourselves” because no one else was just too much.
I researched the school shooting safety protocols recommended by the Department of Homeland Securities Office of Public Safety are a 3 step process of Run, Hide or Fight or “RHF” protocol. The first option is to RUN from the threat, which is not always possible in a classroom, the second option is to look for places to HIDE, which again is not always available in a classroom and the third and last option is to first try to prevent the shooter from entering the room by stacking chairs or heavy objects in front of the door and prepare yourself to engage an active shooter, that has a weapon, and FIGHT them.
Any and all safety procedures of course are better than nothing but we feel very strongly that the existing RHF protocol can be greatly enhance and far more successful in a classroom attack with the tactical advantages provided by the SSSD. Now there would be no reason to RUN, they are sitting in the place they can “HIDE”, and never be expected to put themselves in harm’s way by preparing to engage or “FIGHT” an active shooter that has a weapon.
Enough is enough!
The Safe Space Security Desk Invention
Within a week of the Parkland shooting in February of 2018, a concept came to me from above for a classroom desk that a child could use every day that had ballistic protection and a place to hide within it.
So, Donald & I started looking at the problem through a tactical lens with the goal being to “prevent an attacker from ever having access to a child”.
“Our children needed to become a part of the solution, not the result of the problem”.
After collecting data from previous school incidents, we felt with reasonable certainty that the answer was this static ballistic desk that would prevent the child from ever having to leave the protective shielding of their own personal classroom desk. This desk would provide cover, concealment, and a safe space to enter to “shelter in place” until help could arrive.
I transitioned the ballistic desk concept into a 1/5th scale model and conducted multiple interviews with children, parents, teachers, school administrators, and even school maintenance to get their input on the overall concept and what they would like to see in a perfect classroom Safe Space Security Desk.
School Administration, loved the thought that the fear of injury or death during an active shooter event could be eliminated. They loved the organized lockdown condition the desk would provide for uncertainty of a fire alarm, weather emergencies, and the professional look they would give a classroom.
Teachers also felt the fear of an active shooter event could be eliminated, they wanted sleek and modern looks and be easy to clean, and they need the ability to rearrange the desks themselves and were ecstatic about all the advantages of the lockdown security and the return to a more learning environment.
School maintenance wanted them to be durable, be low maintenance, and transportable both in class and from class to class to accommodate yearly floor maintenance.
Children wanted comfort, loved the repositioning option with a separated chair vs the standard one-piece desk, they thought how cool it would be to have their own “mini teachers’ desk” to and proudly display their school logo or motto on the front of the desk and surprisingly they noted the peace of mind that they would have by not worrying about an attack at any moment by having a desk with “a really cool safe space” to enter for protection during a threat of injury event.
Parents, loved the security and the peace of mind knowing their children would be able to “instantly protect themselves” and that not having the constant fear and worry of a classroom attack may help their children to return to focusing more on the normal challenges of learning.
With this tremendous level of support and interest for the ballistic desk, I decided to come out of retirement to begin the process of obtaining a patent. By June of 2018, we hired a patent attorney, received a successful advanced worldwide patent search, and filed for a patent.
Sixteen very long and torturous months later, we received an uncontested and unconditional patent for “A Desk with Ballistic Material Attached Thereto” – USPTO patent # 10,591,258 B1, and the Safe Space Security Desk was born.
Next, we hired an amazing specialized engineering firm in Chicago called Rute Design Inc. to build us two demonstration models to meeting our criteria that would pass “BIFMA/ANSI” school product safety regulation testing, Federal ballistic mandates of NIJ Level IIIA handgun and the associated forces which could equal the impact force of a 16 lb. bowling ball hitting the desk at 70 mph. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.500_S%26W_Magnum
After we received these two models, we invited local officials, school administrators, and our local WLOX news to a demonstration of the desk and Q & A session. On February 14th, 2020, on the anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting in Parkland FL, we revealed the desk on our local news station WLOX which subsequently went viral receiving 8M views and 90% positive feedback.
This evolutionary “Safe Space Security Desk” is the only classroom “first line of defense” device that provides “initial contact security” with instant “cover” for children to instinctively “duck” out of sight behind the desk the moment they recognize danger with a safe space to enter and close the security door behind them for 360-degree shelter in place “Mini Safe Room” security thereby extending the time security has to locate and stop the threat.
These Security Desks provide 99.0% protection where otherwise there is 0%!
We have a manufacturing agreement with PS Security LLC to produce the desks and aligned with AMULET Technologies Inc. to provide the excellence of AMULET Ballistic Barrier protection. We arranged for nonprofit shipping discounts, onsite assembly with National Assemblers Inc. and teamed with school and building security assessment firms to review your school, private or government building entry security including courtrooms. This process takes massive time and energy to achieve and we are extremely delighted to announce that it is completed.
These desks are perfect for home-school remote learning with the added benefit of home invasion protection by providing a safe space “mini safe room” security! How many parents have no choice but to leave their teenage children home alone occasionally until they get home from work or running errands? You can’t put a price on peace of mind!
Initially one-off pricing of these desks is going to be high (price TBD) but larger orders such as equipping a classroom, an entire school, business entry or court room security will bring the costs down substantially.
We have established Defend Our Children Nonprofit with a mission to equip schools at no cost to the schools through the help of parent or grandparent ambassadors along with our nation’s corporate, professional sports, and philanthropic wealth thereby helping an incredible cause while earning a tax deduction. www.defendourchildren.org
Anyone know a professional sports organization or player that would help their community by equipping a school for their fans and get a tax deduction for doing it? We understand cost is important and will do all we can to bring costs down but we cannot sacrifice performance.
Remember our most valuable asset is our children. As a society and a nation, we must protect them, we owe it to them as their protectors. How much is a child’s life worth? Should it be expressed in money? The answer is NO, not ever!
Our children’s lives are our future. How many have we lost already that could have found cures for our many diseases, been community or national leaders, doctors, nurses, astronauts, inventors, mechanics, engineers, and skilled tradesman?
These evolutionary security desks will give children the ability to defend themselves in a school shooting, knife attacks, blunt force impact trauma, shielding from a tornado strike flying debris, thwart malicious fire alarms and provide a safe space retreat against bullying, sexual harassment.
Can you even remember a learning environment where our children were not scared of being attacked during class and could focus on gaining an education?
Finally, a topic we can all agree upon without politics, bias, discrimination, nationality, religion, or creed. Saving ALL our children from school violence worldwide.
The COVID-19 virus has been debilitating to our nation and we all pray it will be under control soon. The mental trauma and desperation it has already caused is here to stay. We can’t pretend it will not affect us anymore. These desks a necessity, not a luxury.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Waiting 18 months for a patent that saves children’s lives. Learning and overcoming the transition from concept to manufacturing. Satisfying the IRS Nonprofit requirements for Defend Our Children. Getting first article desks made to comply with all school and ballistic federal regulations, finding a qualified manufacture, and completing an agreement with them, most of which is in my story.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Defend Our Children Inc.?
Defend Our Children Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) Nonprofit set up with the mission of equipping less fortunate schools with Ballistic Safe Space Desks at no charge to the schools through donations from our nation’s wealth. Desks to protect children against bullets does not come cheap, but neither do funerals! www.defendourchildren.org
Can you talk to us about how you think about risk?
Nothing but risks from the start. Hiring an expensive attorney to complete a worldwide search and the risk of filing a patent application that adequately complies with the criteria necessary for a patent award as viewed by a “USPTO examiner listed below, any of which could disqualify a patent award.
The invention must have a “utility,” or in other words, be useful.
The invention must be “novel,” or new.
The invention must be “non-obvious,” meaning its use or function can’t be something that is simply the next logical step of an already patented invention.
Culture Change – will we be able to stop society from thinking their school is safe and not a shooter’s soft target?
Will the necessary expense of adding this level of security be understood as necessary?
My perspective on risk is by weighing it against the gain.
Donald, myself and our gracious donors to date are heavily invested in the confidence that our society will see that this school classroom Safe Space Security Desks is the ultimate layer of protection in school classroom security.
Email: email@example.com | Donald@defendourchildren.org
Other: Guidestar Platinum 2022
ORIGINAL SOURCE: https://voyagemichigan.com/interview/inspiring-conversations-with-todd-drummond-of-defend-our-children-inc/