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How did a Lumberjack invent MILITEC-1®?

The Early Days

Nearly 40 years ago, if you'd asked someone how to find Brad Giordani, the answer might have been, "Go climb a tree!" They wouldn't have been kidding. In the summer of 1976, Giordani was a lumberjack living at the base of Mount Rainer in the Pacific Northwest. Wilderness logging on Washington State's Cascade Range may seem an unlikely place to find someone destined to invent a technologically sophisticated lubricant, but Brad was there setting chokers and cutting timber. For ten years, he worked in terrible conditions of constant rain, snow, and mud up to mid-calf. Those tough conditions taught him many lessons, one of which would change his life.

In the logging profession, one wrong move can be fatal. Falling trees can kick back (known as a "barber chair") and hit the logger. An incorrectly dropped tree can crush you instantly. A sprained ankle or broken leg is often just a step away. Of course, Giordani had many close calls and narrow escapes, but even with the mastery that comes from ten years' experience, there was one extremely dangerous job that still troubled him - chain sawing a back-cut on a leaning hardwood tree.

Chain saws rely on a small reservoir of "bar" oil to lubricate the chain. This small reservoir can unexpectedly run dry and if this happens during the back-cut on a leaning hardwood, disaster strikes. The chain sticks abruptly, the tree splits with a thundering sound, and flying wood can injure or kill the logger. Brad had a few near misses with back cuts, so he realized that keeping his chain saw properly lubricated could be a matter of his own life or death.

Shortly after Mount Saint Helens erupted, a fellow lumberjack showed Giordani a new oil additive product. It promised to maintain lubrication even if the bar oil reservoir ran dry, keeping the chain sharp longer and even helping cut through the volcanic ash. If the claims were true, the additive would boost production while saving lives, so Giordani decided to try it. To his surprise it seemed to work. The chain saw had never run better or cut so well. Giordani was an immediate convert and began using this "Infomercial" oil in his logging equipment, his personal vehicles, and anything else he could think of. He even joined a Multi-Level Marketing program and started selling it to anybody who would listen.

Then the problems started. Feedback from other salespeople and Brad's own personal experience quickly showed the additive had serious faults. If you used too much, or used it too often, internal metal parts would corrode, rubber seals would fail, and a waxy residue would gum up the internal oil passageways. Though it worked well initially, the additive actually ended up ruining the very parts it was meant to protect. A short-term increase in performance at the price of destroying machinery is a poor trade-off.

Since the shortcomings outweighed the advantages, Giordani began searching for other products but after extensive research he concluded that existing oil-additive products had troublesome disadvantages. Some just made the oil thicker with no definable advantage. Others, though initially acceptable, had extreme pressure oils that decomposed and thickened with use, ultimately clogging the oil galleries and passageways. Some products contained fine particles of metal or other microscopic solids or powders meant to aid lubricity and metal adsorption, but they became abrasive or left gummy residues. Still others contained unstable blends of waxy substances requiring heavy doses of solvent to allow them to dissolve in the carrier oil. When heated to engine temperatures, the solvents would evaporate leaving the wax free to coat the inside of the engine and oil filter. Unfortunately, none solved the problem. Brad wanted the superior lubrication the additives promised without the unacceptable consequences.

The Vision

This problem invigorated his intellect. What if the deficiencies of these products could be eliminated while retaining the benefits? What if a product could be developed to offer constant lubrication without destroying the equipment it was used on? In a pivotal moment of insight, Giordani decided that he could be that inventor, and he made a commitment to the goal of creating this lubricant.

But the problems seemed insurmountable. Giordani's funds were limited. He knew nothing about organic chemistry. He also realized that even if he managed to create the elusive formula, the task would only be half over - he'd still have the daunting requirement of thoroughly testing it and then convincing the marketplace of its worth. For most of us, Giordani's next step might not seem intuitive. Obviously, the deep woods offered little hope of conducting intensive, real-world lubricant research and development. Brad needed to go someplace where he could find the necessary knowledge, resources, and facilities to allow him to develop, test, and market a new lubricant. Furthermore, he needed to be able to do it on an exceptionally tight budget. Who could he turn to, and where?

Brad's answer was the United States Government. He knew the government provided funds for entrepreneurial development and even access to research labs. Eventually, the government might even supply the necessary testbed for proving his product in real-world situations. So, in a leap of faith that only another entrepreneur would understand, Giordani packed up his belongings and moved from Washington State to Washington, DC.

So an (now) ex-lumberjack decided to move from the forests of the Pacific Northwest to Washington, DC to develop a new lubricant with no specialized knowledge of organic chemistry or lubrication technology, limited contacts in DC, and not even a place to stay. All he had was an idea, a few thousand dollars, and a strong desire to succeed. Not a formula for success! But Giordani is not the kind of person to shy away from a challenge. For example, during the Vietnam War in 1972, while only sixteen, he joined the US Army and ended up becoming the Military Karate Champion of South Korea in the spring of 1974. No task is too large for a person with this kind of drive. As far as Brad was concerned, the biggest problem was not how to create the lubricant, but rather how long it would take.

Hard Work

After settling in Washington DC, Brad went through a series of insider maneuvers that bordered on the miraculous. He was befriended by William Patrick Collins, at the time the youngest-ever Undersecretary of Energy during the Reagan Administration. Collins provided Giordani with several key contacts, including government engineers and chemists based in the area. Working with these specialists, Giordani quickly acquired an intimate knowledge of certain very specific aspects of synthetic chemistry. He continued his education by teaming up with a chemical company, where he learned the specifics necessary to begin product development, including the chemical reactor process that is now used to produce MILITEC-1®.

After years of hard work, Giordani achieved his technical breakthrough in 1988. He had invented the new lubricant MILITEC-1® Synthetic Metal Conditioner. Just as he had envisioned years earlier in the Pacific Northwest, MILITEC-1® was an exceptional  synthetic lubricant that provided constant lubrication and corrosion protection in the absence of an oil film. By physically and chemically impregnating itself into the metal, MILITEC-1® formed a completely new chemical compound on the metal's surface. Furthermore, MILITEC-1® achieved this without the use of solvents, waxes, carrier oils, or solid particles. In short, MILITEC-1® had all the advantages of its predecessors, but none of the negative aspects that plagued them, making it unique in the lubrication market.

There are two separate keys to Giordani's breakthrough. First, it is an exclusive formula that combines a unique synthetic-based starting material with natural anti-corrosion ingredients, extremely stable chlorate esters, anti-oxidant compounds, and synthetic ester base stocks. Second, it uses a proprietary chemical reactor process that transforms the blend of separate ingredients into one single chemical compound: MILITEC-1®. The genius of his invention lay in the combination of the two. Of course, Brad is the first to acknowledge that he could not have done it alone. His accomplishment owes a great debt to a variety of sources, but ultimately he put it all together.

The Tests

Just as Brad predicted, developing the formula was the easy part. Next he had to prove that the product worked. Winning marketplace support involved years of testing. He knew that MILITEC-1® was superior to anything he had seen tested before, however, he still did not know exactly how much better or if there would be any unanticipated downside with long-term use. To get things going, he again called on his DC connections. The US Marines gave MILITEC-1® its first official test, then the US Secret Service. The results surpassed their expectations. 

In 1988, The Drug Enforcement Administration became the first Federal Agency to formally adopt MILITEC-1® after witnessing a test conducted by Marine Corps officers at the FBI's rifle range at Quantico, VA. The test firearms, suppressor-equipped MP-5's, showed frequent jams and other malfunctions in fully automatic mode using a MIL-Spec weapons lubricant. When MILITEC-1® was applied, the malfunctions immediately ceased and the weapons performed flawlessly. Concurrently, the US Navy tried many destructive tests, but MILITEC-1® passed them all. When the Navy finished testing, their Medical Command gave MILITEC-1® environmental approval for use aboard nuclear-powered submarines, making MILITEC-1® the only product of its kind to receive approval for use in closed operational environments.

People were impressed, and word of the new lubricant spread rapidly. But some skeptics remained, and each new group designed fresh tests to challenge the findings of the previous group. Not surprisingly, public and private sector testing of MILITEC-1® continues to this day, and includes the automotive and industrial markets. In fact, no other product of its kind has ever been tested so rigorously and by so many technically equipped groups. Yet, in all those years, MILITEC-1® has never failed a field test that utilizes actual environmental conditions and equipment, and has never suffered a single product liability claim, proving its worth to the most scientific and technically oriented communities.

The Formula

It is important to note that MILITEC-1® 's formula as never changed.  It is still exactly as formulated in 1988, with no modifications or "enhancements". Brad got it right the first time. So nearly 30 years after its creation, the superior lubricant invented by the former lumberjack is used and respected around the world. Through unflinching devotion to an idea, Brad Giordani's hard work and vision became a reality.