GTD Engineering provides world-class forensic services internationally. We specialize in injury biomechanics, event reconstruction and product safety to determine injury cause and prevention. Typical investigations include: collision and non-collision incidents, terminal ballistics, sporting equipment failures, recreational accidents, and violent encounters. During these investigations we build, test, bend, break, crash, shoot, deconstruct and reconstruct while measuring objective data to extract all critical information. With Federal Court qualifications and experience involving high profile clients such as the National Basketball Association, Cornell University, and TASER International, GTD Engineering brings all necessary knowledge and skill to provide the highest quality forensic engineering.
MO: What motivated you to launch GTD Engineering? What were some early challenges that you faced and how did you overcome them?
Dr. Desmoulin: Big questions. Prior to Deadliest Warrior ideas flowed but there was no traction, time seemed completely filled with “treadmill” activities at University with no way out but to keep the nose to the grind stone and follow the path of countless others, just as good as you, all competing for the few future positions to be had (Lesson #1: everyone starts at the bottom; Lesson #2: everyone works). Then, Tim Prokop (VP of Development for New Dominion Pictures) called looking for someone with my skillset. After searching through 2500 reel tapes of actors trying to be scientists and scientists trying to be actors he found the scientist that for lack of a better word, ‘ignored’ the camera. Enter HOLLYWOOD. After Deadliest Warrior aired there was no looking back… agents, fans, professors, teachers, attorneys, government agencies and corporations alike all engaged. It was due to this demand that GTD Engineering was born (Lesson #3: strike when the opportunity presents itself).
Early challenges were all management related. One of the worst misnomers about University education is that Ph.D.’s can manage. Hence, promoting myself to president early on was simply a mistake. Project management, management of people, administrative tasks, accounting, bookkeeping, marketing, client relations management, all suffered as a result. This lead to GTD Engineering’s first hire, Christina Stevens, an experienced manager with a background in mathematics and a “no time for excuses” attitude. She cranked back hard on the stick, punched the afterburners and muscled the management nosedive into a power climb of success. This also allowed me the time to work on what I was actually good at: providing evidence based conclusions for our clients (Lesson #4: focus on your strengths).
MO: How has GTD evolved since first launching in 2009?
Dr. Desmoulin: GTD has gone from a t-shirt selling punk on the Internet to a highly skilled and well-managed professional forensic engineering company in just four years. A massive morphing that was driven by lean business plans based on customer needs and desires. The beauty is it was all the same foundation… “injury biomechanics, event reconstruction and product safety to determine injury cause and prevention” but instead of selling through a creative medium it is now an engineering consulting medium (Lesson #5: solve client problems).
MO: So far, your company has successfully been built on word of mouth only and has yet to market itself in ‘any’ medium. What’s inspired your recent decision to launch a marketing campaign?
Dr. Desmoulin: Good question. Essentially, we were waiting for qualifications. While a competent and accomplished engineer/scientist, being a PhD “candidate” was a crutch. Seen as a dent in the armor with some clients. Plus we had enough work to keep us busy. Between the company and the doctorate I was maxed out. However, now that the PhD is complete and 50% of my personal calendar is freed, it is time to create a larger client base and expand the company. (Lesson #6: consider timing)
MO: Can you elaborate on the significance of your development deal with New Dominion Pictures?
Dr. Desmoulin: Yes, Tim Prokop is involved. That is all you really need to know. He is one of the hardest working and most creative people I have met in HOLLYWOOD. Under his direction the first season of Deadliest Warrior shot to #2 on television (that’s better than Seinfeld) at one point and averaged Spike TV’s best ratings, ever. I will tease just a bit in saying that it is loosely based on the “science of violence” and engineering tests. Although still early days a written treatment, cast (including Christina Stevens), and footage for a sizzle tape exists that is currently being pitched to networks that are good fits for the concept. (Lesson #7: have fun)
MO: What are some trends in your industry that you’re excited about?
Dr. Desmoulin: What I love most about biomechanical engineering (injury biomechanics) is that its one of those trades that everyone thinks is cool and wants to be in but very, very, few people actually do it. Even fewer get experience in it and fewer yet are good and can create a successful career at it. The reason being is that it takes an incredible amount of school (at least two degrees) in two very different disciplines to be a Injury Biomechanist (See figure) and have enough experience to be recognized as an expert for people to hire you and then have the cases your working on go to trial and be recognized legally as an expert. It’s a long road. Injury Biomechanics is rare and anything rare has a market. That’s the exciting part (Lesson #8: find your niche).
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