EDITOR’S NOTE: The Regions Tradition is an annual major stop on the PGA TOUR Champions schedule. This year, we’re looking at some of the small businesses that bring the event to life in our Powering the Tradition series.
They’re noticeable to spectators in person and to viewers on TV: the unique 3-D Regions Tradition tee markers in the shape of the bank’s iconic bike brand.
Forrest Satterfield created them in 2015 because, well, someone asked if it was possible. That’s what Satterfield likes to do – take the ordinary and make it extraordinary.
“When the Bruno Event Team (which coordinates the Tradition) first reached out to me, I’d just received my first funding from an investor — $25,000,” Satterfield said. “I had one 3D printer, one scanner, and I was running everything out of my apartment. I was terrified. I didn’t know how I was going to pay the rent.”
Six years later, Satterfield Technologies, LLC is flourishing, responding to a global pandemic by creating N95 face masks for front-line healthcare works with a 3D printer.
Satterfield majored in biomedical engineering at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where as an undergrad he learned to merge medicine, science and business. A key turning point was a class project focused on dune buggy races. He was tasked with creating a business model and made his first pitch at Barber Motorsports Park, where he made the sales pitch and first came on the radar of the Bruno Event Team that manages the Indy race there, as well as the Regions Tradition and the SEC Baseball Tournament.
Satterfield quickly pivoted, from business pitch to business partner for the Bruno team.
”We haven’t turned down a project yet,” Satterfield said. “Our motto is: seek stories, solve problems.”
When people ask for something unique, he produces.
For Birmingham’s Sidewalk Film Festival, Satterfield Technologies created the popcorn bucket trophies given to award winners. For the Tradition, he created a 360-degree immersive video one can use with a virtual reality device to get a feel for the Greystone Golf & Country Club course, where the Champions Tour major is held each year.
Another project created a water filtration system, turning undrinkable water into clear, pristine liquid for safe consumption – sans an actual filter.
And, at the onset of the global pandemic, Satterfield Technology created the custom-fit, 3D-printed N95 masks for emergency room doctors and nurses.
“Before, the masks came from overseas and the supply system was disconnected,” he said. “I wanted to dive into what made them work, strip away everything else, and it took about a month to develop. We were able to produce high-quality products in a 30-by-30 manufacturing room, and we believe they outperform all others on the market.”
Satterfield Technologies calls itself a modular adaptive manufacturing company. While he’s branched out in a dozen directions, the heart and soul of this small business remains the medical side.
“Our main focus is on affordable medical devices,” Satterfield said. “Everything we do is through the lens of how it effects your health. So many things we use today have unintended negative consequences. We’re changing that. By closing the gap, you’re able to communicate between the hard science and the hard engineering. We solve the tough problems without sacrificing long-term health.”