Meet Brad Finken, Inventor of KoolBlues Umpire Chest Protector Cooling SystemJun 22nd, 2020
In 2019, Brad Finken approached our buyer, Brandon Lawson about carrying a new umpire product he invented. Brad and Brandon umpire Indiana high school baseball and spent many days in the Indiana heat together.
When Brandon brought the KoolBlues Umpire Chest Protector Cooling System to our product committee meeting, we decided to bring in a small number as a proof-of-concept trial.
It is a good thing we did...umpires all LOVE the one-of-a-kind KoolBlues!
Brad, why did you start umpiring?
I started umpiring in 2000 as a means to stay part of the game after my playing career and to make some extra money.
What level of baseball do you work?
Mostly high school but I have done some fall college ball and 1 minor league (A) game as a fill-in.
How did you come up with KoolBlues?
I used to work a lot of summer 15-18U tournaments in Ft Wayne, IN where I used to live. I wanted something to keep me cooler working in the heat. I searched and couldn't find anything other than a hat insert or a cooling towel.
Around 2007, I made it my mission to create something for a chest protector. After many trial and error ice packs and different size pouches I finally settled on the current KoolBlues product after about 2 years of prototypes.
How do you produce your product?
My sister, Bernadine Bench, cuts and sews the cloth pouches at her home in South Carolina. I then assemble the final package with the ice packs, pouches and instructions at my home in Indiana.
Since we are just across the river from Ump-Attire.com, I usually hand deliver each batch.
What is something unique about the product?
The Thermafreeze ice sheets used are designed for food storage but their flexibility and non condensation properties make it perfect for using them for KoolBlues.
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About the Author
Pro School Umpire Graduate Josh Mann
A native of Chicago, Josh graduated from the University of Arizona with degrees in Economy & Industry and Sports Management. He attended the Minor League Baseball Umpire Training Academy and Harry Wendelstedt Umpire School, umpired in the Frontier Professional Baseball League, and worked in the Chicago Cubs Organization. Josh enjoys baseball, hockey, golf and spending time with his dog Wrigley. He spent 4 years as Ump-Attire.com’s marketing assistant and recently relocated to Arizona.