Jim Van Gompel is a lifelong outdoorsman and retired mechanical engineer with dozens of patents to his name. Now 87, he took up kayaking nearly a decade ago. While he enjoyed fishing and being on the water, he became easily winded due to his asthma and heart condition. The energy required to paddle just wasn't worth the payoff, so in his customary fashion, Jim set out to create a more efficient method of paddling. Enter: Angle Oar.
I originally developed the paddle for myself; I never dreamed it would open up kayaking for so many others. Every time I hear about someone new with a physical challenge enjoying being out on the water with our paddle, my heart bursts.
Meg McCall is also an outdoor enthusiast who loves to hike and partake in any activity associated with water. She spent the first decade of her career in the non-profit sector, with a focus on supporting with people with cognitive and physical disabilities. For the last 15 years, she has worked as a marketing executive for software and technology companies in both the public and private sectors.
Meg, who happens to be Jim's daughter, knew a good thing when she first saw his paddle, so in 2012 the two partnered together to distribute it to the public. (The apple didn't fall far from the tree, you see!) They worked to fine-tune the design, patent it, test it and begin the manufacturing process. Meg continues to head up the business side of Angle Oar, LLC.