PMI: The Pioneers of Paintball

PMI: The Pioneers of Paintball

From the PaintBall.com archives:
 
After playing lacrosse throughout his college years, Jeff Perlmutter, President and co-founder of PMI, searched for a team sport and found paintball to be the answer. Starting out playing in 1982 with David Freeman, PMI Vice President and co-founder, in a National Survival Game (NSG), the duo found potential in the sport as both, “an opportunity to make paintball into a team sport,” and also to provide a, “business opportunity to entrepreneurs,” Perlmutter explained. Through the innovations of Perlmutter and Freeman, Pursuit Marketing Incorporated (PMI) was formed and these two great paintball pioneers have kept it on the forefront of the industry.
 
Early on, PMI didn’t falter with its plan. Perlmutter and Freeman made offers to commercial fields operators that the NSG didn't. PMI didn’t require a contractual obligation from field owners and they offered high quality equipment for game field operators. Two of the first PMI products were water-soluble paintballs by R.P. Scherer and air guns made by Benjamin Sheridan. The very first marker PMI sold was the PG Pistol, which sold 600,000 units.
 
From that point, the pioneers forged a path even further to help paintball grow and prosper. Perlmutter and Freeman had a hand in starting Tippmann, makers of the popular Model 98 markers. “[We] funded the development of the SMG 60 and put Dennis Tippmann in business,” said Perlmutter. Freeman also started Direct Connect, which was the first full time distributor of all paintball products. At the time, PMI was only distributing its own products. Both companies, Direct Connect and PMI, only sold products to commercial field owners. At the time, they took an unpopular stance, saying it, “wasn’t a responsible activity to sell to retailers,” added Perlmutter. In the late 1980s, they changed their position and began to sell directly toretail stores. Two of Direct Connect's first clients were Rick Fairbanks, the original owner of National Paintball Supply and Gino Postorivo, the current owner of National Piantball Supply NA.
 
Four years ago, Direct Connect merged with PMI. Perlmutter explained that it was at that time when, "[PMI] phased into being more of a manufacturer." The Piranha line was revived and in 1998 PMI acquired a number of its distributors to become the first company to set up different distribution centers. “We came to understand to effectively distribute paintballs we needed to have distribution points strategically located throughout the United States,” Perlmutter furthered.
 

PMI hasn’t stopped bringing you new and innovative products since its inception in 1982. Many new products are on the horizon including new jerseys, paint and markers. Perlmutter stated, “We spend probably more money than anyone else in the industry in order to produce better stuff for less money.” As the sport continues to grow, look for PMI to continue to do what they know best, all the while with Perlmutter and Freeman at the wheel. After all, “We have innovated everything in the sport, pioneering the sport and the business side as well,” Perlmutter finalized.


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