About SIRC and Our Staff
Southern Impact Research Center, LLC ("SIRC") is located in Knoxville, Tennessee. SIRC was co-founded
by Dave Halstead and Bob Drew in 1995, and is dedicated to reducing injuries, with an emphasis on personal
protective equipment such as helmets. Dave Halstead chairs, or serves on several committees with the
American Society of Testing & Materials, which have developed standards for bicycle helmets, downhill
racing helmets, hockey helmets and other helmets. SIRC is under contract with the National Operating
Committee of Standards for Athletic Equipment, and is responsible for technical issues regarding
standards development and implementation including test equipment. It is also under contract with the
National Football League Players Association, and others to assist and advise as needed in the area of
player safety and protection. SIRC developed a state of the art biofidelic and anthropometrically correct
human head form (this is the most recent NOCSAE headform a variation of one which was initially developed
in the 1970's) to help understand the mechanisms and methods of reducing brain injury. SIRC's laboratory
is state of the art, and is accredited by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) and
meets the relevant quality systems requirements of ISO 9001:1994 and ISO 17025 standards for laboratory
The team at SIRC is uniquely qualified in the areas of protective equipment testing and evaluation.
Our team members comprise an eclectic and professional organization with a combination of experience,
education, innovation and a true desire to understand injury thresholds and how injuries may be reduced.
Three of our team members, Dave, Mel and Louise have worked together for nearly 20 years in the area of
head injury biomechanics, injury reduction, standards development, quality systems and testing.
We are also active in the education of future scientific minds. Two of SIRC staff are active research
scientists in the Industrial & Information Engineering Department at the University of Tennessee,
Knoxville. A visit to SIRC will almost always uncover a student or two immersed in some experiment or
another. Members of our team and students that have moved on have done so with our assistance and guidance
and now maintain key roles in the protective equipment and human injury reduction scientific arena,
including Directors and VP's of R & D at some of the worlds largest sporting goods, helmet, and child
safety seat manufacturers world wide. Others are active in the academic environment.
A unique biomechanics team approach has led us to the forefront in the understanding of human head injury
and the effects that protective interventions such as helmets can have to reduce injury and death.
Click on a team member below to learn more about their backgrounds and interest.