Heather Thomas is the CEO of GO-BO, LLC. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with a minor in Mass Communications from Texas Tech University. She works part-time as a Pampered Chef Consultant. Heather also has a Blue Belt in Chung Do Kwan Taekwondo and Dai Ni-Gojuryu Karate.
Doug Thomas is the President and founder of GO-BO, LLC. He earned Bachelor of Science degrees in Entrepreneurship and Sports Studies from East Carolina University. He retired from the United States Air Force in 2008 after 26 years of service. He is currently an instructor at Korean Martial Arts Academy in Goldsboro, NC. Doug has a 3rd degree black belt in Ho Kuk Mu Sul, a 2nd degree black belt in American Taekwondo Moo Duk Kwan, a 2nd degree black belt in Chung Do Kwan Taekwondo, and a 2nd degree black belt in Dai Ni-Gojuryu Karate.
The idea of GO-BO was created when Doug Thomas became frustrated by the weight and difficulty of carrying all of his martial arts weapons because he taught and trained in several different locations. He almost always knocked things over when leaving the house and he had difficulty loading his 6' staff into his Prius. He tried different options to ease his load, but nothing seemed to work very well. When he saw that his instructor, Eddie Brosseau, cut a 6' staff to make 1' short sticks, Doug thought it would be great to be able to reconnect them into any length he needed. He recalled using quick-connect hydraulic and electrical fittings when he repaired aircraft for the Air Force. The idea quickly evolved and grew.
He then decided to use his Post 9/11 G.I. Bill to get a degree in Entrepreneurship from East Carolina University. He decided to enter his idea as "Switch Sticks" in the Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge. Doug made a concept kit out of PVC pipe. He did not advance that year, but it opened the door to many opportunities. He was admitted into the I-Corps program to validate his idea and received funding for his first prototype which helped him advance to the second round of the challenge the following year. Doug took advantage of ECU's Rise Up Academy where he got to be an intern for himself to work on GO-BO by developing his business plan and registering GO-BO, LLC with the State of North Carolina. Doug was then invited to participate in the first ever Overton Pitch Competition where he won the top prize of $6,000 which funded his second prototype. He followed that up with winning $5,000 for 3rd place in the 2022 Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge. Doug also received additional funding from ECU for a tradeshow booth at the 2022 Martial Arts Super Show in Las Vegas, NV.
GO-BO has U.S. Patent Application 17/393,040 published and pending.