Named one of Inc. 5000's fastest growing companies in the United States, Akervall Technologies Inc (ATI) is the manufacturer of SISU Sports Mouthguards.
ATI is committed to revolutionizing the mouthguard industry by using disruptive technologies to create the strongest, most comfortable mouthguards in the world. On the mission to become the Global Golden Standard in mouth guards, Akervall Technologies is consistently leading in research and development with premium novel materials, elegant engineering solutions, innovative brand marketing and sales strategies, and extraordinary customer service.
Manufactured by ATI in the USA, SISU Mouth Guards revolutionized mouthguard technology and set new standards for innovation. With unmatched quality and functionality, SISU Mouth Guards are designed with the athlete in mind, utilizing unique features that are hyper focused on protection and comfort.
Made from non-compressible thermopolymer and only 1.6 mm thin, SISU Mouth Guards are engineered to withstand impact. Powered by Diffusix™ Technology, SISU Mouth Guards deflect the forces of impact. On impact, the perforated surface of the guards oscillates, and the forces are redirected away from teeth into scientifically engineered Crumple Zones where the forces are absorbed into the non-compressible surface of the guard. This unique design empowers SISU NextGen to protect the athletes from even the toughest hits.
Superior protection is not the only function of the perforations. They also allow for flexibility in the material to create an intimate custom fit, so perfect that the guard is comfortable enough to wear for the entire game or practice, even for players with braces. Additionally, perforations allow for the natural flow of air and saliva to empower athletes to talk normally, breathe naturally, and stay hydrated during the game.
The SISU Executive Team:
Sassa AkervallChief Executive Officer
Sassa Akervall has a BA in communication from the University of Lund, Sweden. Before becoming CEO and the majority owner of Akervall technologies Inc. (ATI) she worked as a copywriter, TV host for her own shows, TV producer, writer/reporter and children's books author. She has taken ATI from the kitchen table with $5k in revenues 2009 to 24 employees in 2017, a consistent 50% annual growth rate, owning her own plant, and with global partners like Reebok/CCM and a Swedish subsidiary. She has won several awards for the company, e.g. 50 Companies to Watch in Michigan 2014, Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition – Advanced Materials in 2014 and 2015, Enterprising Women of the Year nominee 2015 and STEP Ahead Award 2016. In 2017 Sassa, and her husband Jan were both finalists in the E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year competition. She is a member of SBAM’s Board of Directors, Saline Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and on the Advisory Board of Enterprising Women Foundation for the second year in a row.
In her spare time, Sassa enjoys spending time with her husband, Jan, the co-founder, president and inventor of ATI’s products, and their two adult children. She also enjoys entertaining guests for dinner, and of course hanging out with her two large dogs, Stella and Artie, both are Black Russian Terriers.
Jan Akervall, M.D., PH.DPresident, Chief Medical Officer
Dr Jan Akervall, MD, PhD, graduated from Lund Medical School in 1990, became ENT specialist and PhD in Head and Neck Cancer biology in 1998. He completed a two year fellowship in Head and Neck Oncologic surgery and microvascular reconstructions at University of Michigan 2000-2001, after which he became Associate Professor and Director for Head an Neck Cancer care in southern Sweden. He and his family moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan in 2004 when he became Medical Director for The Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer program at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, MI. He then continued on to become the founding Director of the Beaumont Biobank in 2006 and founded Great Lakes Biorepository Research Network in 2012. Dr Akervall became Professor in Otolaryngology/ Head and Neck Surgery at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine in 2012 and Medical Director for The Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Program at St. Joseph Mercy in 2013. Dr Akervall invented the SISU Mouthguard for sports and the SOVA Night Guard in 2008 and founded Akervall Technologies Inc. the year after. Dr. Akervall has 5 patents and was the recipient of the prestigious Edison Award in 2018.
"The team is fantastic and extremely dynamic. We have a great scientific approach to dental protection and every day we see new possibilities for our mouthguards and for the cutting edge materials we are developing."
Johannes Schwank, PH.DChief Scientific Officer
Johannes Schwank, Ph.D., co-founder and Chief Science Officer of Akervall Technologies, Inc., holds the James and Judith Street Endowed Chair Professorship in the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Michigan. He has served for several years as director of EMAL, the University’s materials characterization facility. He oversees a large research program exploring structure-performance relationships in catalysts, sensors, nanomaterials, and polymers. The results of his research have been published in over 200 peer-reviewed articles.
"Working on the SISU Mouthguard has been one of my most exciting scientific endeavors, as we are creating a paradigm changing technology based on deep scientific understanding of materials properties and the physics of impact energy absorption and dissipation."
Kathy CapelliChief Operating & Financial Officer
Kathy Capelli has a passion for people, creating a positive work environment and establishing processes to enable companies to gain a foothold in organizational structure, processes and systems to sustain future growth. She has several years of experience in bringing stability and organization to companies going through growth and internal change. Areas of focus include accounting and operations with solid experience in the manufacturing environment and system integrations.
Kathy’s golden rule to success: Genuinely care for and serve the people that work for you. They are vital to the company’s success.
"When a person feels cared about, they care back - it’s as simple as that", says Kathy Capelli. "...this translates to quality products and happy customers and all other things being equal, a bottom line that you can feel good about!"
Mark IshExecutive Vice President of Global Business Development
Mark Ish is an accomplished sales veteran with leadership experience in business development, strategic planning, and marketing both internationally and domestically in the consumer product industry specializing in sporting goods. Before joining Akervall Technologies in February of 2017, Ish worked in Senior Executive roles with several of the most recognized marquee brands in the world, including Wham-O, Trigger Point Performance, and Black & Decker. In April of 2013, Ish was named to the Sporting Goods Business Journal as one of the "Top 40 Sporting Goods Executives Under 40" by SportsOneSource, a prestigious honor that recognizes trailblazers within the sporting goods industry. Mark attended San Diego State University on a NCAA Division 1 soccer scholarship where he played in the premier college soccer league in the country. Ish graduated from SDSU with a BS in Business Administration, specializing in Marketing. When away from work, Ish enjoys running, traveling, and spending time with his wife Amanda, and two children, Avery and Asher.
The SISU Management Team:
Deb ReeckAccounting Manager
Terry RishoiOffice & Customer Service Manager
Timothy HuangResearch Manager
Paul WisniewskiProduction & Materials Manager
Lisa EdwardsProject Manager