Meet the Founders: Sean McCabe Recovering, Refocusing and Powering Ahead
Sean McCabe, like many, spent his 20s trying to find work that was both inspiring and engaging – and that he was good at! His first job after college was at an investment bank, then he taught middle school at Nativity Prep in Boston and later worked at an online grocery delivery company during the dot-com “bubble.” Through these diverse experiences, he learned that he was most comfortable and effective in a smaller environment where there was a shared sense of purpose and which challenged him to juggle a variety of tasks.
So he kept searching for the right fit, for a role in an industry that aligned his interest in business with his desire to impact society in a positive way.
To gain more exposure to those possibilities, he enrolled in business school. That’s when he landed an internship at Catamount Energy, a wind farm developer and operator in Vermont.
Drawn to this burgeoning energy field, he secured a full-time position with Catamount after graduation and ultimately found his niche in project development. All told, Sean spent over a decade in the wind industry and developed more than 800 MW of operating wind capacity in the U.S. In the summer of 2015, having wrapped up his tenure as President and Chief Development Officer of Westerly Wind, he moved back to Boston with the intent of finding a new endeavor that would be as rewarding as wind had been to him.
In September of 2015, however, the unthinkable happened: he was randomly assaulted on the street and suffered a traumatic brain injury.
Hospitalized for several weeks, he faced a slow recovery. Not able to drive, he spent the next four months living with his parents in Massachusetts so they could shuttle him back and forth to outpatient therapy. Fortunately, he suffered no long-term cognitive effects and in February 2016 he returned to his home in Colorado under his own care. Still, Sean struggled to rebuild himself physically. While eager to resume biking, skiing, and especially ice hockey, he still had a long way to go. On top of that, Sean still hadn’t settled on a new career. Hemp, of all things, proved to be instrumental in both his recovery and his next career move.
Finding PurePower Botanicals
The silver lining, he says, came when his cousin Don McLaughlin gave him some hemp-derived CBD oil and suggested a few other botanicals to fuel his recovery. These had helped re-invigorate Don after hitting bottom and ultimately propelled him to become an ultra-endurance trail runner, which he describes in his journey here. Sean admits that, at the time, he didn’t know the difference between the marijuana and hemp plants. But through his use of it, he quickly saw the benefits of the hemp plant.
“It helped me sleep more deeply, and I think that more than anything has helped me to recover the way I have,” he says. “Your brain heals when you achieve deep sleep.”
Sean credits his recovery not only to the great care he received at DCH Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa, AL and Spaulding Rehab in Boston, and the support of his family and friends, but also to his use of hemp extract, as well as his focus on exercise, nutrition and sleep. His trauma was a stark reminder of how important these fundamentals are to achieving overall health and attaining high performance, not to mention recovery. And in a very real way, it also led him to his next career. In early 2017, Don suggested they create PurePower as a way to turn their personal challenges into something positive by sharing the power of plants and other performance practices with others. He jumped at the chance. As his experience had showed him, mental and physical well-being and peak performance were not just about taking a supplement, but part of a larger holistic approach and so Don’s vision of Inside-Out Performance Practices resonated with him.
“I’m not as much of a biohacker as Don. He discovered a lot of these holistic practices a lot earlier than I did. For me, it was ‘how can I get back to the way I was?’ and I was willing to try anything. CBD seemed to help. Sleep seemed to help. Exercise was key, even if it was just walking at first. Obviously using fish oil and turmeric as anti-inflammatories were big,” Sean says. So while hemp may have been a silver lining in Sean’s story, it was by no means the silver bullet.
Finding A New Peak
Like most active adults, Sean has seen his performance and energy levels fade a bit with age. While the inevitable hasn’t diminished the enjoyment he gets from movement and play, he’s excited to share PurePower products for the performance boost and recovery enhancement that they’ve given him. He even conducted his own experiment with the PurePower’s PowerUp energy formulation to test both himself and the product.
“I’ve used hemp extract to recover from trauma but now with it in our formulations I’m using it as a performance enhancer,” he says.
First, though, the test!
Since moving to Boulder, Sean’s hiked up the ridge trail at Mt. Sanitas almost weekly. It’s one of the area’s most most popular, accessible and steepest hikes. His PR is 22:10 from back in 2013, prior to his head injury. In August 2018, he made it to the top in 27:45, which he considered a decent time for him after his injury. Three weeks later, having received the initial run of PurePower test products, he was ready to see if he could beat the time from his last climb. He took Daily Boost in the morning with his coffee and then just one capsule of PowerUp about an hour before starting up the trail. He clocked in at the top in 24:40, a full 3 minutes faster than three weeks prior. While anecdotal, Sean says PowerUp definitely gives him a higher gear and “allows me to push myself harder and to breathe more deeply.” And he vows to break his PR soon now that he’s armed with a ready supply of PowerUp!
Prior to forming PurePower with Don, Sean was Chief Development Officer and then President of Westerly Wind, LLC. He began his wind power career with Catamount Energy in 2002, which was later acquired by Duke Energy. In total he led the successful development of over 800 MW of operating wind capacity in the U.S. He has an undergraduate degree from the College of the Holy Cross and an MBA from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. Sean is also a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). A former college soccer and hockey player, Sean enjoys cycling, skiing, and hot yoga. Most of all he’s just happy to be back on the ice. He’s run the New York and Boston Marathons, hiked Mount Kilimanjaro and competed in several endurance events such as the Vermont 50, the Firecracker 50, the Steamboat Stinger and Xterra Off-Road Triathlons.
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