Twisted X CEO Prasad Reddy knows a good investment when he sees it.
Starting in 2009, he took a boot company in the middle of bankruptcy proceedings and turned it into a brand that helped morph the Western footwear industry into what it is today.
That change is seen at Western retailers, rodeos and around town where people kick up dust in Western shoes just about as often as you see cowboy boots.
Boots sold well when it was cold, but Reddy thought shoes would sell year-round.
A gamble at the time, the move saved Twisted X.
In Decatur, where Twisted X is headquartered, Reddy has found one of the soundest investments you can make is into the people and community around you.
While he was born in India, spent most of his adult life in Michigan, and currently lives in Southlake, Reddy has made it a mission to invest into the people of Wise County.
That impact is seen through our local police officers having someone to talk to, and through cancer patients and their families faced with a grim prognosis discovering peace and strength.
Reddy knows the value of mental health, and the value of helping people in need.
This year, the Tough Enough to Wear Pink Breast Cancer flagship counseling center opened thanks to the $1.2 million donation from Twisted X, building off its previous investments into Center for Emotional Wellness and other mental health resources to provide counseling to first responders at no cost.
“Prasad is maybe one of the most generous people I have ever met. He is exactly the type of person that we should be celebrating,” said Wise Health System CEO Jason Wren. “He spends all of his time thinking about others and how he can help serve them.”
Reddy’s generosity and passion for his community is the tip of the iceberg in a career spent looking outward for ways to help.
For the CEO’s philanthropy and a heart constantly open to the world around him, Reddy is the Wise County Messenger’s Person of the Year.
“Prasad’s faith inspires him to do good things,” said Kelly Jones, WHS senior director of social services and director at the Center for Emotional Wellness. “It’s something that he really believes in, that we are put on this earth to care for one another and to do good things. He really takes that to heart.”
Twisted X’s success has benefitted the Wise County community, thanks to that driving philosophy.
Reddy has made it a goal to donate a percentage of profits to the world around him. That investment reached new heights in December 2020, when Twisted X announced it would be funding the breast cancer counseling resource in partnership with Wise Health System and Tough Enough To Wear Pink.
The Center for Emotional Wellness, with the Tough Enough to Wear Pink flagship center, moved into its new facility at 1602 W. Business 380, Suite 100, in Decatur this year.
Locally, the investment into mental health and counseling has already impacted more than 30 cancer patients and their families, while also providing services to local veterans and first responders.
Reddy is quick to divert credit to the people who go out in the middle of the night to help a police officer after seeing another harrowing situation, and hold the hand of a child as their mother rests in a hospital bed. The counselors at the center walk in step with patients and their families through the cancer journey. They are there to celebrate the joy of remission and are there at the end.
“For it to be successful, it came down to finding the right people and the right counselors,” Reddy said. “We are so blessed to have found them. We have a great, great counseling team that go beyond the call of duty. They are there supporting on nights, weekends, going to homes and hospitals. I’m so gracious, and so grateful for them. They make this work.”
The idea for the center was born in 2014, when he met Terry Wheatley, founder of Tough Enough to Wear Pink. The organization has raised awareness and money for breast cancer research at rodeo and Western events for 17 years. After watching a close friend walk the breast cancer journey, finding a way to help people like his friend was always on his mind.
“We were talking and said let’s join hands… she told me this was the biggest need,” Reddy said after the opening of the center. “And this was the right time. The right time comes when you have the right people, and we have the right people [at the Center for Emotional Wellness.]”
The counseling center was part of a vision to see other Western industry leaders follow suit, with the Decatur location providing the blueprint for making a tangible impact on people facing cancer.
“We want to see this grow across the country,” he said.
In the meantime, Jones said Reddy has been key to the success of the counseling center taking root in Wise County. He’s made it possible for counselors to not worry about rent, overhead and how much they’re billing.
“He’s been integral to all of this,” Jones said.
Supporting mental health initiatives is just part of how Reddy has given back to local organizations.
Twisted X benefits the Danny Dietz Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting veterans, first responders and their surviving families. It raised money through the Danny Dietz Memorial Classic, a professional and amateur team roping event, held at NRS Ranch Arena in Decatur.
Reddy also lends financial support to the One Tribe Foundation, the Tarrant County group that raises awareness and combats suicide by empowering veterans, first responders and medical frontline workers through therapy. Reddy supports the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Kids Matter Organization, as well as other causes.
“So many veterans come back from war and are not treated nicely. It’s just sad. They take care of us, but we don’t take care of them,” Reddy said. “It’s so important to support our veterans.”
Reddy’s philanthropic nature and desire to help solve problems is manifested in the company he leads.
Twisted X’s mission is to make a lasting difference in the world by creating the most comfortable footwear for any lifestyle using sustainable methods and materials.
The company has lived out those words, using natural materials in their footwear, and also using a material that’s sourced from recycled plastic water bottles to promote sustainability.
The bottles are salvaged from landfills and oceans. Each pair of shoes made with ecoTWX fabric consists of approximately 13 bottles. So far, through using the material, Twisted X has been able to clean up more than 5.4 million plastic bottles from the environment.
Through that same technology, Twisted X has given away 1,200 blankets sourced from recycled plastic, helping clean up the ocean while also providing blankets to families in need at the Wise Health System event Wise Gives. The company has also funded the planting of more than 400,000 trees following wildfires on the West Coast. The list goes on.
Reddy sees producing sustainable products as a responsibility of being a good steward and human being. That responsibility became a driving focus for Prasad after seeing large scale pollution and waste in India several decades ago.
“We can’t close our eyes and keep thinking we’ll be protected,” Reddy said. “It’s our responsibility to leave the world at least the same way we found it when we came here, if not better.”
When many stores were shut down due to COVID-19, Twisted X continued their commitment to only sell their product at retailers, even though the lure of online sales may have boosted profits. To Reddy, the decision wasn’t hard.
“When the company was in bankruptcy, we came in and retailers supported us with sales,” Reddy said. “Now that they were in trouble, I knew we have to support them. It’s a true partnership.”
Reddy works to make the world a better place and that has bled through to the company he leads. He does it with kindness. So far, that’s gone a long way.
Tricia Mahoney, Twisted X chief marketing officer, recalled her first interview and seeing the true heart of the company and its leader.
“Part of the process was coming to the office in Decatur. I heard all about Twisted X and what they are doing for the environment and community. My first question as a marketer was, ‘Why aren’t we talking about this more?’” Mahoney recalled. “And the answer was, ‘We’re not doing it for the credit. We’re doing it because it’s what we’re supposed to do.’ That honestly solidified the deal for me, instantaneously. As a human, you don’t hear that, especially from a company.”
Leading with his heart and his head, Reddy has made Wise County, and the world, a better place.