Where do you turn to for ideas?
The Bridge-in-a-Backpack was developed after a conversation with the Department of Transportation. They were looking for a better way to build a bridge and were, at the time, challenged on the research side looking for a corrosion resistant bridge. Originally we were working jointly with AEWC for wind energy and this just came up. It’s funny how ideas start flowing once you see what composites can do and how it can be applied. Soon you’re just looking at the needs, finding the best solution.
How do you set yourself apart from your competition?
We offer elements from FRP rebar to decking materials, guard rails, arches; more of a complete package than just bridge parts. By taking on rebar we can literally build an entire bride from superstructure elements to the full project. We have a great team, young, with vision, that doesn’t just hear what people need. We try to be innovative, which helps us to be a little more aggressive in the market place.
Why did you decide to apply for the Charles Pankow Award?
We didn’t actually; a friend of Dr. Dagher nominated us for innovation and implementation. Not just a great idea and a concept, but also the implementation. We’re in the market and commercialized. This project started in the lab and we took it to the next level. A lot of patented ideas have died in the backyard but the Bridge-in-a-Backpack was brought into the main street. The other winners of the night were high profile companies. We were proud to be recognized as a small company that will be changing the way business is handled. After winning the award an Executive Director came to our table and said, “I love that it’s a great idea and it’s working today.”