Student Inventors Form Company to Market Hose Attachment

After months of testing, three Wisconsin students have formed an LLC and will go to market with a new pumper truck tool
Student Inventors Form Company to Market Hose Attachment
Engineers from Absolute Turn posed for a photo with Jack Connelly (left) and Tommy Stuckart (middle), the inventors of the JTS Waste Guard. —Photo Courtesy of Three Lakes High School

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Earlier this year, Pumper magazine reported on a trio of high schoolers who designed and built their own septic pumping tool. Now, these same senior students are starting a company and offering their pumper hose attachment for sale.

Since we first spoke with Three Lakes (Wisconsin) High School students Tommy Stuckart, Jack Connelly and Steven Gensler back in January, they’ve formed an LLC called JTS Waste Products to market their invention.

The inspiration for the hose attachment came when the students were pumping latrines at their job working at H&H Septic Services in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. People throw everything imaginable into campground and park latrines, and the students were looking for a means of filtering out the materials causing persistent hose clogs.

Instructor Steve Yahr, director of the school’s Fab Lab where the product was designed, says Stuckart, Connelly and Gensler have made some improvements to the product since their first field test in January. They ordered their first 50 hose attachments — called the JTS Waste Guard — from Absolute Turn in Wheeling, Illinois.

“We left at 5 a.m. to travel to Absolute Turn, and they picked up their first order,” says Yahr. “They’ve already pre-sold 45 of those.”

After two full-scale prototypes, the students used a 3-D printer to create approximately four smaller prototypes, testing them with a small pump and a sink filled with water.

“The first prototype has been in the field, in use, ever since it was tested, and the boys are getting some very good comments about it,” says Yahr. “And their production model also is getting positive feedback from pumpers after field testing.”

Selling for $125 apiece, the JTS Waste Guard is showing signs of an early success for the young entrepreneurs. But there’s still much work to be done.

“Right now, as I understand it, their plans are to distribute the first 50 products, and then they’re going to spend some time fleshing out their business plan and setting up their accounting system,” says Yahr. “They realize there’s a whole lot to setting up a business. And there are still some additional improvements they’d like to make to their product.”

A community effort

There’s been overwhelming support from community leaders throughout the course of the students’ effort. After getting help from a local business and the Three Lakes Fire Department for their initial prototype testing, attorney Steve Garbowicz assisted the trio in starting their LLC. Certified Public Accountant Linda Kaiser also gave them her time, and Beth Kost of Nicolet Area Technical College talked with them about setting up a business plan.

The students presented their product at the Oneida County Economic Development Corporation’s annual meeting this past April.

“They got a real shout-out from Rep. Rob Swearingen and Sen. Tom Tiffany,” says Yahr. “Now they’ve got a whole network of people they’ve met and are comfortable with. As they feel their way forward with developing their business, they have this whole list of contacts as opposed to graduating from high school and thumbing through the yellow pages.”

Stay tuned for more product information in Pumper magazine. It looks like we’ll be hearing from these young business owners sooner than later.


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