Person of the Week
Inventor, Founder and President of Poke 'N Stoke Electronic Bellows and Fire Poker
I want to tell young people that it has taken a lot of work to get to where I am now to be able to do this business. Persistence is the reason I have grown. The invention needs to make life better for somebody. Find a need. Meet a need.
1. What led you to the mission of being an inventor and founder of Poke ‘N stoke Electric Bellows and Fire Poker?
My whole life has included inventing. It is just the way my brain is wired. Whenever I see a problem, I always try to work through it. I try to think of a solution. Through the years I have drawn up several different ideas to scale and have a briefcase full of them. I never did anything about them.
I went camping with my son. We were sitting there trying to light a fire. I sat back and thought, “There is a solution to this.” Then I got a brainstorm. I thought of an electronic bellows and poker. My son said, “Dad, if you don’t do anything with this, I’m going to do something with it.” So we did it together. I have a high school education. I didn’t need a college education to do what I am doing. (Click here to see the Poke ‘N Stoke Electronic Bellows and Fire Poker.)
2. What does this mission mean to you?
I have a different business and have been running it for a lot of years. I have had a lot of ideas. But Poke ‘N Stoke is the first invention that I have actually followed through to the end. The fact that I have gotten it this far, gotten it ready to take to market, and have taken it to market, gives me a very rewarding feeling. To hear that other people use the Poke ‘N Stoke and it is something that they enjoy, makes my experience enjoyable. (Click on any picture to enlarge it.)
3. What was your best day being an inventor and founder of Poke ‘N Stoke Electric Bellows and Fire Poker?
We had a lot of prototypes for the Poke ‘N Stoke. My best day is when I got all of my pieces together and I could actually make the product that I was going to take to market. Poke ‘N Stoke was no longer a concept. It was no longer me trying to figure out how I’m going to do this. I was no longer me trying to figure out how to make it. I had all the pieces and it was ready to take to market.
4. What was your worst day being an inventor and founder of Poke ‘N Stoke Electric Bellows and Fire Poker?
5. How did you survive your worst day?
Prayer — number one — is the key. I own another business, have had a lot of experience with business, and it seems when times are tough, that’s when I pray the hardest. I don’t know why it is that way, but that’s my number one key.
Number two is that I can pull from other resources. Over the years it seems that there is always something somewhere I can pull from. So far I haven’t had to borrow any money for this business. I want to tell young people that it has taken a lot of work to get to where I am now to be able to do this business. I have had to be persistent in what I do. More than anything else, persistence is the reason I have grown.
6. What advice do you have for someone who would like to be an inventor and founder of a company?
Number one is the old phrase “find a need, meet a need”. More than that it is important to know that you are inventing something that will help other people. The invention needs to make life better for someone or somebody. It has made me feel better that this solves an age-old problem of, “How do I get my fire started?” Just the fact that I’m helping other people is most important.
I think that God has given everybody abilities. It is up to each one of us to try to find out what our calling is. Not everybody is called to be an inventor. But we all have a calling. It is up to us to find out what that calling is – whether it is inventing or running a business or working for somebody else. Everybody has a calling and nobody’s calling is more important than anybody else’s.