- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Jay Guy was just trying to build a shed.
Even though he had an extended bed on his Silverado, he still had to prop the lumber against the tailgate. Or figure out how to tie down his building materials.
“I don’t like that,” he said. “I just don’t like stuff sliding around.”
Guy admits he can be a bit of a MacGyver. So when he was fed up, he solved the problem by building his own contraption: a low-cost, do-it-yourself, tailgate extender. He calls it, “The Tailgate Backstop Bracket Kit” and thinks it could be one-third the cost of other extenders.
Guy was among 11 entrepreneurs who pitched business ideas Tuesday at the College of Southern Maryland’s Leonardtown campus.
Innovators boarded a bus that has been making stops across the state to encourage innovation in the Startup Maryland pitch contest. Winners will receive mentoring from established business owners. If they’re selected to move forward in the competition, they’ll have a chance for their business pitches to get exposure in larger arenas. And, they’ll all receive a professional video of their pitch.
One-by-one, at CSM, they boarded the bus, the size of a Greyhound. It was wrapped in a Maryland flag graphic and decked out with a video set, tables and cushioned benches. Most importantly, it provided a stage.
Lights beaming. Mikes pinned on. Ground rules established (Don’t exceed five minutes. If you blunder, keep talking. We’ll edit it). And, action!
Mary Branham plans to open a Lexington Park tea shop called “Something’s Brewing.” Her town is being revitalized, she said, and people want a place for a good cup of tea. There would be comfy chairs, a fireplace and homemade pastries. A local antique store owner would do the interior decorating and those vintage treasures would be for sale.
Kevin Holmboe, project manager from Compass Systems, pitched the OMNi GPS, a mobile mapping technology that seemed to possess Star Trek capability to look at several objects in an area, provide their exact coordinates, along with video, audio, notes, still images and sketches. It could provide thermal images of people sneaking across a border or detect radiation or chemicals in a war zone. And send it all back to a command center in real time, Holmboe said.
There were designer handbags and craft supply organizers, strategic communications solutions, a promotion firm that focuses on women-owned businesses and more.
Some entrepreneurs were all grins. Others approached the video room with a bit of apprehension.
Guy wanted a retake. “Having a camera stare at me? I don’t do that for a living,” he said.
What Guy does know is cars. He’s worked in a body shop for 30 years and has figured out how to adapt his tailgate extender to full-sized Ford, Chevy, Dodge and Toyota pickups. His kit would include steel brackets and wood screws. He’s got a patent pending and is looking for an investor to do the marketing and manufacturing.
All a do-it-yourselfer would need is a piece of wood cut to the width of the truck’s tailgate door, a screwdriver and five minutes to put it all together. When they’re ready to take it off, it can be stored in the truck.
The extender turns a six-foot bed into eight feet of storage space. Enough room for Guy’s lumber to lay nice and still in the bed of his Chevy.
And, he added, “I can make ’em for any kind.”