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Trine North cooking up hot product
Idea initiated as child's learning tool
Like any good dad, Don MacFadyen wanted his daughter, Grace, to be business-savvy.
To create a learning tool for the 9-year-old, he asked his own dad, Dave, an Angola native and engineer, to design a machine to create spin art on T-shirts as the basis for incubating a business. Two years later, the idea has hatched at Trine North, with more than a peep of fanfare.
The Dave MacFadyen family were busy assembling more SpinTee machines at Trine North this month. From left are Dave, his wife, Susie, Trine Technology Center Director Wayne Mortorff, Dave MacFadyen’s daughter, Andrea DeLancey, and her husband, Tony DeLancey.
Introduced at a trade show in Orlando, Fla. in November, SpinTee sold very well. Thirty-five of the neophyte projects went out the door to buyers, four of them to Denmark and one to Israel. “It’s going gangbusters,” Dave declared while assembling new machines at Angola North with his wife, Susie, and daughter and son-in-law, Andrea and Tony DeLancey of Hamilton this month.
He relied on local businesses and Business Engineering and Technology Assistance (BETA) Services at Trine’s Technology Center to produce his machine, for which a patent is pending. A collection of programs and services customized and delivered by Technology Center staff, network partners, Trine faculty, and students to serve regional industries, BETA Services include training and coursework in emerging technologies, business incubator consulting, engineering design, small business development consulting, and workshops.
Individuals like the MacFadyens, as well as corporations, can contact the Trine Technology Center for professional trainers, licensed Fieldbus training, customized training materials, plastic injection molding courses, facility use, on-site training, skills assessment materials, Quality courses, hands-on experience, cost-effective training solutions, and help in identifying gaps in skills.
“Last September I went over to A W Machine & Repair on Wohlert Street, and they built a prototype and delivered it to me in early November. Then a guy in Maryland saw it and wanted one. I wanted it ready in time for the trade show in Orlando,” Dave MacFadyen said.
Trine Technology Center director Wayne Mortorff designed the machine, and local businesses teamed up to build it. “A lot of local companies are involved—A W Manufacturing, Angola Wire, Perry Products, ASE Tool and Maintenance Systems, Ellis Engineering in Fort Wayne, Kendall Electric, Fastenal, and Covington Box in Waterloo—mostly Indiana companies,” Mortorff said.
Building businesses is business as usual for the MacFadyen family. Don heads iHire in Angola, a collection of 60 niche employment Web sites he created to package résumés and locate jobs for clients. Dave held a patent for a product called Smart House. “Don is the push in all this,” his dad said. “So now we are traveling the trade shows. We’re in Las Vegas next week. My son and I have a fascination with building businesses.”
MacFadyen has no small connection to Trine University. Both parents were Tri-State College alumni, and he still lives in the family’s home across from Trine’s T. Furth Center for Performing Arts. “It was a student boarding house,” he recalled. He has served on the Civil Engineering Advisory Council for the university.
Look for Dave and his family at their SpinTee booth at local fairs and festivals this summer and fall.