Climbing the startup ladder

| Print |  Email
Articles - July/August 2012
Monday, July 09, 2012

 

BY JON BELL

0712 GamePlan LadderTite 01
Ladder-Tite is a pair of brackets that attach to extension ladders securing them to gutters.
// Photo by Sierra Breshears

Ron Gandy and his son, Justin, were well into the development of their ladder-safety device, Ladder-Tite, in 2011 when Justin unexpectedly passed away at age 21. The loss nearly derailed the entire endeavor.

“It really took all the wind out of my sails,” says Gandy, a retired air traffic controller who restarted a roofing business in 2008 as a summer gig for his son. “It was extremely hard to get going again.”

After a few months, however, Gandy and his wife, Carrie, decided that to continue on would honor their son. They refocused, won $7,500 in mentoring, office space and startup cash at the Southern Oregon Angel Investment Conference in April and are now forging ahead as Rogue Valley Innovations in Grants Pass.

Their first product, Ladder-Tite, is a pair of simple aluminum brackets that attach to extension ladders and secure them to gutters or fascia boards. Gandy says the idea arose when the state required a ladder-safety program for the roofing company.

“We thought, OK, let’s do something really right,” he says.

A little research found few other devices as simple and as inexpensive as what Gandy had in mind. A little more revealed that tens of thousands of people are injured every year in ladder accidents; close to 164,000 emergency room injuries every year are related to ladders, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

“There’s really a call for this kind of product,” Gandy says.

So far RVI has produced 1,000 Ladder-Tites, which are available online or at stores near Grants Pass for $29.95. Even though Gandy could have the device produced cheaper in China, he chose to keep the work closer to home. A nearby shop bends the metal, and Gandy and his wife assemble and package the units.

Although he’s not looking to expand too rapidly, Gandy says he is developing new regional markets. He’s approached Home Depot, and a national roofing company has approached RVI to develop a similar device for commercial and industrial buildings.

“We’re not looking for investors right now,” Gandy says, “but maybe down the road.”

 

More Articles

Farm in a Box

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Most of the food Americans consume is trucked in from hundreds of miles away. Eric Wilson, co-founder and CEO of Gro-volution, wants to change that. So this past spring, the Air Force veteran and former greenhouse manager started work on an alternative farming system he claims is more efficient than conventional agriculture, and also shortens the distance between the consumer and the farm.


Read more...

Inside the Box

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY GINA BINOLE

Screening for “culture fit” has become an essential part of the hiring process. But do like-minded employees actually build strong companies — or merely breed consensus culture?


Read more...

House of Clarity

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Holding a Power Lunch at Veritable Quandary in downtown Portland.


Read more...

Is there life beyond Reed?

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY GARY THILL | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

A storied institution climbs down from the ivory tower.


Read more...

Brain Storm

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY CAMILLE GRIGSBY-ROCCA

Can the brave new world of neurotechnology help an OHSU surgeon find a cure for obesity?


Read more...

5 questions for ImpactFlow CEO Tyler Foreman

The Latest
Thursday, August 13, 2015
impactflowthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Portland-based startup ImpactFlow recently announced a $5.7 million funding round. CEO and co-founder Tyler Foreman talks about matching businesses with nonprofits, his time at Intel and the changing face of philanthropy.


Read more...

Portland’s long-distance bike commuters

The Latest
Monday, August 03, 2015
Matt KellyresizethumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

Pushing the extreme.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS