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Meet Team Mt. Hoodlums, an experienced team of guys who are working together for the first time. Tom brought Bryan, James, and Angelo to compete at Make48! 

What made you want to be a part of Make48?

Tom: I wanted to be a part of Make48 inventor competition after being made aware of it by Curt, Tom, Rich, and Luis, at the  National Hardware Show. They encouraged me to apply and find a team. I didn’t feel I had a great chance of being selected, but thought I’d give it a try. I also belong to a global inventor group, Inventright, and they constantly say what a great program and group of people Make48 is.

What was it like working as a team, was it what you expected?

Bryan: I expected it to be very interesting. We had a team with a very diverse background. We were either going to work very well together or very poorly, I didn’t expect any in-between. Turns out I was right, we all worked very well together. I think it worked for us because we were all able to take a piece of the project that we were interested in and best suited to work on. Honestly, I know there were several pieces that would have been a challenge for me that others on the team completed with ease.

How did you go about putting your team together?

Bryan:  Team assembly was a Tom Tafoya special. In fact, Tom showed up at my house the night before our submission was due with one team member and a video from another. We filmed our video entry on my deck with three of the team members and I integrated the fourth video into the submission and sent it over the following day.

What advantages did each of you bring to the team?

Tom: Knowing the diverse skill sets of my 3 friends, I knew exactly these were the guys I wanted on my team. I was just hoping they would have the time in the midst of busy schedules, and say yes to applying for the competition.

James Fisher- He has helped me design and create renderings for a handful of patent-pending paint products I’m currently working on. James is special. I heard of James stellar reputation through an inventor group in the Silicon Valley. In hours of discussions over product ideas, he’s always coming up with improved features, design enhancements – all related to the best possible manufacturing and marketability of a product idea. Not only is he a wonderfully humble family man, he’s a genius in product design.

Bryan Young- I was very fortunate to meet Bryan through a client referral years back. His office is filled with desktop and laptop computers all scattered across tables. He’s a software engineer with a handful of patents under his belt. Bryan has an incredible industry- changing hardware product in the works. Nevertheless, he goes about his daily business with a humility and joy, and not really bringing much attention to himself.

Angel Gomez- I’ve known Angel the longest. We did a summer- long paint and remodeling project many years ago for a mutual client. He was always asking questions about painting and would often write the answers down on a notepad in his back pocket. He earned the nickname “ The Cuban McGyver” amongst us, cuz he was always fixing things. I’m continually blown away by his incredible story of escaping Cuba on a raft during hurricane season with rough stormy waves and thousands of Cubans dying from boats and capsizing rafts- and sharks devouring multitudes of people. His wondering if he would die as he’d look up at the sky when they had no more energy to row their raft… He has a tireless work ethic and knowledge of various supplies, materials and applications of products in multiple trades. Like my other teammates, he sure has a beautiful family.

What was the most difficult part about the competition? Roadblocks, setbacks?

Bryan: The most difficult part for us turned out to be keeping the design simple. Our team had so many great ideas and directions that we could take the product that it was difficult to hold ourselves back and just move forward with a simple base product for the presentation. We spent a lot of time on reprints of our model due to stress weakness and durability of the plastic from the printers we were working with. The models were great for visualization but took quite a bit of fortification to hold up long enough to do a working demo. Fortunately, Angelo and James had experience with this and were able to work with the CAD designer to reinforce the weak areas and make it work. If we hadn’t come up an idea, and locked down as quickly as we did, I don’t think we would have had the quality of demo that we ultimately did.

What came easier for your team?

Tom:  I think, it was Bryan and James’s computer and design backgrounds and Angel and my contractor hands on experience. Angel quickly became our project manager. He was pushing the industrial designers and prototype makers to spit out and complete their computer and prototype tasks quickly. Bryan and James worked incredible magic on the computers, continually tweaking design aspects. Their talents did not go unnoticed. I became the “ gofor” dude. Getting and running for tools and stuff the guys needed. 

What did you learn from the Make48 event and how did the experience help you as an inventor?

Bryan: Time can be a double edged sword. You don’t need weeks or months to come up with a great idea. You also don’t need weeks or months to demo it. If you work closely and efficiently with other people, you can get a lot done in 48 hours.

Tom: What I learned most from the Make48 event is working as a team and finding guys with diverse skills and abilities is important. Having a great sense of humor helped us work better in the grind of the competition. We laughed and had a lot of fun while cooperating and working with one another. I’ve learned more from this competition to know what I’m good at and not good at. And just let teammates run with their unique talents and get out of their way. Cooperation and trusting each other to get their individual job done, was most enjoyable.

Looking back, anything you would’ve done different?

Bryan: Sleep more 🙂

Overall what was the best part of the Make48 experience?

Bryan: The best part of the experience for me was the opportunity to get to work with Angelo and James. I knew Tom pretty well before the event, but it was the first time I had ever worked with James or Angelo. I had a great time working with all three of my teammates and would do it again if the opportunity presented itself.

Tom: The best part of the competition, by far, was the people! From the event organizers, very talented teams, the judges and varied business entities, CEO’s and diverse world renowned inventors , it was an incredible honor to meet, work with and compete with all the special people involved.

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