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After The Pitch: Tom Tafoya with Mt. Hoodlums

As season 2 continues to air across the country, our team members are back at home, working on their own projects. Tom Tafoya, a team member of Mt. Hoodlums, is one of those team members. A painting contractor, from Portland, Oregon, it was a group of inventors at Inventright, that pointed Tom to Make48. “They kept talking about an exciting Make48 competition, and all the positive impacts they were making in communities across the country,” and he began noticing the Make48 trailer at the NHS. “ I attend the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas every year in May, and get to see all the new inventions related to the painting industry.” It was there when Tom began noticing our Make48 trailer, located at the front entrance of the Las Vegas Convention Center. “All the fun seems to start at the Make48 trailer!”

Tom met with our co-creators at the Las Vegas National Hardware Show. They encouraged Tom to apply and find a team, but Tom didn’t feel like he had a great chance of being selected, but thought he’d give it a try. He ended up choosing a diverse group of individuals for their team. “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.”

Tom’s plan ended up working and their team went on to design the, DrinkSlinger, which ended up coming in 3rd place! The DrinkSlinger will be manufactured for store-shelves by Nisha Sawhney and her team at SnS Design are featured as they fine-tune the prototype into a product that can be mass-produced.

It wasn’t winning that was Tom’s best memory but, “Beyond meeting all the special guests, and fun and talented people from the other teams, my favorite part may have been watching the individual skillsets of my team members unfold during the competition.” Click here to meet Tom and his team. 

Today, Tom has a handful of patent-pending paint tools, “they’re designed and efficient for the everyday contractor, but simple enough for the DIYer ( Do-it-yourselfer). Few bells and whistles. The goal is to create with minimal manufacturing hurdles- keep them simple, at low price points.” He’s also working on a product idea in the optical industry as well.

Tom conveyed to me what he took away from his time at Make48. “It has been a great experience! To see a product idea move so fast- from start to finish- has been most enjoyable. The Make48 team is a “ well-oiled machine!”  The resources they provide to allow teams to bring ideas to life is unbelievable.”

“More than anything, I learned that working closely with teams of experts to propel a product idea forward, is especially crucial, in a spirit of cooperation.  There’s a lot of back and forth with industrial designers, marketing and packaging people, attorneys, teammates, licensees,… There’s always something new to learn, improve upon, or think of in a different way, that stretches you. There are also exciting advances in technology that allow you to see your product unfold in a different light, every step of the way.”

You can still watch Tom and his team’s journey on PBS and check out the clip below of their team pitching the Drink Slinger to our judges!






Join the discussion One Comment

  • Adam Richman says:

    The idea you guys put all of these things out promoting the site and what you do but you never tell anybody or show anybody what the ideas are there winning the contest

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