Carl and Jim worked together for a major automotive manufacturing company. Carl (program manager/manufacturing business office) routinely canvassed Jim (plant manufacturing engineer) for plant data (labor, facility, and tooling cost) in support of program status reviews with upper management.
In late 2011, Jim approached Carl for help in costing out a pickup truck accessory he had developed. Jim raises horses in Marshall, MI and would load his pickup truck with hay bales to take out to the horses. At the feed area, he would have to climb up in the truck bed to retrieve the bales that had slid forward to the truck cab. His solution was to develop a “truck trunk” to contain the bales for accessibility from the tailgate. Jim is a journeyman tool maker and crafted the first prototype made of wood clad with polyethylene plastic in his workshop. As Jim and his family attended various horse shows (his daughter, Izzy, is quite the equestrian), he encountered a significant level of enthusiasm for his “truck trunk” for horse equipment and tack gear. So much so that he was compelled to make one-offs for his friends.
Carl, having never owned a pickup truck, did not comprehend the function or utility of Jim’s “truck trunk” but was well aware of the huge Financial Planning Volumes annually projected for domestic manufactured pickup trucks (Ford F-Series, Chevy Silverado, GM Sierra, and Dodge RAM). Carl had a standing weekly lunch date with Russ (a retired co-worker and structural engineer with superb design instincts for automotive componentry) and suggested we introduce Russ to the “truck trunk” concept.
The three met at Ruby Tuesdays and Jim presented the concept and photos to Russ. Russ immediately understood the utility and market potential for the “truck trunk” and responded: “This is cool. We can do this!”.
- Carl Powell, President & CEO
Carl has over 40 years experience in operations and product design engineering disciplines. These disciplines include plant labor measurement and process flow layout, product design & release engineering, product development systems development and implementation, and statistical process control.
- Russ Sheehan, Vice President- Prototype/Manufacturing Engineering
For over 25 years, Russ owned and operated a private international corporation. He was responsible for the design and manufacture of a patented line of material handling equipment and packaging machinery
- Jim Todd, Vice President, Product Concept Engineering
Principal Jim Todd is the inventor of The Pickup Tuck and has assigned the registered patent to the company with no outstanding license or royalty obligations.
- Nathan Garrett, Vice President- CAD Design & Manufacturing
- SPI Blow Molding, Partner / Turn-Key Supplier (http://moldedparts.com/)
Another member of the TSP team is SPI Blow Molding LLC. SPI is an industry leading ISO-9000-2015 Certified custom blow molder recognized for delivering high quality, innovative production solutions where others have fallen short. Based in Coloma, Michigan and along with its sister company, (SPI Industries) in South Bend, IN, there are few custom blow molded or injection molded projects they cannot handle. SPI has experience in supporting the development and manufacturing of many industrial products, some are available on their website.
- Ed Wu, President, 99Studio Inc- CAD Design / Mold Tool Feasibility & Accessories
- Ellis Hayes, Director, Marketing & Customer Acquisition