- Tell us something about yourself, your background
I was born in raised in Dallas, graduated from Lake Highlands (Win State!) and graduated from SMU back when they had the best football team money could buy.
Instead of socializing and having a family, I became a career man. It was not my plan. I always wanted to be an inventor, from as far back as I can remember. However, I got into bad habits and was a mess until I finally sobered up in 1995 at 36 years old.
- How/Why did you start inventing. What set you off?
I bounced around in some jobs in early sobriety but was unsure of what I really wanted to do. I ended up starting a services business in 2000. We would run errands, do minor repairs, walk dogs. Our first year, we did $675,000 mainly from putting funny fliers on people’s doors. Well, that morphed into a remodeling business where we had a customer in a historic home. The wood around the exterior was rotting so we were doing some repairs outdoors but were astonished there were no mosquitoes. Turns out, this man had paid someone to travel 300 miles to install a misting system for him!
“He said, “Steve, you should go into that business! Nobody is doing it in Dallas!” So, in 2001, we became the first company from Dallas to install mosquito misting systems.
We invented our first product and filed for a patent by 2002. The problem with misting systems is that they are expensive and spray toxic chemicals. So, we invented the first portable mosquito mister. Our patent was granted in 2004 and we got a $4 million investment in 2006.
I had much to learn as these guys bought control and so they ignored my specifications and built a machine that did not work and was poorly made. I split from the company but came back to them to see if they would fund research on some natural products, I discovered that actually worked better than chemicals. They told me, “We don’t believe green pesticides are the future of the industry!” Because of that I was able to get a release from my non-compete. So, in 2008, I devoted my life and career to natural mosquito repellents that not only get rid of mosquitoes but that do not harm pollinators!
Several things have inspired me to continue to develop products but they all boil down to the lack of honesty and integrity in the pest control industry. The chemical companies all say their products are safe. They lie about how effective they are because most of them really don’t know! The EPA, it turns out, is there to protect big chemical and many of the state agriculture departments are there to protect pest control outfits! All of them maintain that natural products and repellents don’t work!
- Can you list the products you have invented with a brief explanation of each
Products I have invented include:
- The All Clear Mosquito Mister- a portable mosquito mister that sold for 1/5th the cost of misting systems and 1/10th the maintenance costs. However, in my testing and determination of the specifications, this little mister beat the tar out of the full misting systems.
- Because of the early success of the All Clear Mister, I started a little inventors group. We met monthly and paid dues so that we could invent, collaborate and create new products. We invented the Cut and Grab Loppers and licensed them to Fiskars. 6 months from concept to license!!!
- Other Mosquito Steve Products
- Misting Concentrate
- Spray on (topical) repellent
- Yard and Hose End Spray
- Fly Repellent for horses and cattle
- Fly repellent for outdoor restaurant dining
- Spider Repellent
- Granules that repel and keep female mosquitoes from laying eggs in standing water
- Granules that repel snakes
- Incense that actually acts as an area repellent
- Patent Pending Backyard sprayer that covers ½ an acre or more with one 2 to 3 minute spray
- Patio Mister (hope to launch in 2 years) that will sell for under $100
- Hog Attractant (hope to have a repellent soon)
- Soon we will have crop protection.
- How did you get from idea to finished product?
What sets me apart is my dedication and persistence. I have faced near homelessness several times and been very sick from testing my products. The lab testing most companies rely on is not accurate because:
- They test on mosquitoes raised in a lab so they have not evolved like outdoor mosquitoes
- There is still no quality and accurate tests for repellency
- Human Landing Rate counts, where you stand outside and count mosquitoes that land on you and compare that with a control and with other products- became unpopular in 1999 when West Nile Virus arrived in America. Until that time everyone relied on HLRCs for data. The National Institute of Health still says that Human Landing Rate Counts are still the “gold standard” for testing efficacy!
So, I test over and over and over again. I have done thousands of these outdoor tests. I have had more than 2000 mosquito bites in one night!
Never- Give – Up
- Let us know of useful resources that helped you i.e. Books, websites, software etc
I wish there had been books and mentors I could have leaned on. My research was simply experience. To be honest, faith is what kept me going, learning and evolving. Every time my back was against the wall, I prayed. I let God know that I am willing to do whatever he wants but I need a sign. He never failed to show me a sign. I avoided homelessness and other catastrophes simply by His grace. The same reason I have now been clean and sober for over 25 years.
–End of Interview–
15% off - Use code GA15