Fresh off of his trip to the Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment & Transport show in Indiana – the world’s largest annual trade show for environmental service professionals – we sat down with Rob Weir, Co-Founder of P-Pod. Here’s what he had to say…
Tell us a bit about P-Pod
We are a startup that developed and patented an innovative portable restroom that collapses down to 1/3 the size. We didn’t think outside the box, we just made the box smaller.
How did you come up with your company name?
What products/services do you provide?
We supply the portable toilet industry, military and disaster relief agencies with a cost saving product. P-pod is a stackable, foldable, alternative portable restroom. It’s a version of the traditional portable restroom that collapses down to 36 inches high, which can be tossed easily into the back of a small pickup truck or a regular old minivan.
For commercial uses, you can store three times the number of unit in the same space. Its collapsible design allows for better logistics and more efficient storage. That means more profit.
Anything new and exciting happening within your company?
We’re currently working on a waterless flush toilet. Trying to get IP at the moment.
Where can people find you online?
How has WEtech Alliance supported your business to date?
I’ve received support and advice from WEtech’s staff and mentors. I’ve also used many of the young companies in the Downtown Windsor Business Accelerator as well.
What tech gadget or resource (book, blog, magazine, app, website, etc.) has played a role in your company growth?
I am a self-taught designer that will look at anything that involves design and technical drawings: RED DOT, DWELL. DORNOB, PINTEREST, ARCHDAILY and I like to listen to the Wharton business channel on XM.
Looking into your company’s future, what are you most enthusiastic about?
I think we have a product that will change the industry. There is a possibility that with our modern automotive manufacturing, innovative new collapsible design, ability to keep a very competitive price point, and favourable US dollar we can make a big dent in the market.
What excites you most about the local tech community?
I love where the tool industry is and feel we are producing some world class molds for the auto industry and the tooling the local guys are making is state of the art. St Clair and U of Windsor are helping supply the industry with young talent. I would like to see the local high schools improve there machine shop and CAD classes to funnel more young people into the industry. It is in our back yard. We can develop new tangible, hardware style products from start to finish. I think we need to make a road map for that kind of development. Soft ware is great but you cant code the next restroom or beer dispenser. Windsor could be to hardware, what San Francisco is to software.
If you could have coffee with any business leader or industry expert, who would you choose, and why?
I think I would like to have a coffee with Barry Zekelman. I have admired his story. He is a very wealthy man who is still grounded. Still an ordinary guy. Even the wealthy people in Windsor never forget where they came from. We are a lunch bucket town that never gets much credit for what good natured people we are. But then again we don’t want credit. We just work hard and would rather pull a guy up then push him down.
What ideas do you have to help accelerate our local Tech community?
I think I go back to trying to nurture the guy with the idea. I realize there are way more bad ideas than good. But put a call out to anyone who thinks they have the next heated lunch box or no foam beer dispenser. Give them a forum to present there idea.
Get the angel investor in touch with the CAD designer and the tool maker and the marketing guy and patent lawyer.
Get local government to stop casing the big company with 500 jobs looking for a place to set up tax free.
Cultivate the little guy that might hire 20 or 30 people and be forever thankful.
If you can land 15 or 20 small innovators, you will create a culture of product development.
It’s right here. Every piece of the puzzle is in Essex county. We are smack dab in the middle of the richest economy in the world.
Windsor has to quit using someone else’s road map and play to its strength. We work hard, we show up every day and WE BUILD STUFF! We are really good at it. We will always need stuff. Stuff is not going be replaced with an app.
Some of my favorite stuff is built here. Cars and booze.
Bring the ideas here instead of Toronto or Detroit. Then we can hang on to the manufacturing.
Western Michigan has development money they pooled from taxes, corporations and feeder industries.
Focus on one thing. PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT. Get the whole region that Toronto forgot to come together and throw resources at it.
This is who we are. Teach it in the schools, preach it in the churches. Set the bar high. If our destiny is to build stuff, lets be the very best stuff builders on the planet.
Anything else you want people to know?
If we can focus the energy of the great people of this region on selling and nurturing the thing we do best. Stick to it and not waver. The world will notice. They will seek us out and pay a premium for our skill. Like Swedish furniture and Japanese electronics. Its not cheap. Its good.