BELLWOOD - Donny Beaver has spent his career identifying and solving problems.
In 1983, he and Ben Stapelfeld were looking for a way to make things easier for Sermac Industries, their industrial cleaning business. They knew there had to be a better way than using clay pellets to soak up leaking and dripping oil from machinery.
After numerous trials - and with the help of a research team - they developed a successful product.
(Mirror photo by J.D. Cavrich)
Donny Beaver shows off the “MudFlinger” at HalenHardy in Bellwood last month. The portable boot cleaner is part of Beaver’s MudKill line of products.
(Mirror photo by J.D. Cavrich)
Josh and Annie Beaver inspect printing on vinyl signs at HalenHardy in Bellwood.
In 1985, the Pig absorbent sock and the New Pig Corp. were born. The prototype was a nylon sock about 30 inches long and 3 inches in diameter, filled with ground corncobs.
Beaver admits he is probably best known for his efforts with New Pig, which has grown into a multi-channel, multi-brand supplier of innovative liquid management solutions to industrial, commercial, military and government facilities in 70 countries worldwide. He remains a substantial shareholder in the company today, but he has also been involved in several other business ventures over the years.
His latest venture, HalenHardy LLC , which he co-founded with partner Carl Cohen, who serves as chief operating officer, was launched in January 2013 in the former Beaver Prints building on Main Street to serve the Marcellus Shale industry.
The idea for his latest venture stemmed from conversations with gas and oil company officials who visited another of his ventures, HomeWaters Club in Spruce Creek.
Workers in the Marcellus Shale industry often get covered with silica, which when dusted off your clothing can get into your lungs and cause damage.
So HalenHardy invented the MASHH (Mobile Air Shower by HalenHardy), which removes crystalline silica from clothing in less than 30 seconds.
Companies in the oil and gas industry as well as the sand mining industry have become customers of the product, said Beaver, who serves as chief executive officer of the company.
The next "leg" of HalenHardy, MudKill products, was an outgrowth of the MASHH.
"When taking the MASHH to muddy job sites, we were tracking mud into the MASHH units. The mud turned to dust and clogged the filters. We needed to get their boots cleaned before they got into the shower so we developed a line of boot cleaning products called MudKill," Beaver said. "I've been cleaning up mud my whole life, but I never took it seriously until this."
The MudFlinger "flying saucer," a portable boot cleaner, is part of the MudKill line of products, which also includes brushes, discs and cleaning stations for muddy boots.
"MudKill Products stop mud in its tracks," Beaver said. "Slips, trips and falls are one of the leading causes of workplace accidents. And you get a clean workplace to boot."
In early March, Beaver took his MudKill products to help with the mudslides in Azusa and Glendora, Calif.
"I got to torture test the products, and they worked like a charm," Beaver said.
The third "leg" of HalenHardy, dubbed "Heck Out," named for the expression "keep the heck out" - are barriers designed to keep people away from dangerous construction sites or emergency scenes - will be launched in early April.
The barriers can be folded up and carried in a bag similar to a lawn chair. They can be assembled in less than 30 seconds and are constructed so warning signs can easily be attached to them. The barriers are drawing rave reviews from those who have seen demonstrations.
"You know you have a good product when people scratch their head and say, 'Why didn't I think of that,'" Beaver said.
The portable barriers will be useful at fire and emergency scenes, said Reynold D. Santone Jr., retired Altoona fire chief.
"Every year a lot of firefighters and EMS people are injured because people are always gawking at accidents and fires. I wish we would have had these before. They are easy to set up and they take up little room on an emergency vehicle. Time is of the essence when you are working with people," Santone said. "I think they have some good ideas and some good products at a reasonable price. That's what emergency responders are looking for - to get a good product at a good price is the key to survival in the end."
The barriers also will be useful at construction sites, said Dave Remick, president of Associated Builders and Contractors, Central Pennsylvania Chapter.
"In my opinion, they are very effective. It is a pretty effective tool for the construction industry," Remick said. "We thought that would be a good way to keep pedestrians out of construction sites. It is pretty amazing stuff."
Today, HalenHardy has 12 employees, and Beaver is optimistic that number will grow to between 25 and 40 within the next year or so.
The company is off to a great start, winning the Environmental Health and Safety Award from the Ben Franklin Shale Gas Innovation and Commercialization Center in September.
"We spent last year focusing on testing and development. This year was our launch year," Beaver said. "We spent last year developing new products. People don't care about companies; they care about stuff that helps them."
Beaver said he has assembled a good team of workers including Denny Middleton, team leader of product development.
Middleton retired from Spray Nine in Jamestown, N.Y., lived in South Carolina for 17 years and came back to work with Beaver.
"Denny inspires me. He can come up with more angles and ideas in a minute than most people do in a lifetime. He covers every angle. That supercharges me," Beaver said.
Beaver is optimistic about the future of his latest venture.
"It is a wonderful opportunity. I am surrounded by people 30 years younger than me who have energy to catapult this. We are laying a foundation for another company that can be multi-generational," Beaver said.
Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-78467.