Just ordinary people with a great idea--that is all it seems to take for local entrepreneurs to strike a chord of success.
Dennis Grieve invented the AFB, a new device in the agricultural community that cleans the engine's canister air filter in seconds; this allows fuel and maintenance costs to be cut while the engine's overall performance increases, leading to an increased engine life.
Jake Heying, CEO and CFO of Salmon River Innovations LLC, recently attended the Canadian Farm Progress Show to present this new product to consumers. The three-day farm show event took place June 20-22, in Regina, Saskatchewan, with 806 exhibitors. The show presents an award to new innovative products. Salmon River Innovation's Air Filter Blaster took home the Sterling Award, which is equivalent to second place.
"Because the award comes from the buyers, it acknowledges the fact that our product is a good thing and something farmers appreciate. We were very pleased and humbled when we received the award--we are proud of our product," Jake Heying, CEO and CFO of Salmon River Innovations, said.
The Air Filter Blaster was the only product not computerized making its high ranking even more impressive. The Air Filter Blaster is unique because its universal design allows it to be used in all brands of tractors, heavy equipment, semi-trucks, and a number of air filtration systems. This is also crucial for farmers, and the Air Filter Blaster takes a task that usually requires 10-15 minutes and completes it in 30 seconds. The Air Filter Blaster is not only beneficial for the machine to run properly, but testing has shown that with a dirty filter, considerably more fuel is used per hour. In just one day, the AFB claims to pay for itself.
The Canadian Farm Progress Show is not the only trade show that the Air Filter Blaster has been recognized at. Prior to the Canada shows, the AFB was a tremendous success at the Commodity Classic in Nashville, Tennessee, the Iowa Power Show in Des Moines, the World of Concrete in Las Vegas, the ConAg Expo in Las Vegas, and the East Coast Sawmill & Logging Expo in Richmond, Va. This is also not the first award the AFB has received; at the World Ag Expo in Tulare, Calif., the AFB took home the first place award for the show's Most Innovative Product.
"When I became CEO of Salmon River Innovations, I had on one condition -- that the company and its day-to-day operations were based in Spencer, Iowa. Spencer is such a great location, it is central for shipping purposes across the United States, and the culture of the Midwest and Iowa is unique in that the people here are honest and hard-working," Heying said.
In the future, Salmon River Innovations hopes the AFB is sold by 100 percent resellers, which they are currently looking for. Since the Air Filter Blaster's launch in January of 2012, the AFB has sold more than 1,300 units and currently boasts six resellers. If trends continue, soon the company can focus on manufacturing the product in large quantities.
"The hard part is, large companies want to be a pioneer of a product--but a proven product," Heying said.
Due to this fact of business, Salmon River Innovations, LLC is having to prove itself to the large companies. They seem to be doing just that as they continually bring home awards at the trade shows they attend. "You have to build confidence with your customers first, and then the confidence from the large companies will come, but with all 'never before seen products,' it is all about awareness," Heying said.
Heying will be an exhibitor at the Corridor's first Innovation Pavilion at the Clay County Fair this coming September. The Fair's Innovation Pavilion, sponsored by Iowa Lakes Corridor, will highlight agriculture technology and local entrepreneurs to showcase local businesses and products.