Focus on the Entrepreneur: A Safe Backup
A Truck Driving graduate invents a new product with the help of the Venture Center and Fab Lab.
An idea came to Luke Haen while backing up a semi-trailer during his training as a truck driver at Fox Valley Technical College that could soon change the entire industry.
The 46-year-old Kaukauna resident felt there was a way to help truck drivers more effectively back up trailers into loading docks. “Backing up with mirrors is difficult because there is a nearly nine-foot blind spot,” Haen says. “There had to be a better way. So, I did some sketches and put together an initial prototype.”
The result was BAKKAB—a wireless high-definition camera system that helps truck drivers more easily back their trailers into loading docks. “Made by my company, the BAKKAB system sticks on with magnets and you see everything behind you,” says Haen. “By helping drivers avoid damages caused by backing up, BAKKAB could save the trucking industry billions of dollars.”
After graduating from FVTC’s Truck Driving program, Haen immediately earned a career driving long haul. He and his wife also continued working on BAKKAB by enrolling in the Venture Center’s E-seed™ program at FVTC for entrepreneur training. The Venture Center connected them to the college’s Fab Lab for help in product engineering and prototype development.
“Everyone at Fox Valley Tech has been terrific,” he says. “We’ve secured great funding and I now have a staff of eleven. BAKKAB will be made entirely in Wisconsin, and we hope to begin production in the second quarter of 2017.”
Haen, who has two master’s degrees plus doctoral credits, says his FVTC experience has totally changed the way he looks at technical education. “When a career I had been pursuing didn’t materialize, I came to Fox Valley Tech because it has the best truck driving school in the United States,” he adds. “FVTC offers the best and most complete educational experience I’ve ever had.”
Upcoming E-seed Sessions
The Fox Valley Technical College Venture Center’s successful E-seed entrepreneur training program is offered throughout the region. Register here to attend one of these upcoming 13-week sessions:
February 6-May 1, 2017, Appleton campus, 1-4 p.m., Mondays
February 6-May 1, 2017, Appleton campus, 6-9 p.m., Mondays
March 7-May 30, 2017, Oshkosh Riverside campus, 6-9 p.m., Tuesdays
March 8-May 31, 2017, Waupaca Regional Center, 6-9 p.m., Wednesdays