Story: Vincent Coletti and John Sotomayor
The next Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell or Bill Gates may be tinkering in their garage on the next big idea right here in Ocala/Marion County.
High School graduate and roofer Faustin Gallegos believes he has come up with a multi-million dollar idea. Having worked as a certified roofing contractor for 17 years, the local business owner of FNF Enterprises Inc in Ocala knows the inherent physical risks of the business – injuries due to falls.
According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, the number of Americans that require medical treatment for ladder-related injuries is roughly 165,000 per year. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 6,000 result in death. Current laws indicate that ladders must be tied off for safety reasons. Yet there is nothing to designate what a ladder may be tied off with. This could mean a piece of rope could be the only thing standing between someone and hours in a hospital and millions in bills.
Gallegos created the answer to this with a product that actually holds the ladder at the base and the top. According to Gallegos this alone could stop several workplace accidents and home accidents, which will cut medical costs, prevent severe injuries and save lives.It was actually Gallegos’ fiancé who noticed how unsafe it was for him to be on a ladder and suggested he “do something” to increase safety on ladders.
“She is the person that inspired my work,” Gallegos said. “She was a big player in bringing the idea to light and she has energized me.”
Gallegos also saw a financial benefit to business owners. OSHA continuously hand out fines every day for safety violations. Each fine could reach $1,000 per violation. Gallegos product would save business owners thousands of dollars in fines.
Gallegos has not wasted any time. Having come up with the idea in May and gone through a few prototypes he tested until he developed the ideal model, Gallegos lined up with a manufacturer and distributor, ABC Supply Company – a $7 billion dollar a year company – to help shape his dream into reality. They are the largest exterior building supply company in the nation. Gallegos purchased his business supplies at ABC for years. When he approached them with his idea they immediately recognized the value in his invention.
Upon seeing Gallegos’s demonstration of the product Tony Bara, a managing partner of ABC in Ocala said, “I want that product in our store.” Bara then invited Gallegos to showcase his product at a vendor expo in Miami at ABC’s booth. He attended the show in June 2012 and received an overwhelming positive response to his product. That’s when Bara told Gallegos he could see his product flying off the shelves in stores nationwide. Other local roofers and roofing companies Gallegos knows and approached has already expressed interest and has purchase orders ready when the product becomes available on the market.
Read the rest of this article and more in our Sept. 2012 issue.