For over 30 years people from all walks of life have been crossing paths with Dave Meintrup with their inventions, new business ideas and problems. Most of the time the entrepreneur is only familiar with the problem and how it is affecting their business. Sometimes they have some initial ideas on how to solve that problem. Quite often they are not looking beyond their immediate situation to get at the root cause of the problem.
In some cases the problem requires only a minor modification to how they are handling their internal information flow or the processes surrounding the work. Other times the issue requires a more extensive business change. And in some cases this re-engineering process reveals opportunities for new products and services…even untapped markets that have similar needs.
While most of the new products and service offerings he has created have been in the technology field (such as PC-based hardware and software) a number of them have been in entirely new fields, that may or may not involve high-tech solutions.
In fact when he started his freelance consulting business in 1977 it was on the back of an invention that came as the result of an industry-wide problem at that time. It was a longer life, dual sided, two-track printer ribbon cartridge. It came about because the Word Processing / Technical Documentation and Training group that he was managing was having trouble purchasing new printer ribbon cartridges for their Diablo Serial Printers. And so was everyone else. Suppliers couldn’t keep up with the demand. He started purchasing recycled ribbon cartridges from a local supplier that was reloading them from the used cartridges that the clients were saving. Gary, the owner of the company, became a friend of Dave’s and more was learned of the problem. Dave not only recruited a couple more re-cyclers but also helped to design a device that would open the cartridges with less damage and breakage of the main housing. During his investigation and through this experience Dave became very familiar with how these cartridges worked. Then by applying the basic principles from a two-tracked audio cassette he set about making a dual-sided, or two-track, reversible printer ribbon cartridge. His unique design allowed a manufacturer of the ribbon material to introduce a new and improved ribbon substrate material that could last 4 times longer than existing technology. After a couple of years of R & D prototyping and making plastic injection molds, he sold his patent to NEC Corporation for use on their new 3500 Series printer.
During the energy crisis of the late ’70’s, David and his partners also developed 5 unique products to address the nation’s growing needs for alternative sources of energy and conservation. They were:
- an Alcohol Fuel Topping system
- an Aneroebic Methane Gas Digestor for Poultry waste
- a Radiant Heating system for fireplaces
- an inexpensive Solar Trough Collector
- and a Propane Conversion Kit for trucks.
Dave’s interest in microcomputers and electronics started in 1975 when he acquired 7 of the first microprocessor based desktop computer systems from a former distributor. The units were first introduced in 1972 and were from the pioneer in the industry – VIATRON. After experimenting with these systems for a while he moved on to work with ONTEL, Apple, and Vector Graphics; all pioneers in the field prior to the introduction of the IBM PC in November of 1981. Dave received his first IBM in January of ’82 and has been actively involved in creating software for desktop PC’s and networks ever since.
Even though his primary new product engineering activities for the last 25 years has revolved around designing business application software, he has also spent a considerable amount of time and investment in the following areas:
- Low cost alternative housing designs
- Alternative home energy generation systems
- A commercial ceiling tile cleaning system
- Professional BBQ grills and smokers
- Cedar shake restoration system
- Online service applications for the Internet
- Illuminated fishing lures
- Asbestos abatement techniques
- Remote monitoring of oil well storage facilities
- VTOL-styled aircraft designs for RC model airplanes
- Geodesic Dome shelters from used tires
- Improved Methane Digesters for farmers’ livestock operations
- Joint-Venture Matchmaking Network