Firefighter's Compass Idea Wins Statewide Biz Contest
An Eau Claire firefighter’s idea for a device to help rescue personnel navigate smoke-filled environments won the grand prize in the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest. Capt. Jeff Dykes is founder of Northern Star Fire, which has patents pending in five countries for an eight-directional electronic compass that fits inside a firefighter’s breathing apparatus. Dykes previously won the Idea Challenge, sponsored by the Eau Claire Area Economic Development Corp., and earlier this month emerged from 13 finalists in the Governor’s Business Plan Contest, which was held in Madison. “Jeff Dykes’ passionate presentation and well-written plan will help Northern Star Fire solve a problem while building a business,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. According to The Capital Times, several fire departments are already using the device on a trial basis, and Dykes will soon finalize an overseas order of 10,000 units. Learn more about the contest at govsbizplancontest.com.