Bending for a solution
As a construction superintendent, Stan Rose knows how vulnerable plug-in pedestals are to careless motorists.
“I’ve been in this business for 30-plus years and I’ve seen hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of them wrecked,” said the Calmar resident, who has spent the past three years overseeing work at Red Deer’s Clearview Market Square.
He recalls an earlier project he was involved with in Edmonton, where nine of 29 power pedestals had to be replaced before the development was even complete.
“It’s an ongoing problem.”
A year and a half ago, during one of his hour-long commutes between work and home, Rose found himself pondering the problem.
He had just noticed that the concrete pedestals in the Sheraton Red Deer Hotel’s parking lot had been damaged and was wondering how strong they would need to be to withstand the impact of something like snow-removal equipment.
Then inspiration hit.
“Instead of fighting it, why don’t we just go with the flow?” Rose reasoned.
“Let it bend over and come back.”
He set to work developing a spring-mounted pedestal, and came up with a prototype with just the right “lateral loading” resistance to stay upright in high winds while yielding easily to vehicle bumpers.
A patent lawyer confirmed that the design was unique to Canada and the United States.
“He said, ‘I don’t believe it. We’ve been plugging in our cars for more than 50 years and nobody’s thought of this?’” recalled Rose.
A plumber he works with used more colourful language when he learned of the invention.
A popular expletive was followed with, “Why didn’t I think of that! That is so simple.”
With a patent pending, Rose displayed his invention under the name Stanz Pedestals last March at an Alberta Electrical League trade show in Lethbridge.
And he arranged for electrical product distributor WESCO Distribution to carry it.
“We have demo models in Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Peace River, Fort McMurray and Lloydminster,” said Rose of WESCO’s Alberta network.
“With those demo models there, the sales are happening.”
Manufacturing is done locally, with Rick the Welder, Cornell Custom Fabricating, Lasermann Cuts and Go Powder among the companies involved.
Rose vows that production will remain in Alberta, regardless of Stanz Pedestals’ success and growth.
At about $250 a unit, its pricing is competitive, he said.
“The standard ones that you see smashed all the time are in that same price range, and as soon as you hit them once you’ve go to replace them.”
Stanz Pedestals even has written endorsements from a pair of Alberta insurance companies, which suggest that the product should help reduce vehicle damage claims.
Rose thinks his pedestals have potential uses beyond parking stall plug-ins. Card-swipe units and electric car charging stations are two possibilities.
“We’ve already sold some with no (electrical) heads on them, because they wanted to put something else on.”
Additional information about Stanz Pedestals can be found on the business’s website at www.stanzpedestal.com.