Red Deer entrepreneur creates cool truck accessory

Scott Getschel didn’t have a laboratory wind tunnel to test the tonneau cover he designed for his truck.

Scott Getschel of Fiber-Werx International Inc. sits in the back of his truck

Scott Getschel didn’t have a laboratory wind tunnel to test the tonneau cover he designed for his truck.

But the owner of Fiber-Werx International Inc. in Sylvan Lake verified the stability of his Rizor Automated Tonneau Cover when he drove through windy Lethbridge with the doors up.

“It was so gusty I could feel the truck move, and I had no problems.”

In addition to favourable results from such road-testing, the Rizor has generated positive feedback from customers and trade shows. It received the people’s choice new invention award at the Western Canada Farm Progress Show in Regina last month, and turned heads at the giant Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas in November.

“We had just a tremendous response,” said Getschel of the SEMA Show. “So we are looking at setting up dealerships around the globe. I’ve had calls from Australia, from the U.K., Brazil.”

Tonneau covers are nothing new, he acknowledged. What sets the Rizor apart is it’s the first fibre-glass cover that can be left open while driving.

Traditional tonneau covers must be removed when cargo is hauled that extends above the truck box, explained Getschel. And soft covers are less secure and tend to stretch and fade.

The Rizor Automated Tonneau Cover consists of a pair of doors that open or close with the push of a button, and form a weathertight seal.

“I could lay down a plasma (TV) in the back and drive though a car wash and not be worried about it,” said Getschel.

He added that the Rizor is designed for Canadian conditions, with mechanisms that work in -30 temperatures, snow and freezing rain. Aluminum and stainless steel hardware prevent rust, and the doors can be painted to match any vehicle colour.

“There’s absolutely nothing in the world like this,” said Getschel, who has applied for patent protection in Canada and the United States.

He created the preliminary drawings for the Rizor around 2003, motivated in part by a desire to reduce Fiber-Werx’s dependence on the customers it supplies fibre-glass products like waterslides and recreational vehicle components to. When the current economic slide began, Getschel decided it was time to develop the Rizor in earnest.

“I brought my own truck in, parked it in the shop and literally told my staff and my partner at the time that it wasn’t coming out until I had a cover on it.”

It took several months to create a prototype for that 2007 Ford F150, with numerous upgrades made thereafter.

“Since the SEMA Show, we’ve improved it 10-fold,” said Getschel. “I’m really, really pleased with it.”

That includes the manufacturing process, which utilizes state-of-the-art infusion moulding to reduce volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, produce a more flexible, consistent product, and allow for the use of recycled materials.

Fiber-Werx has developed Rizor moulds for most current Ford, Dodge and GMC trucks. Others for Toyotas, Nissans and Chevrolets are expected shortly.

“I will have them for every truck on the market,” pledged Getschel. “All the newer trucks right now, and then we’ll start going back in years.”

It’s important to expand the range of Rizor covers available and ensure all function properly before marketing the product aggressively, he said.

“I don’t want to rush it. I want to make sure that we have the Cadillac of tonneau covers.

“Once we’re done, which should be another month, then we’re going to hit very hard the national market.”

Fiber-Werx is selling directly to customers and has retained a marketing company to negotiate with prospective dealers. In the meantime, it’s been showcasing the Rizor at vehicle shows and other events.

“We’re just trying to educate people that there is something different out there.”

Additional information about the Rizor Automated Tonneau Cover can be found online at www.rizorcovers.com.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

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