Inventor Jon Snider thought the first of his creations would enter the manufacturing phase this year. Then a gunman walked in to Marjory Stoneman-Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and everything was put on hold.
Snider’s passion for problem-solving product development was immediately ignited. Soon, the Martin resident had piqued the interest of four different potential investors and his “safe desk” prototype was underway.
Using a detachable desktop to be produced using materials and technology of Shotstop, the makers of BallisticBoard®, an insert that turns backpacks, computer bags, etc., into instant ballistic protection, Snider conceptualized a desk that will withstand multiple shot impacts from handgun and rifle fire. With the addition of a hidden sliding plate, the coverage area for elementary and high school students would leave little of the student’s frame unprotected.
Acknowledging that his approach is defense rather than an offensive attack on the problem of gun violence in schools, Snider believes that providing some degree of immediate protection is a positive step.
“We can’t prevent everything,” Snider said, “but we can offer some peace of mind.”
“If you’re walking, you can run,” he added, referencing an active shooter situation. “If you’re sitting at a desk, you’re stuck.”
To literally put more options into the hands of each student, the detachable desktops can become individual shields. Or desks can be flipped and a wall of protection can be formed using several desks together.
After only a few weeks, Snider, whose fulltime employment is with Donaldson Brothers Rentals in Martin, has researched, initiated talks with Shotstop, found a production site with Trevathan Brothers in Dresden, designed the first desk and is now cutting the “fat” to make them cheaper for schools to purchase.
With Marty Kirby, a native of Martin now living in Sparta, Snider has formed Invent New Life, an accelerator where good ideas like the safe desk and those of other inventors can be brought to life. The veteran-owned and -operated business seeks to make life easier with the products they deliver and for the creators of those devices.
Once sales of the new desks begin, Snider intends to take a portion of what he receives to provide funding for inner city schools that might not be able to afford the desks without some assistance.
For the complete story, see the April 26th edition of the Press. Call 731-587-3144 to subscribe.