WHITEWATER — Whitewater recognizes an organization that is developing an emergency evacuation system for dangerous events such as an active shooter, fire, chemical and environmental dangers.
Safepro Technologies, LLC’s shot detection and laser guidance system is installed in schools, government buildings, hospitals, event spaces, and any other indoor public areas to isolate a threat and safely guide individuals away from harm.
Safepro has installed a proof of concept prototype at the Whitewater Innovation Center and has obtained a United States patent for the innovation of the system.
Paul Eckert, founder and president of Safepro, is happy to have his business located in Whitewater and to work with Mark Johnson, Whitewater University Innovation Center executive director. Eckert met Johnson early in his entrepreneurial ventures and Johnson immediately became engaged in the project, becoming a great mentor to Eckert over the last several years.
“We are excited Paul has chosen the Innovation Center to build his business operations and look forward to supporting him and the Safepro team as they grow their company in Whitewater,” said Johnson.
As the cornerstone facility to the 130-acre technology park, the 38,000 square-foot Whitewater University Innovation Center operates primarily as a mixed-use business incubator strategically built with support from the City of Whitewater, the Whitewater Community Development Authority and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
With the support of their partners, the Whitewater University Innovation Center’s mission is to create and foster durable businesses and jobs through a close alignment of UW-Whitewater’s research and educational competencies and the resources of the City of Whitewater. The Technology Park serves as a foundation for a diversified and robust regional economy through the attraction of new residents, utilization of UW-Whitewater faculty, staff and student expertise and the retention of alumni talent.
The company, located at the Whitewater University Innovation Center, began working in Whitewater in 2019. With its location at the Innovation Center, Safepro hopes to bring a manufacturing plant to the Whitewater area that would employ individuals from the community and the university.
By doing so, Safepro intends to work directly with the university to bring even more technology-driven projects to its curriculum. Working with the university also might allow Eckert to find great talent within the students looking for an internship and hands-on work.
Alex Gaziano, a senior in the UW-Whitewater Business school and marketing major, now is working as an intern with Safepro.
“I met Alex through a senior class project that was conducted by professor John DeGraff, in which the students had to develop a marketing plan for Safepro and two other Whitewater-based companies,” said Eckert. “Alex is a great asset to the Safepro team.”
Eckert learned a great deal from his partnership with the students.
“I was amazed by the feedback I received from the students in the class regarding how important they feel it is to get the Safepro emergency evacuation system into our schools,” stated Eckert. “They indicated they think about active shootings all the time. This was just one more reason I felt it important to continue on with our mission.”
In September 2020, Safepro Technologies, LLC was accepted into Gener8tor’s Beloit Startup Accelerator program, which is a nationally ranked accelerator that invests in high-growth startups. There, Eckert met the Hendricks Group and Mason Cook, the director of the program.
“Mason has helped drive Safepro in every aspect of the business, said Eckert. “He has motivated me to get out of my comfort zone and become the entrepreneur I am today.”
Additionally, Safepro applied for the Qualified New Business Venture (QNBV) Program and is waiting for full approval from the state of Wisconsin. QNBV program provides mutually beneficial outcomes for investors, startups and Wisconsin’s economy.
Participating businesses innovate and commercialize products in numerous industries including biotechnology, manufacturing, health technology, energy, information technology and more.
“It is very important to generate funding and investors for this project,” said Eckert. “Realistically, funding is the only thing holding us back from getting this to market and in our schools and businesses.”
The Community Development Authority continues to be proactive in its search of businesses that want to call Whitewater their home.
“Creating internship opportunities for students and the ability to grow product lines with the help of the university is an asset to the company, the students and potentially the city,” said Cathy Anderson, economic director for the City of Whitewater. “This may lead to potentially keeping our students in the Whitewater area to work, grow their family and live here for the long-term. What a success for everyone involved.”
Safepro’s mission statement: “Saving Lives Through Immediate Action, Safe Separation, and Response.”
Eckert hopes to continue the mission with the help of the Whitewater community.
To learn more about Safepro Technologies, LLC, contact Paul Eckert at (414) 322-4207 or visit its website, www.safeprotechnologies.com. — Contributed.