Inventor, product developer draws on state-supported laboratory to turn ideas into reality
Patrick Delehanty stood in a laboratory at the New Product Development Center on the Oklahoma State University-Tulsa campus and held up a rectangular canister.
Delehanty was showcasing the prototype of a hunting product he invented called the Trail Blaster.
Conceived as a timed aerosol spray device, the Trail Blaster was designed to cover a hunter’s scent and attract wild game in the woods. The idea is that a timed-release masking agent and pungent attraction odor such as deer urine would lure trophy game in close enough for a shot.
First, however, Delehanty, 28, had to turn his idea into reality. He followed a familiar product development path that required market and patent research, as well as creation of a working prototype to prove that a timed aerosol blaster would actually work.
Delehanty turned to OSU’s New Product Development Center and its Inventors Assistance Service (IAS) to bring the Trail Blaster to life.
Funded in part by the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST), the NPDC provides education, guidance, technical engineering assistance, resources and referrals to inventors and entrepreneurs from across Oklahoma. It has design laboratories both in Stillwater and Tulsa.
“The Inventors Assistance Service and New Product Development Center really helped us get started on this product,” Delehanty said as he held up a Trail Blaster prototype to show me the design.
The NPDC offers prototyping equipment and a staff of engineering student interns to help turn ideas like the Trail Blaster into working products.
“They helped us with the mechanical components and what components were going to work and what wasn’t going to work,” Delehanty said. “We started with that project and it has spun into several other projects down the road.”
Delehanty’s new product development and marketing company, Delco Products, is currently on its 16th development project with the NPDC.
An OSU graduate with both business and engineering degrees, Delehanty grew up in Broken Arrow, the offspring of entrepreneurial parents. His dad founded a trailer manufacturing company.
“I grew up underneath his desk with sticky notes all over the wall, doodling and trying to be a businessman myself,” Delehanty said.
After a stint in the Air Force and earning his degrees from OSU, Delehanty went to work for large corporations in both Tulsa and Houston before moving back to Oklahoma to start Delco Products.
Today, Delehanty works with other inventors through Delco Products to bring their concepts to life, as well as his own. Delco’s own “DripScent” slow release product line is currently being sold online and in retail shops around the country.
Other products have included specialty shot glasses and the Bit Clip, a fastener that can be attached to any type of drill or impact driver. Currently, Delehanty is working on a hunting product called the Hideabow, a sunflower seed container, a fitness device, a product for barber/hair stylist shops and a product for the medical industry.
“Delco currently has 17 projects in development that are new innovations,” Delehanty said. “We have products that touch nearly every industry but focus on outdoor products.”
Delco is opening its own expanded R&D space in Broken Arrow, Delehanty said.
As Delehanty stood in the New Product Development Center laboratory showcasing his Trail Blaster prototype, it was evident that the NPDC plays a big role in Delco’s operations.
“Honestly, they helped me find my niche,” he said.
Standing nearby as Delehanty spoke was Tyler Worden, a design engineer who oversees operations of the Tulsa NPDC in the Helmerich Research Center on the OSU-Tulsa campus.
“Our clientele is anyone from an inventor-entrepreneur through small and medium manufacturers up to global companies that have a presence in Oklahoma,” he said. “We’re here for the economic development of Oklahoma.”
Delehanty said he regularly uses the NPDC on behalf of Delco Product clients and often refers others that aren’t his clients to the center.
“Oklahoma is a great place for a startup,” Delehanty said. “You have so many resources like the Inventor’s Assistance Service and the New Product Development Center. People care, people want to help. It’s not all about making money here.”