And the SPECS Tank winner is…

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And the SPECS Tank winner is…

By Marianne Wilson - 03/30/2018
Leveraging the industry’s keen interest in retail innovation, Chain Store Age’s 2018 SPECS conference, held at the Gaylord Texan in Dallas, included a first: the SPECS Tank Innovator of the Year award. The winner was determined during a presentation that followed the format of the popular television show that has contestants pitch their new (or on-the-boards) products or solutions in front of a panel of judges (“sharks”).

In the SPECS version, five contestants faced the sharks. Each individual was given four minutes to pitch their products, after which the SPECS sharks were given time to ask the contestant follow-up questions.

The sharks, all members of the SPECS 2018 Advisory Board, were: Randy Pannell, VP of construction for Saks Fifth Avenue; Craig Hale, associate, HFA; Lisa Smola-Hollo, project manager, growth and development, Ulta Beauty; and Wendy Whetton, senior facilities project manager for Harbor Freight Tools. Scott Griffin, director of store design and construction for Stein Mart, and also a SPECS advisory board member, served as emcee.

WINNER: Mike Rose, CEO of Heritage Fire and Security Hackensack, N.J., took home the SPECS Tank Innovator of the Year award with his newly patented invention: the RHGP-1 range hood grease protection device.

“During normal kitchen operation in a restaurant operation, grease-laden smoke rises into the range hood,” Rose explained to the judges. “This grease can clog up components of the fire suppression system.”

The RHGP-1 device installs inside the range hood pipe and is rotated 90 degrees to lock it in place — protecting the detection cable and pipe from clogging caused by the grease-laden vapors and allowing the system to operate as intended. Removal involves a simple twist and turn, and the device is discarded and replaced.

Rose’s winning invention — the RHGP-1 range hood grease protection device — will be officially unveiled at the National Association of State Fire Marshalls’ annual conference in Park City, Utah, on August 13.

In addition to Heritage Fire and Security’s Rose, who made the winning pitch, four other contestants were presenters on the SPECS Tank stage. They were:

Ray Salzer, principal, Salzer Products, who unveiled his innovative snow melt solution called “Melt Jet;”

Lisa Schwartz, president, ProCoat, who demonstrated the company’s new acoustical ceiling tile spray, along with the spray adapter and extension pole;

Brent Bishop, VP of sales and operations, North America, Mapal Plastics, who introduced a new recyclable foam polypropylene sheet called PolyCraft; and

Rob Reiter, chief security consultant, Calpipe Security Bollards, who proposed a new way to monetize security bollards by creating a promotional network to make bollards cash positive for retailers.

The individuals who made it to the SPECS Shark Tank were selected from a pool of diverse submissions. A SPECS Tank session is already in the works for SPECS 2019.

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