Success is Achieved
David C. DuPont grew up in Houston, Texas, second to the youngest of eight kids. When he was in first grade the teacher called his parents to notify them that David had a terrible stuttering problem when he read in front of the class. His parents didn’t want the other kids to make fun of him and his speech impediment so they took him to their family doctor to see what, if anything, could be done.
The doctor told Mr. & Mrs. DuPont that to be sure there weren’t any other problems he wanted to run an EEG. The following Saturday they went to Herman Hospital. When David walked into the room he saw the big machine with all the wires dangling from it. The nurses started to glue these wires to his head. This whole time David’s thoughts were about the big machine and how the nurses must be hooking him up to it to fix his stuttering problem.
As the nurse was giving me a sleeping pill, I had to ask her what was on my mind, “Am I gonna be fixed when I wake up?” The nurse answered, “Honey, when you wake up you’re going to be just fine.”
I believed her. And when I awoke I NEVER STUTTERED ANOTHER WORD. To this day that nurse doesn’t know what a difference her words made in my life. States David.
David had always been intrigued with the internal workings of anything mechanical. When David was little, his dad always gave him real tools to tinker with. He started by taking old phones and clocks apart. His father would say, “He’s only taking them apart now, but when he gets older he’ll be able to start putting them back together.”
You see, in 1992 David was working as a mechanic. His boss asked to me to tune up a 4X4 truck before the customer got there. He told him “No problem”. Well, everything was going real smooth until he got to the last spark plug. It was way in the back and it was kinda tight. “So I gave it good grunt and BAM!! The milk crate shot out from under me, my arm was bleeding where it hit the hood hinge and my hip was bruised.”
I was sooo mad, all I could think was “There has to be a better way.” So I looked for a step that wouldn’t slip or have to be moved while working in the engine compartment of a truck or SUV. Couldn’t find one. So I set out to make the best and safest step I could.”
David opened his own auto repair shop in 1993 but was still determined to do something about the idea he had rolling around inside his head.
In 1995 David set out to get a patent on his idea and the original “L” shaped Shure-Step® was born.
About this time David called an old family friend and asked for his advice. “Call the SBA to get some free counseling and join the Greater Houston Partnership”, is what he advised. So David called the SBA and got the free counseling first.
That’s where he met Mike Henry, his Small Business Development Center counselor. After the first meeting, Mike said, “Join the GHP there’s a great program called the CEO Roundtable, it alone is worth the price of admission to the Partnership. So he did.
The CEO Roundtable provided David with monthly help he needed to grow his business.
At that same time Mike Henry got the ball rolling on a contract with the Government. David still has a good relationship with the GSA today. But early on, they were his ONLY repeat customer.
In 1996 the Shure-Step® won the Top 20 Tools Award. This was a big boost for David and his product.
After a couple of years with only one product and not a whole lot of sales, David did something different. He listened to what his customers said about the Shure-Step® that they DIDN’T like.
Because of his involvement in the community and the rapid sales increase David was nominated for and won the Entrepreneur of the Year award from the Greater Houston Partnership.