"It's our future, let's build it together"

5 Questions with Brendan Paradis & Zach Atherton

May 2, 2019

How did you become partners and co-found Lockout Labs LLC? 

We studied Electrical Engineering Technology together at the University of Maine. Since then, we have stayed close and are always working on a wide variety of projects and hobbies together. When the idea for the Lockout came up, it was a pretty easy choice to start a company.

Who were your entrepreneurial influences and resources to support you through the startup process?

We are both pretty green when it comes to the business world. Our biggest entrepreneurship-related resource has been SCORE. As far as design and product manufacturing are concerned, we did the research and handled it internally but the learning curve was steep and we learned a lot along the way.

What problem does your patented product, the FT Lock, solve?

Test switches are extremely common in electrical substations, and operation/isolation of them is a critical daily routine. Until now, switches commonly referred to as “FT Switches”, which are responsible for isolating sensitive and possibly dangerous equipment, have been isolated by simply leaving open or at best wrapping with electrical tape. We have designed and are producing the first purpose built lockout device for this switch, allowing safer, faster, and much more reliable isolation of these critical circuits.

The FT Lock is patent pending. What is it like to apply for a patent in the US?

Slow! We were new to the patent process and didn’t know what to expect. We knew we wanted the protections afforded by a patent, as our product was truly unique, but didn’t know where to start. We hired a firm out of Portland who guided us throughout the process, which was full of writing and reviewing legal descriptions of our product.

As a MaineBiz Startup to Watch in 2018, can you give us a glimpse into your plans for 2019?

We are excited to continue to grow our customer base and work on sales of our FT Lock, but are also beginning to look forward toward new products in the testing world. With the company formed and a positive reputation with our customers, we are excited to work on even more advanced devices to solve other daily problems and safety concerns faced by field service personnel.

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Last modified: June 21, 2021

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