“Inventor” is not exactly how Josh Hazelwood describes himself.
“I’m just a guy with a lot of ideas,” says the University of Sothern Indiana graduate and Indianapolis native.
At the Evansville Startup Weekend 5.0, held in February 2016, Hazelwood took second place with his developed idea of lighted marshaling gloves for aircraft marshalers. Marshalers are individuals on tarmacs directing in airplanes with hand or wand signals. A former Navy air marshaler on the flight decks of the U.S.S. Nassau and the U.S.S. Wasp, Hazelwood — now owner of Hazelwood LLC — knows firsthand the troubles that can occur on a tarmac or flight deck.
“During the daytime, we would use our hands with gloves to communicate with pilots and other personal. Then at nighttime, we modify those hand signals with the use of wands,” he says. “The problem with the wands is we would drop and break them all the time. When they break, there’s about 10 pieces inside that scatter around. Operations have to be stopped in order to find all those pieces.”
The FOD, or foreign object debris, can be sucked into a jet intake, damaging an aircraft, explains Hazelwood. Aside from those issues, wands are cumbersome to hold and require marshalers and pilots to know a different set of hand signals at night. In short, the wands can create problems.
“The gloves just make sense. It’s a product that just makes sense,” says Hazelwood. “I didn’t really plan on pursuing the idea until I was at USI and in some of the entrepreneurial classes there.”
He credits his wife Shannon for choosing the gloves as the idea to present at Startup Weekend. “She made a good choice because they have gained a lot of traction since then,” he says.
From a Naval Conference in San Diego to a major airport headquartered in Dallas, many are anxious for Hazelwood’s prototype to become a reality. He currently is raising capital for manufacturing and has met with different companies — some in Evansville and Indianapolis — who are interested in working with him to produce the gloves. Once he nails down manufacturing, the lighted marshaling gloves could start to appear in Naval fleets and civilian airports around the world.
“I would like to get the gloves to market first, and then other products can follow,” says Hazelwood of his future ideas. “I’ve gained so much traction with the gloves I feel like I have to follow through.”
For more information about Josh Hazelwood’s gloves, call 317-289-9662 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.