Wildcat Tales

Big Fish consider Wildcat entrepreneurs

Abigail Thomas, Staff Writer/Photo Editor

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Dallas Mavericks owner, Shark Tank star and entrepreneur Mark Cuban was on campus to listen to presentations by students involved in Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) at an event called Fish Bowl, that mirrors the show Shark Tank, and chose to vote for two student made inventions.
DECA is an elective course that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. DECA teachers, Samantha Spears and Tricia Cannon, were able to get Cuban and other investors to come listen to their kid’s presentations by simply asking. Cuban agreed to come and managed to work it in his schedule.
“Our motto in DECA is, ‘If you don’t ask, you don’t get,’” Spears said.
Students in DECA have had time since early November to come up with an invention, work on making a prototype and create a presentation for the potential investors. Spears, along with help from the other DECA teachers, carefully chose six inventions and three small businesses that would present.
“Our goal of having the Big Fish come out and listen to the presentations was to teach the kids entrepreneurship in real life. It was a mandatory project for the students to create a product, take it to industry and put it in real life,” Spears said.
Spears’ role was to help connect her students to big titans of industry, such as Executive Vice President Eric Anderson, Owner/Principal of Texas Construction Aggregates Michael Arnold, Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban, Chief Operating Officer and EVP of FedEx Office Kim Dixon, Vice President of Texas Instruments, Inc. Venu Menon, Director of Production of the Dallas Stars Jerry Miranda, and Packaging Equipment Specialist of Evergreen Packaging Equipment Dennis L. Ziegler, supervise her students and help everything go smoothly. This event was mainly student led.
The Big Fish, who mirrored the sharks on Shark Tank, chose Quick Shot Golf Clubs, which was created by seniors Myers McCuistion, John Robbins, David Duke, and junior David Trink, and Quick Fix, which was made by seniors Zack Maule, Matthew Alamia, and junior Mauro Urro.
“Personally, it was an honor to have Mark Cuban and the other Big Fish to come to Plano because they took time out of their day to come and watch our pitches. It really meant a lot since we worked so hard on them,” McCuistion said.
Quick Fix is an app similar to Uber that will call a driver to pick up a car and have basic auto services completed in a short amount of time.
“We did a service called Quick Fix. It’s basically Uber but for car repairs. My friend, Matt, and I were kind of the brains of it. I’ve been around auto tech stuff my whole life, so that was kind of my inspiration,” Maule said.
Quick Shot Golf Clubs is a system that includes one adjustable height shaft and various size heads that are interchangeable. It targets kids, ages 5-12, and it reduces the weight and cost of a full size golf bag.
Shave-X is a razor for women that contains essential oils in the handle with the ability to release the oil with each stroke. Shave-X allows a smooth shave and reduced irritation while applying a layer of personalized oil. Matthew Myers, Alejandro Guilliod, Ryan Belson, and Mathew Carroll, seniors, were the creators of this invention.
Collapse-A-Carton, created by Mikhail Dragolich, Caleb Anderson, Trenton Leenher, juniors and Carter Fiffick, senior, is a half-gallon carton designed to collapse after being emptied to prevent overfilling the recycling bin.
Camtenna, invented by Christian Jimenez, Andrea Zamora, Abril Martinez, and Marcelo Gonzalez, all seniors, is an elevated camera installed at the top of the antenna or on the top of the vehicle, and it gives a clear view over the front view of the car.
Another car invention, BuckleUp Pup, is a dog seatbelt with the added feature of a remote control release button that allows the pet to exit the vehicle in the event of an accident. This was designed by Alejandra Gonzalez, Hunter Rodriquez, Alison Sullivan and Rut Patel, all seniors.
The three small businesses that presented were Paracord Global by Remi Kramer, Caerus by Vince Buchinni, and Evan Hara Films by Evan Hara and his crew.
Kramer makes and sells paracord products such as key chains, rifle slings and other related designs, targeting the military market. Buchinni started Caerus, his own clothing industry, where he currently hand stitches his logo on shirts he selects from retail shops. Hara of Evan Hara Films, is an actor and film director looking for industry connections to further his movie career.
Principal Sarah Watkins and Superintendent Dr. Brian Binggeli were also there to see Cuban and listen to the presentations by the DECA students.
“I thought it was great having Mark Cuban here. It added an extra element of excitement for the kids and teachers. I’m very proud of the students and the teachers, Mrs. Spears and Mrs. Canon, for making this happen,” Watkins said.
The audience found the presentations both clever and humorous. Two inventions, Collapse-A-Carton and Quick Shot Golf Clubs, had Spears’ 12-year old son as a model for the inventions. Cuban said he loved seeing the kid model the inventions that would target that age market in real life.
After the DECA kids presented their ideas and small businesses, the Big Fish needed to choose two groups to vote for. It ended in a tie, having two companies competing for the second spot. Spears was prepared for this to happen and had the Big Fish do a tie breaker vote. This ended with Quick Shot Golf Clubs and Quick Fix getting the vote.
“I did not expect those teams to win. The teachers had a different perspective on who we thought would get the vote. We are proud nonetheless,” Spears said.
In fact, Quick Shot Golf Clubs was originally not supposed to present. They were an alternate team, and when the original presenting team dropped out, they stepped up to the plate.
“As a group, we went out there with confidence and knew what we were going to say and how to say it. Plus, we also threw some humor into the situation which helped out a lot,” McCuistion said.
The opportunity to present in front of the Big Fish provided the students with confidence and ideas of what they can be. It showed them that they can be innovators now at this age and that they do not have to wait to get their ideas to the industry and out into the real world.
“I predict that the students who have a real passion for the business world, like BuckleUp Pup and the three small businesses will have a successful future in the business world if they wish to pursue it,” Spears said.
The next step for the students is to take their opportunity and connections and make something of it by putting it into action. BuckleUp Pup indicated that they will have a meeting with FedEx, owned by one of the Big Fish, Kim Dixon, in the future.
Buccini was offered a chance to be on the TV show Shark Tank once he reaches $20,000 in sales from his clothing line. Kramer said that they will have a meeting with Fossil to discuss Paracord Global. Cuban offered to connect Hara with important contacts in the movie industry to help his small business take off.

*Please note that David Trink’s and John Robbins’ names have been corrected.

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