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MUG Solutions - New Company

SAWIB08 Winner

Company: MUG Solutions, Coquitlam, BC
Company Description: MUG Solutions (Tina Thompson, Founder and President) has developed and patented products for manhole safety. The company has just received an award for Outstanding Achievement by a Safety Professional from the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering. MUG Solutions has also had its Torsion Spring product identified as a Standard for all manholes by TELUS Communications.
Nomination Category: Company/Organization Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Best New Company of the Year

Nomination Title: MUG Solutions

1. Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated company during the eligibility period (up to 500 words):

The idea for needle deterrent began to take form for Tina Thompson in 2006.
After having her second child Tina knew she needed to find a career with a less
frantic pace than the IT industry she’d been in, and she began to research
options for working at home. Coinciding with this timing there was a debate
going on in Vancouver Canada as to the success or failure of the Needle Exchange
Program for drug users. Curiosity lead Tina to research what it was all about,
only to discover there was no exchange required for the needles – that it was
simply a needle distribution program. This left the question “Where are all the
needles going?”

Needles being dropped into manholes have become a growing safety problem for
utility companies. Employees entering these dark, confined workspaces must
remove the needles themselves before cleaning companies will clean the
workspace. Should a worker become stuck with a needle, they must begin a severe
medical regimen within two hours. This lasts for six months and involves a
program that leaves them ill and uncomfortable for most of the duration.
Currently companies are encountering employees and cleaners refusing to enter
manholes with these hazards. A corporate recognition of the economic impact and
loss of resources has come to the forefront.

MUG Solutions developed and patented new products, which act as a deterrent
against needle entry into manhole systems. The Torsion Spring unit is affixed
permanently to the underside of the manhole lid. While air sampling and manhole
lid removal is virtually unchanged, the workers no longer have to remove the
needles from their workspaces.

By early 2007 patent applications were filed for prototypes. The development
cycle was expedited when one of Canada’s largest telecommunications companies
expressed interest in a field trial. By mid-2007, it was clear through the
field trial, that the product was effective in its goal of deterring needless
from entering the manholes. At the end of the trial there were Zero needles in
the 5 manholes that the product was installed, compared to 519 needles and 8
crack pipes found in the 5 unprotected comparison manholes. In all cases where
the Torsion Spring unit has been applied to manhole lids there have been NO new
presence of needles in manholes. In some cases these units were installed over
a year ago in the back alleys of the downtown eastside of Vancouver.

Full development using a reputable US engineering firm (Product Creation
Studios), tooling up for manufacturing, and fatigue testing by an
internationally recognized testing company, brought the product to market in the
fall 2007. The product is easy to use, doesn’t change the look or function of
the lid for the public, and benefits the user by alleviating a worldwide problem
of hazardous contaminants such as needles, debris, hydrocarbons, and refuse from
entering the work area.

The Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (BC/Yukon Region) has awarded Tina
Thompson of MUG Solutions the 2008 Outstanding Achievement by a Safety Professional.

2. List the URLs (web addresses) of any online news stories, press releases, or other documents that you would like the judges to see that support your entry. IMPORTANT: List each URL on a separate line, begin each URL with http://, and enclose each URL in square brackets. For example, [http://www.yourcompany.com/pressrelease.html]:

http://www.mugsolutions.com (under construction until November 2008)

3. Provide a brief biography of the person or persons who lead the nominated company (up to 100 words):

Tina lives in the Vancouver Canada area with her family. She is the Founder, co-
owner, President and sole active employee of MUG Solutions, which sells
patented products that provide deterrent for needles entering manhole systems.
Tina began MUG Solutions at the foundation of true innovation – that of invention
and patenting of new products. Moving from the IT industry into the predominantly
male industries of steel product development and manufacturing has been
challenging but rewarding. It has been exciting to take an idea through its entire
development process and be recognized by Health and Safety professionals.