DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) – Here’s a story that will either make us all feel good about our future or bad about ourselves. In terms of how little most of us accomplish compared to three local young entrepreneurs.
They were at Bishop McDevitt High School when they came up with an idea that’s now making them money and saving lives around the world.
In some ways, they had an ordinary high school experience.
“We had some nefarious friends who would go to the bathroom and, you know, do what they do in the bathroom – smoking e-cigarettes, vaping,” Sales Manager of Triton Sensors Garrison Pathemore said.
But these three?
“Lance, Jack, and I, we all started a STEM club at our school,” Garrison said.
STEM; Science, technology, engineering, and math. They entered a competition.
“We were given a budget of $500, and we came up with the idea to create what’s called a vape detector,” Garrison said.
“It was probably the worst thing you’ve ever seen in your life,” Garrison said. “But it worked, which is cool. So we went to the competition, and got third place.”
Pretty good for most people in a statewide competition. Not for brothers Lance and Garrison Parthemore, and their friend Jack Guerrisi. They kept working on it.
“One of them would like, hold my laptop up and then me maybe holding the sensor up in the ceiling and then like squatting down so we can kind of get like an accurate range for like how high it would be to the ceiling,” Sales Engineer of Triton Sensors Jack Guerrisi said. “So we had like some funny videos about that and just a lot of funny memories.”
And then one very profitable idea.
“I think it was Lance that convinced me,” Guerisi said.
“Lance and Jack were in a class together,” Garrison said.
“And Jack challenged me, he said ‘Hey Lance, this class is too easy for me. Let’s make $10,000 before this class ends,'” Lance Parthemore said
They didn’t get there, but suddenly a lot more time to focus.
“Then, you know, March 2020 rolls around,” Garrison said.
“So we got together at Ihop,” Garrison.
The one on Union Deposit Road.
“Right before everything got shut down,” Garrison said. “Right before we’re going to get our books from school to take everything home. so we met up there, devised a plan like, ‘Hey, let’s start a company.'”
“They receive it in this packaging,” Guerisi said. “Super clean.”
“Once it detects an event, it sends out a notification to whoever can respond,” Guerisi said.
“We’re the industry leaders in providing accurate, affordable vape detectors and school safety devices,” Garrison said.
“Just recently we passed 5,000 sales,” Lance said.
In thirteen countries around the world.
“I’d love to say 50 states, but yeah, if we’re being honest, it’s 49,” Garrison said.
Even though not one of them has a college degree. Not because they didn’t go or dropped out, but because they’re not old enough as 21-year-old Lance is the oldest.
“I go to Gettysburg College,” Lance said. “I’m graduating in December.”
They say, customers who happen to realize how young they are, are sometimes amazed.
“But I think that’s an asset for us, I think, just because we’re so close to being out of high school and we know exactly what it’s like,” Garrison said. “So I think it gives us a key competitive advantage to stay on the cutting edge of things.”
More of a business success than they ever imagined, although one thing from their days in the stem club hasn’t changed.
“The goal for us has always been to help end the vaping epidemic in schools,” Garrison said.
It just didn’t take long to get there.
“It’s like we skipped right to our thirties,” Lance said.