You’re the CEO and founder of Thermofier, which produces the pacifier with a built in thermometer. When did you start your company?
I started the company about last year [in] 2012. I was working my whole junior year with the entrepreneurship class that we have in our school [Perspectives Leadership Academy], and also with NFTE. After my entrepreneurship class, I just wanted to throw the business away because I thought I wouldn’t make it anywhere, but I had teachers and mentors such as Ms. [Mary] Hernandez and Jason [Delgatto] that actually said, ‘You have a great idea and maybe you should keep working at it; keep going with it. You can actually do something with this product.’
What inspired this high-tech pacifier?
I became a father in 2010. Before starting in the entrepreneurship class, I was working with NFTE and working with my teachers and they asked me, ‘What do you see a need for? You’re a father so, what do you see a need for?’
I care about the health of my child because I don’t like her being sick all the time and I noticed she usually gets sick when the seasons change. So, I was like, what if you can detect that sickness before it actually gets there? Then, it’s like what does she like most? She likes the pacifier. I use a thermometer to measure her temperature so it gave me the idea: what if I could bring these two together?
Who helped you bring your idea to life?
Mary Hernandez, Jason Delgatto and the whole NFTE organization. They connected me with some engineers from Northwestern [University] and I actually have a prototype of my product now.
I would encourage a lot of people to actually look into the NFTE organization because it’s more than just entrepreneurship. It actually gives people a reason to stay in school, as well, because there were kids that were selling [drugs], getting ready to drop out of school, but through the NFTE process, they actually found an idea, a business, but they also found a family on top of that.
Why do you feel it’s so important to get young people involved in STEM?
I believe it’s so important for young people to get involved in STEM because there are countless opportunities in that field. There are opportunities just waiting.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I would say a politician. I just want to be involved in politics and understand the government more.
Check BlackEnterprise.com/Technology for more features on teens in tech.