Al Lopez didn’t dream of inventing a magnetic shelf.
The guitars along his office walls, the framed CDs and concert posters of his country bands, all speak to other dreams entirely. But next to those guitars and posters are a series of magnetic shelves, designed to hold laptops on construction sites, power boxes, and oil rigs.
Al Lopez didn’t set out to invent the Utilishelf, the leading portable magnetic laptop shelf in the industry. But here he is, selling the best product for using a laptop in the field.
So how did he get here?
The Utilishelf Story
Go back a few years, and you’ll find Al at his day job: as a Primary Meter Specialist for his local utility company.
For 30 years, Al was a top-notch meter specialist. He interrogated electric meters, day in, day out.
As utility technology advanced, so did his equipment. And among his most treasured, most expensive pieces of monitoring equipment was his laptop.
And that’s where Al discovered a problem.
See, electric meters aren’t conveniently placed near computer desks. Using a laptop in the field is tough when you’ve got nowhere to put it.
He’d seen guys make desks out of ladders and boards. Sawhorses. Even guys that carried folding card tables into the field. But those solutions were cumbersome… and didn’t always work, either.
He looked for solutions to help him use his computer in the field. A portable desk he could use to effectively use his computer. He didn’t find anything out on the market that would help him.
So he decided to take the matter into his own hands.
Can I Borrow Your Milk Crate?
Al realized that most of the surfaces he worked around were made of metal. And then he had an idea.
Wouldn’t it be great, he reasoned, to have a shelf that he could just slap up on a metal wall where he could use his laptop, and then take it with him when he was done?
So Al, determined to make his own life easier, got himself a milk crate and cut off one of the sides. He bought himself a couple of industrial strength magnets. And then next time he went out to the job site, he took his new invention from his truck.
He slapped it on the wall. Set his laptop into it, and got to work.
It was an invention of necessity. There was no dream, no grand vision. He just needed a place to set his computer, so he made one.
But his next problem was keeping it.
All his fellow meter specialists would take the milk crate shelf from out of his truck. “Hey, Al, can I borrow your milk crate?”
It was so popular, Al wondered if he should get more milk crates. But then he thought… what if he could build something better than just a milk crate? What if he made that portable magnetic shelf that he had initially looked for and couldn’t find?
And the Utilishelf was born.
A Surprising Success
Al worked on his first version of the Utilishelf and secured a provisional patent. Then he gathered up his new invention and brought it to the people he knew would appreciate it: other meter specialists.
He first showed the prototype off to the Electric Meter School in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He expected to see a little bit of interest. Maybe he’d even sell a couple.
In the first few hours after his demo, he had 213 orders for Utilishelves. And so, Al Lopez, accidental shelf mogul, pushed his new product into full production.
The Utilishelf has been through several versions, each improving on the last. The all-new C.P.D. (Collapsible Portable Dolly) can go places even the original Utilishelf couldn’t. The Utilishelf company has nationwide distribution, and even delivers internationally to over 10 countries.
And it’s proven to be a hit beyond the energy and utility industry as well! The Utilishelf is in high demand from segments like HVAC, Agriculture, Military, Automotive, Portable Generation, Communications, Gas & Oil, Mining, Solar, Wind, Railroad, Warehousing, Data Centers, and more!
If you use a laptop in the field, check out the Utilishelf. With 3 industrial-strength magnets, Utilihooks, and plenty of storage options, you can now use your computer virtually anywhere to get more done in the field. Take a look at our product and boost your productivity today.
That way, you won’t have to borrow Al’s milk crate.