Spotlight on one of today’s Latino Entrepreneurs: A profile of a small business creator
Latin Business Today profiled and interviewed Swimming Buddy inventor Armando Rositas. This is part of an ongoing series featuring Latin business owners/leaders. In the spotlight today we feature a two-part series exploring the background of inventor-entrepreneur Armando Rositas.
Some men see things as they are and say, why? I dream things that never were and say, why not? – George Bernard Shaw
Armando Rositas is an inventor entrepreneur who values imagination and dreaming big. He tells Latin Business Today that this Shaw quote is one of his favourites because for people like himself, and his friend Jamie Hope, whose career is built on imagination, “we create a dream that never was and bring it to fruition. Instead of questioning what is, we bring things that never were into life. That is the life of an inventor”.
Armando Rositas, is passionate about bringing attention to water safety. After witnessing an accident that permanently injured a teenager and almost took the life of another boy because watercraft operators did not see him during the rescue, Rositas invented Swimming Buddy. Swimming Buddy is a buoyant cylindrical device made of recycled polyethylene that affixes to any standard life vest, increasing the visibility of a person in the water.
Those involved in water safety have taken notice of the new invention and begun stocking them in their stores; locations include Jay’s Sporting Goods (Gaylord and Clare), Grand Pointe Marina (Dimondale), Krupa’s Boat Mart (Jackson), Jet Ski of Miami (Florida), and Texas. The Michigan DNR has also purchased Swimming Buddy for their parks and recreation areas.
Swimming Buddy is not only catching the attention of everyday water enthusiasts and sporting goods stores, but also organizations such as Lifeguards without Borders, an international group of lifeguards and healthcare professionals. They reviewed Swimming Buddy and said, “The Swimming Buddy’s simple design is an effective and easy way to improve the visibility of a recreational swimmer. It would also provide good visual reference to boaters in the area of a person wearing the device; which could assist in avoiding a collision.”
Latin Business Today took some time to talk to Armando and learn more about his background and his take on what it takes to be a successful Latino inventor entrepreneur.
Personal Profile of An Inventor Entrepreneur
In part 1 of this two part series LBT talked to Armando about what shaped his beginnings as an entrepreneur:
LBT: Please tell our readers about your background
AR: I grew up in Saint Johns, Michigan as one of seven children. My mother’s family is originally from Mexico, coming to Texas when the dictator posted a note on my great great grandmothers door that said all land and everything now belonged to him. So without hardly any money and only a trunk with their belongings, they fled to Texas and then eventually Saint Johns, Michigan.
My father was a World War II veteran. Although a disciplinarian, he had a gentle side to him and made me what I am today. If something broke my father was not satisfied with just fixing it. He would take it apart because he wanted to know why it broke and how it worked. Watching my dad I learned to ask why in almost every situation. By watching my father he taught me something school never did.
My mother made us kids promise we would graduate from High School. Sports helped me concentrate on staying in school. I was a natural athlete. I was a boxer, and shortly after graduating High School I won the state competition for my weight class, winning the title “Golden Gloves,” and best all-around boxer.
What I learned from my family was something that was practiced daily in my home. God first, family second, and work after. The hard work ethic I learned from my parents, and the time I had to develop my imagination is what contributed to my entrepreneurial and inventive spirit.
LBT: What was the first job and how and why did it shape your career?
AR: My first job was actually working in the fields with my family during harvest. I would go straight after school, changing from my school clothes to work clothes in the back of the car. We would pick potatoes, onions, and carrots in the fields. Although I graduated from High School I never went on to college. I was raised to have a very strong work ethic working the fields with my family during harvest time. I went straight from High School to the workforce.
This job definitely shaped who I am today. I remember always feeling behind everyone else in school because I didnt really have time for my studies. Going straight from school to working late in the fields, many times I was too tired for homework when I got home. But one thing I did in those fields was daydream. I become a thinker and used my imagination. That is how I was able to think of different inventions.