By: Isaiah Silva
One Aggie is literally, building his dream from the ground up. James Owen, a Mechanical Engineering Technology student, is building a prototype for his own invention. Owen wants to bring something new to the table in the sport known as, “trike drifting.”
“They’re essentially oversized tricycles. The sport itself started in Auckland, New Zealand, made its way to Australia, and then really as of recently has come over to the United States. It’s really up-and-coming; I think there are still a lot of people who don’t know about it,” Owen said.
Owen got his start with Aggie Shark Tank in the spring of 2016. Aggie Shark Take models itself like the television show, Shark Tank. Entrepreneurs present their inventions to investors in hopes that they will get a chance to take their dreams to the next level.
“I essentially saw an advertisement for Aggie Shark Tank and I thought, ‘Well, why not make this passion a business,’ and that was really actually when it got started,” Owen said.
It was through Aggie Shark Tank that Owen met the CEO of Mesilla Valley Transportation, Royal Jones. Jones was one of five investors in the Shark Tank.
“He said, ‘Look, you can use our labor, you can use our components, and hey, we got one of the best paint booths in town, so I’ll even paint it for you too,’” Owen said. “He saw an interest in it and he really wanted to see it go somewhere, so he gave me that opportunity.”
When Owen started, he designed the initial frame on the computer, using 3D modeling. What is special is that although the frame followed some drift trikes before, it was completely custom to Owen. He didn’t do it alone though, Owen has had some people join him on his journey.
“I would say, kind of along this venture, I’ve had a lot of guidance from various friends and such. But, I brought on a buddy of mine, Michael Rogers, who is also in the Engineering Department with me. I brought him on as the cofounder, so he played a role in helping me get this trike developed,” Owen said.
The trike was completed around October/November 2016. Owen has made a lot of progress and modifications to the trike, so it is a lot different than how it was back in March 2016.
“The plan for this year is to essentially wrap up the prototype, set our sights on a new prototype. Something that is, I want to do something along the lines of a collapsible trike, so something really mobile, something that customers can fit in the back of their car,” Owen said.
Before Owen devotes himself to the drift trike business, he wants to get a feel for the market and see if there is a demand. If so, he will start the process of pushing out units. One of Owen’s ideas to get drift trikes more exposure is to have what he calls, “Drift Trike Days.” This will showcase the drift trikes and allow people to ride them.
“That’s the biggest struggle we’ve encountered right now is just informing everyone of what a drift trike is. That’s the vision,” Owen said. “The mission statement, if you will, is to give everyone the experience, the thrill of a drift trike. You really don’t know what it’s like until you ride it.”
Owen has many goals as to where he wants his drift trikes to go. They include the possibility of doing made-to-order trikes and going into full production, not mass production, but doing a small number at a time. Owen expects to go back on Aggie Shark Tank with his prototype. Aggie Shark Tank is held every semester.