RICKENBACKER AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Oh --
At seven years old, Shaun Hansel started working with his dad, who owned an auto and boat mechanic shop, during his summer breaks. He started off just answering the phone and scheduling appointments. After time, Hansel was changing oil and brakes.
“As a kid I always wanted to be just like my dad,” said Hansel. “He always told me he never wanted to work for anyone, so this became the root for my desire to be an entrepreneur.”
Hansel, now a master sergeant and the superintendent of finance for the 121st Air Refueling Wing at Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base, Ohio, created a product called Afixt to accomplish this dream and become an entrepreneur.
In 2016, Hansel said he was at the gym and noticed people’s bottles all over the place. They were on benches, on the floor and people were kicking them over. He said this lead him to believe something needed to be done.
After working through different ideas, Hansel decided on creating a magnetic sleeve that would fit around bottles of different sizes.
Hansel said, “If you take a look around, your whole world is metal.”
The sleeve, which he appropriately named Afixt, can be used to connect bottles to workout benches, grills, car doors or anything else metal.
Hansel said, “I actually tested this going 75 mph down the road sticking to my door and it sticks no problem.”
To get this idea made into an actual product, Hansel employed Kickstarter, a global crowdfunding platform. Since starting in 2016, he has raised $29,170 and has over 1,000 backers.
He also recently auditioned for the television show Shark Tank, but is unable to discuss the results from that.
Even though this process has taken up a lot of time, Hansel said that the Air National Guard is still important to him and credits the ANG with some of his success.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without being here,” he said.
Hansel said that being in the ANG has given him leadership and management skills that will help him be a better chief executive officer of his business.
Currently, Hansel is in the process of manufacturing the initial order of 2,200 Afixt sleeves that were sold on Kickstarter. When those are made, Hansel and his seven year old son will package and ship them from his house, carrying on the tradition of father helping son in the family business.