FORT STEWART, Ga. (June 3, 2016) - Sgt. 1st Class Steed Dolan, an electronic warfare specialist noncommissioned officer, for 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, was invited June 20, 2016, to the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show as a semifinalist to present his Banshee Variable-Geometry Turbocharger (VGT) Controller.
Dolan explained that his product, the Banshee Controller, allows users the ability to operate variable turbochargers on any engine while also giving turbo rebuilders the ability to test and calibrate various turbocharger actuators.
"The Banshee Controller is a microcontroller that spoofs the original equipment manufacturer's electronic controller unit to control any network and analog controlled device, i.e. variable geometry turbochargers and transmission control units, turning proprietary devices, into universal devices."
According to SEMA Launch Pad , now in its third year, this business competition offers top innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs under the age of 40 an industry platform to showcase their business for marketing a new automotive product or service. The top ten finalists take center stage to prove to the judges that their product is the best.
"I took what the army taught me and built that first controller," Dolan said. "Once I built the first controller it just took off like a forest fire. I put it up on my Youtube page and within days my page started blowing up with people sharing my video of my little toyota with that turbo."
At first Dolan explained this was primarily a hobby but now has transfigured into a business where he can't keep anything on the shelf.
"Before I was making these essentially for free, but now with this new design I'm able to save money while making a better product," Dolan said. "It's amazing the difference and how much it has exploded in the last five or six months."
Dolan said, his biggest challenge was learning to program with no one to teach him. The challenge was conquered by finding resources online to utilize, which meant all his programming skills would need to be self-taught.
Dolan explained, he feels he has a better product at a lower cost, which is one of many reasons he will be attending the semifinals.
"If I beat four guys, I get tickets to the actual SEMA show in November," Dolan said.
The semifinals consist of 14 participants, which will be cut to 10 finalist who will be slated to compete at the SEMA show.