The Pitch: Mohawk Machine Works designs machine to dry roofing, pavement – The Business Journals

Editor’s note: Welcome to The Pitch, a new series featuring early stage Capital Region startups. The goal is to familiarize readers with up-and-coming ideas and entrepreneurs, showcasing the different levels of creativity in upstate New York. Responses are provided by the company via questionnaire, and they have been edited and condensed.
Mark Kowalczyk was watching a NASCAR race delayed by rain when he came up with an idea: a device that could clean and dry surfaces like the racetrack.
In 2013, the Mohawk Tomahawk prototype pavement dryer debuted, drying the pit lane at the NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Since then, the uses for the device have expanded, and now Kowalczyk is seeking funding to bring the initial product run to market. The company is a finalist in FuzeHub’s 2022 Commercialization Competition taking place in Buffalo Oct. 25-26.
The technology/product: Mohawk designs and manufactures a line of Air Sabre surface cleaning and drying machines that use high-velocity heated air to clean and dry outdoor surfaces in a two-stage process. The first stage removes all standing water/loose debris with high velocity pressurized air, and the second stage that uses heated air for drying. The system can attach to the front of vehicles, tow behind vehicles, or be walked behind. Its intended use is for highway crews, airports, flat roofing contractors and sealcoating/sports surface contractors.
Price: Quotes for products are available through the website.
Size of the market: Mohawk has conducted primary market research and has identified a specific list of target customers in the following industries (in order of priority and market size):
• Commercial roofing & flooring Installation
• Runway, highway, warehouse marking/line striping/painting, sealcoating/crack filling
• Airports/airlines/air bases
• Asphalt milling and paving
• Athletic field/running track maintenance
• Parking lot/sidewalk maintenance
• State, county, and municipal DOT Agencies
• Auto racing/testing facilities
Competition: The largest competitor across all markets is status quo.
Competitive advantage: Mohawk’s competitive advantage is cost, efficiency and lower operational and maintenance costs. Mohawk’s products can also be scaled up and down in size, depending on the application.
There is one current product on the market for drying prior to painting lines. However, it is more than twice the price, limited in size and requires the entire power turbine to be returned to Europe once a year for rebuilding.
Business/technology it could disrupt: Introduction of Mohawk products into each of the targeted markets could [increase] productivity and change business models which curtail operations due to wet weather.
Founders and their background: Mark Kowalczyk is the company’s CEO and president. Kowalczyk received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering with a focus on machine design from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and has been issued seven US patents. In previous roles, he designed, installed and serviced commercial drying equipment and led new product introduction projects with $25+ million in funding.
Advisers: FuzeHub; New York State Small Business Development Center; Christopher J. Rooney, Business Development, Division of Science, Technology & Innovation (NYSTAR), GDI Partners LLC – Administrators of the DoD TRIAD Program; Richard Hampson – Startup Entrepreneur, Angel Investor, Business Plan Specialist; SCORE Chapter of Saratoga County; Marc Alessi, Executive Director, Business Incubator Association of New York State; Shift Group Entrepreneur Coaching Workshop program; Syracuse University Mechanical Engineering Department; Syracuse University Innovation Law Center; RPI CATS Center; Tech Valley Center of Gravity; Center for Economic Growth; Start Up Tech Valley.
Investors: Currently self-funded with a commercial line of credit. Seeking suitable investors.
Capital raised: $50,000 2018 FuzeHub Manufacturing Grant
Capital sought: $275,000 – $350,000 for bringing initial production run to market.
Ideal exit: No exit planned. Long-term plan is to become an established design and manufacturing facility in upstate New York.
Company name: Mohawk Machine Works LLC
Headquarters: Amsterdam
Year founded: 2011
CEO: Mark Kowalczyk
Employees: 1
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