What's your name, background, and what do you do for a living?
Roger Maher. I live here in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. I am 46 years old. I grew up in Uniontown, Pennsylvania - went to college at Slippery Rock University, got my masters at Ashland University out in Ohio. I've been in the beverage industry basically my whole life. I'm a director of sales for Coca Cola here in the Pittsburgh region.
Tell us a little bit about your invention.
It's funny how it started. You know, I'd go to a lot of events and there was always a cocktail reception and I became really good friends with this girl who I'd been talking to. She kind of joked that she's too clumsy to eat appetizers at these events because she can't really hold her glass and the plate of appetizers, so she opts out. I started thinking, there's got to be an easier way. The following weekend I was at an event in Florida with the Pittsburgh Pirates. They had a reception for us and a light bulb went off. I had an idea, what if you just hung it onto the plate -- hung a plate of some sort onto a glass? I called my buddy Jake Sussman who's an engineer and we're good friends. I gave him this idea. I said, "Picture a ladder coming out of an above ground pool with something stable on it that you can put fruit, vegetables, any type of appetizer, on a glass. So you can pull it off and on very easy but yet you can still have a free hand if you want to shake hands." So, I came home that weekend and met Jake in his garage and we put it together as best we could.
Have you seen anything like it on the marketplace?
How is yours better?
I saw one that someone had sent me. I think Jake and I may have looked at it. It's a plate that goes around a wine glass that looked a bit awkward. If you didn't have a wine glass what would you do? What if you had a straight-walled glass for just a regular drink? It almost looked dangerous like it would be very flimsy, so that's the only thing that I've seen that's close to it.
What motivated you to get started on your idea?
Honestly, I went through a divorce two years ago and I've been looking to do something creative and something that I can be proud of. This just fell into my lap thinking about it. I didn't think it would ever get this far, to be honest with you. I guess I was willing to take any risk at this point after going through a tough couple years. Through good friends we came up with this idea.
Where would you like to see this invention selling?
You know, the first place I thought of was hotels. Upscale hotels - any hotels really - that hosts banquets, get-togethers, parties, etc. Weddings, you name it. But then I could see it in restaurants. It could be used outdoors for tailgate parties. It doesn't have to be the same type of fixture. It could be of different material. It could be used at pool parties, you name it. I think it could go a lot of different avenues.
Have you thought about which companies to license your idea?
Obviously I'd love one of the big ones, like one of the glassware companies. Libbey's comes to mind. Something like that.
Are you going to make it yourself? Or do you want to license your idea?
I think it's both -- if we could.
How would you feel if you saw your product selling on the market?
Pretty proud -- happy. I'd like to retire on it. It would be something, you know, a great conversation piece. You know, I've got a bunch of friends and family. I say at Christmas time, "You're all getting one." There are ideas. We are thinking of putting our website on there and using it as a marketing tool as well.