By NATHAN GREGORY
Mississippi State University junior business management major Parker Stewart said he has always had business ideas, but he wanted to make one of them work.
He wanted to create a service that could help increase safety in a community while establishing financial stability for himself. After doing his homework and devising a plan to install blood alcohol content-testing vending machines in local establishments, he took his first step in accomplishing both tasks when he installed the first such machine in the state of Mississippi.
The machine, named the IntoxBox, is manufactured by Walden Innovative Resources LLC, and was installed at Rick’s Cafe on Jan. 4.
Stewart said he has been working on ideas for start-up companies before he opted to pursue an education in business, and he has had assistance from the MSU business school as well as companies he has contacted.
“I had a lot of help from the MSU Entrepreneurship Center. They helped me finish up my business plan,” Stewart said. “I made a lot phone calls, contacted several manufacturers of different (BAC-testing) vending machines and several people who are distributing now and are successful at it. They were very responsive and helpful in getting my project off the ground. I got in touch with (Walden Innovative Resources President Ryan Walden) and we worked out a deal. I was able to get exclusivity for the entire state of Mississippi.”
Stewart said after doing research on several manufacturers, he felt the IntoxBox was the best option because of the quality of its equipment.
“This machine is accurate because (it uses) fuel cell sensors which have accuracy of .005 percent at a .01 blood alcohol content,” he said. “The fuel cell sensor is better than the semiconductor sensor which a lot of machines use. The type of sensor makes a difference in the amount of accuracy.”
Stewart said he wanted to emphasize the machine is intended to educate potential users about blood alcohol content levels and not to gauge whether restaurant or bar patrons can get behind the wheel without compromising the safety of other drivers. The legal limit of blood alcohol content defined by the state for drivers who are subjected to tests is .08 percent.
“One of my initial fears was if I get into these machines and place them in any establishment that serves alcohol — what are the chances that somebody could sue and say these machines caused them to make a bad decision?” Stewart said. “This may be a business, but it’s really about keeping the community safe and helping people make better informed decisions. It’s about keeping roads safe and encouraging responsibility. It’s more of an educational tool than anything.”
In order to stress that the machine functions strictly as an educational use, users have to agree to an on-screen waiver before they can use the machine, Stewart said.
Read complete article at Starkville Daily News.