In life, there are little annoyances that bother us, but we deal with them. Inventors look at these annoyances and create solutions. So it is with Dan Schiermeyer.
Dan is an outstanding free flyer who likes to make adjustments to his GoPro and felt it shouldn’t be such a huge effort, so he invented a small device to make it easier. Turns out a lot of people felt the same way and a business was born.
Today, the Schier Clamp is well known throughout the skydiving industry and is crossing over into other sports. We interview skydiving’s latest Inventor: Dan Schiermeyer.
Where did you learn to skydive?
I am from Pownal, Vermont. I learned to skydive in Orange, Massachusetts at Jumptown.
Where is your home DZ?
Where did you go to school?
I went to school at Rochester Institute of Technology and got a Bachelors in Manufacturing Engineering Technology.
What led you to fabricate a solution for the GoPro with the Schier Clamp?
I took a class in high school called Manufacturing Technology where I learned some machining, welding, running lasers, AutoCAD, basically making a bunch of stuff. This is what got me into manufacturing, and I enjoyed making stuff that people would later use. Taking this is what led me to my degree in college, where I learned a lot more skills.
Have you always aspired to be an entrepreneur?
I never really thought about it until I started my first job after college. In my manufacturing class in high school, I used to make and sell stuff which was money that went toward that class. I always thought it would be cool to run my own business, but didn’t know what it would be. I have definitely always thought outside the box, and feel like done things a little bit different than people expect. Now I continue to learn and don’t plan to be working for someone for the rest of my career.
Tell us about those early things that you sold?
In high school, I made stencils for a friend using a laser, and I would also make custom napkin holders out of sheet metal, paint them, and sold those to staff at the school.
Do you manufacture the Schier Clamp on your own?
So I came up with the idea in October 2013 ( I had to look that up on my phone as I took a picture of my first drawing). From here I talked to a friend that I knew had the capability to make me a couple prototypes. I got the first version in December 2013. The concept worked, but the product needed a few modifications. We worked on a few more prototypes, and I had one that I started using skydiving for that summer. At this point it was something I thought I might make a few for my friends and people around the dropzone. Then I realized it could be something for all types of GoPro users, and I started looking into how to start a business and what steps to take to get a production batch made. My company was created at the end of 2014, and I didn’t launch the product until October 2015. I had a lot of stuff that I wanted to learn and look into. I had to learn how to make a website, plus I had some life stuff to take care of so this was all on the side. Doing it again, I would be able to move quicker. I don’t make them myself, I have them outsourced, I just package and ship them currently.
What has been your biggest challenge throughout this process?
Getting the first batch ready to launch took a while in dealing with vendors and figuring out last minute details. Vendors have been an issue, and I’m still trying to get my product quicker and keep the price down.
What has been your biggest victory with Schier Concepts?
Seeing them pop up all over the place. It’s cool to see someone using my product that I have never met. I enjoy getting feedback when I see someone using it and then telling them it’s my product. Also, all the positive feedback that I have received makes me feel good about all the effort that went into it.
What’s the biggest business learning lesson you’ve received?
Do your research, reach out to other small business owners, and don’t be scared to ask questions. There is a lot to look into, and also a lot to learn but it is worth it.
If there’s one thing about the Schier Clamp you’d want everyone to know, what would it be?
The idea came to mind after adjusting the seat on my mountain bike seat. I removed the clamp and put it on my GoPro right away. It didn’t quite work, but I knew the concept would.
Did you always see yourself as an inventor?
Not really, just more with my background, I knew how to make stuff or get it made.
Do you have other things you’re developing?
I have some ideas, but I need to dedicate some time to put into them. I do have some other companies interested in using the Schier Clamp in their product designs, which I am excited about. I can’t really say any more about that right now, though.
Who do you work for and what do you do?
Yes, I moved down to Charlotte at the end of July, and I work for Joe Gibbs Racing. I am a Manufacturing Engineer working with the production group for all of the parts they make for their NASCAR Teams. It is a very exciting industry to work in, and a lot more fun than my previous job.
So I have to ask, what did you do with your previous job?
My previous job before moving to Charlotte was working for Pratt & Whitney in the Aftermarket division. Was a good experience, but I didn’t see myself working for a big corporate company forever, especially without trying something else.
Fast Answer Questions
1. Favorite Skydiving Product Other Than Your Own?
I am going to have to say parachutes.
2. A person you’d most like to make a jump with?
I never got the chance to do a two way with my dad, and I wish I did.
3. Best piece of business advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t be scared to reach out to other successful business people, and never stop learning.
4. Best piece of skydiving advice you’ve ever been given?
There is no need to rush.
5. Most embarrassing skydive ever made?
I was on an all guys lingerie jump. Don’t ever plan on doing that again.
6. Favorite skydiving movie?
7. Favorite Quote?
“Monotony collapses time; novelty unfolds it. You can exercise daily and eat healthily and live a long life, while experiencing a short one. If you spend your life sitting in a cubicle and passing papers, one day is bound to blend unmemorably into the next—and disappear. That’s why it’s important to change routines regularly, and take vacations to exotic locales, and have as many new experiences as possible that can serve to anchor our memories. Creating new memories stretches out psychological time, and lengthens our perception of our lives.”
8. What you wanted to be when you grew up?
I liked the idea of being an engineer but knew I just always wanted to have fun with what I was doing.
9. Favorite DZ ever visited (aside from your home DZ’s of course)?
Pepe’s Island, which is actually called Contadora Island
10. Most memorable skydive you’ve ever made?
Lurking my Dad’s first tandem with only 142 jumps. We did an eight-way including the tandem.