The Man on the Monkeyrack

15Anyone who makes their living working on extension ladders has tragic stories of friends, family members or co-workers that have suffered great injuries or fatal falls due to ladder accidents. Extension ladders continue to be one of the most used and misused pieces of access equipment. Lara Trifilettio, PH.D., a researcher with the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Columbus Children’s Hospital in Ohio, reported that 2,177,888 people suffered ladder injuries from 1990 to 2005. This statistic reflects a 50 percent increase over the last 15 years. An Average of 135,000 people sustained ladder injuries each year. Additionally, research gathered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that ladder falls are one of the top four cases of fatal occupational injuries from 1992 through 2009.

John Spicer, 30+ year veteran of the construction trades, has taken more then his fair share of falls. John earned his construction work experience in Minnesota, enduring extreme conditions of cold temperatures; most often accompanied by rain, sleet, snow and wind. John used his construction knowledge to create a full service property maintenance company in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Successfully serving the needs and requests of Property Managers throughout the Twin Cities required great versatility and expertise in various trades. While John wasn’t afraid to accept any work request, his Service Technicians were less than enthusiastic about the amount the work requiring extension ladders.   John developed and trained his young crew and never hesitated to buy or rent the equipment needed to perform the job comfortably. But with high dollar equipment purchases and costly rentals, comes great expense and lower job margins.

John knew that with his age and the birth of his son, he could no longer take the risks he had in the past. Furthermore, he refused to risk the health and welfare of his young employees. Vivid memories of painful injuries suffer by ladder falls, fueled his determination to locate a product that would protect himself and his employees. John search for a viable solution and discovered that the current products on the market could not provide him with the strength and versatility he sought.

Armed with detailed product requirements, John began to design a product that met his specific needs and requirements. With safety and stability as his top priorities, he insisted on steel construction for its strength and durability. To unsure that the product would be accepted and fully utilized in the field, John knew that it must be portable and user friendly, with quick installation for lone workers single users. Lastly, he aspired that the product needed common, easy-to-get hardware and be fully compatible with standard equipment.

John’s ladder stabilizer went from strength testing on the shop floor to field application testing. Product strength tests proved that the steel construction of the ladder stabilizer greatly exceeded even the most stringent extension ladder strength tests. Additionally, the ladder stabilizer safely and successfully performed numerous field test scenarios including gutter repairs and cleaning, window cleaning and repair, painting, tree trimming, high pressure cleaning, and ice jam steaming projects. Within weeks the Service Techs were no longer complaining about work requests requiring ladder applications; employee efficiency and productivity increased. The Service Techs often returned from jobsites, mentioning the crowds of people watching them work and asking where they got this unique ladder stabilizer. At that point, John realized the interest and demand for a strong, safe ladder stabilizer was not only desired, but desperately needed.

Upon meeting with a Patent Attorney, John and his wife diligently worked through the product details and endless stream of patent paperwork. At this point, the ladder stabilizer needed a trademark name. Hours of thought went into this step but no one could come up with a name for such a unique product. One evening, John’s son, Steven (age 4) was at the shop hanging out with the Service Techs. All of a sudden he disappeared in the back and everyone went looking for him. Arriving in the back of the shop, they found Steven climbing up and down the extension ladder that was attached to the ladder stabilizer. One of the Techs said “look at that little monkey go!” In that very moment, John said, “Monkeyrack, it’s a Monkeyrack!”

The final product name, definition, and designs were submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The product was awarded the trademark name Monkeyrack® and awarded utility patent #8047331. John and his family relocated to Bradenton, Florida in 2008 and begin the full time process of introducing the Monkeyrack® Ladder Stabilizer to the market. Monkeyrack Products LLC became a registered Florida business in 2009. In an effort to stimulate American manufacturing and support local businesses, the Monkeyrack® ladder stabilizer went into production at a Bradenton, Florida manufacturing facility and local businesses supplied all printing services, safety labels, and packaging requirements.

Since the initial public release of the Monkeyrack Ladder Stabilizer in 2009, Monkeyrack Products LLC continues to enhance and improve the capabilities of the Monkeyrack ladder stabilizer. In 2015, Monkeyrack Products LLC developed and implemented the use of the Monkeyrack Bolt-on Attachment. The Bolt-on Attachment allows users the ability to bolt the Monkeyrack® directly to the receiver hitch, thereby reducing movement and increasing stabilization. Following the development of the Bolt-on attachment, Monkeyrack Products LLC began offering the all-inclusive Monkeyrack Contractor Kit – Part # MCK075, which includes the Monkeyrack ladder stabilizer with stainless steel hardware, the Bolt-on attachment, and a steering wheel safety tag. The employees of Monkeyrack Products LLC are dedicated safety advocates and continually strive to develop ladder stabilization solutions unique to the people and markets they serve. The Monkeyrack® ladder stabilizer continues to gain popularity as companies and various trades become aware of its superior safety benefits and universal applications.

The ultimate mission and goal of Monkeyrack Products LLC is to provide the market with environmentally responsible, cost effective, efficient products that are designed to increase personal safety, protect our environment, and improve the community’s quality of life. Monkeyrack Products LLC is not a big corporation with a staff of product designers who spend all their time at their desks trying to come up with worthless products that can be manufactured overseas; products lacking quality and serving no purpose other than to make money. Monkeyrack Products is a small family business that developed a useful product out of their personal need for extension ladder safety. Our family remains strong in our commitment to ladder safety, not only as a supplier of the Monkeyrack Ladder Stabilizer, but as users. Still actively using their original Monkeyrack, the Spicer family (John, Julie, and Steven) proudly testify to the Monkeyrack’s phenomenal success; no tipping, slipping, falling extension ladders for this family, since the Monkeyrack creation in 2008!

We thank you for reading the story of the inception of the Monkeyrack Ladder Stabilizer and our hope is that it inspires you to create whatever you need to be safe, because your life may not be the only one you save.