SYLVANIA — A grader operator from Sylvania has come up with an invention that will make the work of other grader operators safer.
Richard Fedirko, who grew up in between Rose Valley and Archerwill, is making a name for himself with his newly patent pending and trademarked invention, a connecting arm handler/wing stand for graders to attach and remove snow wings safely.
He recently attended the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) Convention with his newly created company, RF Wingmaster, and has learned there is a lot of interest in the future for his product.
He has worked for the Rural Municipality of Barrier Valley for the last eight winters and was changing the grader side arm with his co-worker the first year. They were using a tractor and chains, crowbars and putting the connecting arm on first and having to put it on piece-by-piece, which he said this is how most RMs install these.
He figured there had to be a better way. It was taking two employees a full day to attach these snow wings.
The next winter, there wasn’t as much snowfall and he was able to study the grader in the shop more closely and came up with a stand to make this process safer and quicker.
For his first model of the stand, he said, he used scrap metal and lawn mower wheels, made a jack, and welded it all together. Over the years, he has tinkered and made changes to his invention that has made this process quicker, safer and now can be done by one employee in 30 minutes. He also now uses foam wheels rather than air wheels to prevent them from going flat.
His plan was not to start selling these but his son Kalum told him he hasn’t seen anything like what he was using and encouraged his dad to patent his idea. He talked to local Tisdale lawyer Gordon Klimm who put him in touch with a patent company out of Winnipeg. It was in November last year, when they found out his idea was the first. Fedirko then got his idea officially trademarked a few days before the SARM convention in March and it is currently patent pending. He now is protected in over 170 countries.
At the SARM convention, he was approached by several RMs and currently has sold five stands at the time of writing the article. One RM bought the model he had brought to the convention. He said he had many RMs very interested and they were planning on going back to their council tables to get official motions to purchase these stands, unofficially more then 10 more stands would be purchased once those are approved. Fedirko thought once multiple orders come in, they could build one stand per day. He was also invited to bring RF Wingmaster to the AMM (Association of Manitoba Municipalities) for their convention.
Fedirko recently got engaged at Christmas time last year to Milly White who also contributes to the new business as the office manager. Milly’s daughter, Lindsey helped them get their new website rfwingmaster.com up and running. Fedirko said his entire family has helped in creating this new business venture including his daughter LoriAnn.
His shop is located in Sylvania just 10 miles south of Tisdale. You can also find him on Facebook at RFWingmaster Inc. Snow Wing Handlers.