As an associate professor of psychology at Keystone College, Dr. Steven Howell spends most of his time teaching in the classroom and meeting with students on an individual basis. But when he’s not instructing, Dr. Howell is well on his way to being Northeastern Pennsylvania’s newest, and hopefully most successful, entrepreneur.
During the summer months, Dr. Howell founded his own company, Howell Design and Consulting, Inc. (HDC), located at the Scranton Enterprise Center in downtown Scranton. In addition to a wide range of business consulting and design services, the company currently markets two distinct and unusual products: a do-it-yourself Jeep truck bed kit and a line of three-dimensional jewelry created from sound waves. Dr. Howell is also developing a web-based product to improve the effectiveness of on-line product recommendations.
Although the three product lines are completely different from each other, Dr. Howell wouldn’t have it any other way.
“As a cognitive psychologist, my work focuses on creative thinking and the impact of the human personality on decision making. Being unique is exactly what we want,” he says. “Our goal is to create things that didn’t exist before and to help others find creative solutions for problems that could not be solved by traditional means.”
The truck bed kit solves a problem that many Jeep Wrangler owners face on a daily basis. While they love their vehicle’s style and performance, many owners often want to haul light cargo as well. The truck bed kit enables Jeep owners to quickly install a custom-built truck bed into the open rear area of their vehicle. When they are done hauling, the truck bed can be easily removed.
“It’s perfect for hauling light loads and, with the optional locking lid, protects cargo from weather and theft. Best of all, it can be installed in just minutes with basic hand tools,” Dr. Howell said. For more information on the Jeep truck bed visit www.JeepTruckParts.com.
HDC’s Wear-the-Wave.com jewelry features items created through the use of sound waves and three-dimensional printing. Customers create items based on their own voice patterns which are then molded in a 3-D printer.
Wear the Wave“Once again, we focus on developing a product that is completely different from other pieces of jewelry,” he says. “Because each person’s voice is different, the jewelry they create will be unique to that individual. We think it’s much more personal than simply going to a retail store and choosing an item out of a jewelry case. Imagine giving your partner a beautiful golden pendant that is the shape of your own voice, saying, ‘I love you.’ ”
Dr. Howell is also in the process of developing an internet service that will help make on-line product recommendations more relevant and personal. The details of that project are still progressing. He is also actively seeking backers for his new products via crowdfunding. HDC launched a Kickstarter.com campaign to finance mass production of the Jeep Truck Bed Kit. Those interested can contribute.
While his new venture can be challenging from a time perspective, Dr. Howell has had some valuable help from the Keystone community. HDC’s marketing manager Jennifer Green and web development manager Andrew Intartaglio are both Keystone graduates.
“While we’re just getting started, the future looks really bright and I couldn’t be more proud of the work being done by Jennifer and Andrew. There is definitely a Keystone connection with our company and that’s what makes this endeavor all the more rewarding,” Dr. Howell said.