Occupation?

Owner of TitanStraps

Age?

44

Where did you learn to ski?

Alyeska, Alaska

Where do you live now?

Bozeman

If you weren’t doing this, what would you do instead?

I’d be an adventure photographer or ski-equipped glacier plane pilot. They’re both things I’ve done in the past, so maybe both.

The idea behind TitanStraps was born on the rugged Alaskan coast in August 2010, when Cameron Lawson and a friend took fat-tired bikes and pack rafts from Yakutat to Cordova.

During the trip, they used strong, adjustable ski straps with aluminum buckles to secure their loads, and upon returning home to Bozeman, Lawson saw an opportunity to retool this design for the construction industry.

He’d noticed workers using ratty bungee cords, twine or even masking tape to secure loads to their trucks. Lawson felt there were a number of applications – including military, marine, and search and rescue – that could use better fasteners.

He ordered his first 7,000 polymer straps from a local manufacturer, but the product showed up months late and inconsistent in quality. Lawson ended up giving a couple thousand away as factory seconds, and sold the rest after grinding extra material off them one at a time.

But Lawson persevered, moving to a manufacturer in Salt Lake City, Utah, and on a recent April day he was filling a 4,000-strap order for national auto parts retailer Pep Boys.

The product is now being sold coast-to-coast from titanstraps.com, as well as through retailers including Cabela’s, Sportsman’s Warehouse and Aircraft Spruce.

“I feel like the Wizard of Oz,” Lawson said of running a national brand by himself. “You pull back the curtain and see a guy and his dog in a garage.”

For now, even with these big orders, he said he’s just trying to keep the company on track until it hits critical mass and TitanStraps are a household name.

“I think of GoPro and Powerbar,” he said. “The first product of its kind to market is what people remember.”

– T.A.