JEFFERSON COUNTY, IL — Dakota Tate has been awarded a patent for his tire culvert invention while a member of the Jefferson County 2019 CEO class of high school seniors. US Patent 11,155,971 was filed on June 12, 2020 and received a posted patent date of October 26, 2021.
The patent lists Bluford native Dakota Tate as the inventor of his “system and method of constructing a culvert using vehicle tires. The method teaches constructing a culvert using discarded tires. The culvert’s stress points are reinforced by truck tires. Additionally, the integrity of the culvert is kept intact using a predetermined formula for every 10 feet of culvert constructed.”
Local entrepreneur Lee Bob Willingham who invented the Bulli-Bone line of dog chew toys was instrumental in helping Tate secure his patent. Willingham is a Board member of the Jefferson County CEO program and has been a mentor to many of the young budding entrepreneurs since the program’s inception. Tate said “Lee Bob helped me reach out to one of his connections, Patrick Mixon of PMX Business Advisors, who assisted me in filing for this patent. Lee Bob advised me to immediately file for a provisional patent, then helped secure the official patent I have today.”
Tate credits other local business connections made through the Jefferson County CEO program including Corey Phillips, Facilitator of the program at the time, Brandon Bullard and others who were a part of the investor and mentoring community associated with Jefferson County CEO.
Jeff Haarmann, Jefferson County CEO’s inaugural President and current Board member said “Dakota is the exact kind of entrepreneurial mind CEO seeks. Our goal is to take thinkers and builders, dreamers and workers and turn their thoughts and dreams into reality through business connections and mentoring in our local community. Our goal with Jefferson County CEO is to show our young high school entrepreneurial spirits that they can build it, own it and grow their business right here in Jefferson County.”
Tate is currently enrolled at Rend Lake College. Upon completion, he intends to see what options are available to develop and scale his product into a potential business. Thus far, Dakota has sold his culverts to local farmers and other individual customers.