Eau Claire (WQOW) - An Eau Claire firefighter's budding small business landed him a big invitation to the White House on Tuesday to discuss the next steps in his entrepreneurial journey.
News 18 caught up with Jeff Dykes on Thursday after his trip to Washington D.C. to talk with President Trump and other White House staff about small business development in America.
Dykes said he was humbled and honored to be one of just two Wisconsin business owners invited to the event, where he had the chance to ask a question about growing the success of his business, Northern Star Fire.
The company has created several prototype compasses firefighters can put inside of their helmets, allowing them to navigate dark, smoke-filled buildings.
Dykes said while at the White House, he was told to take advantage of local counseling and mentorship programs, but he's not walking away from the experience with only advice.
"This White House trip has opened up many different doors for us. I was able to appear on “Marie in the Mornings” on Fox Business News, the next morning with a satellite feed to New York. That was a great experience. And then from there, we're just getting lots of other inquiries from different media sources from around the country,” Dykes said. “So the phone's blowing up, lots of emails are coming in. It was certainly a very eventful trip, and we're just trying to capitalize on the momentum."
Currently, Northern Star Fire is looking to go to full production as soon as possible and is hoping to bring on two or three full-time employees once enough products are ready to ship out to customers.
Dykes said he's been contacted by fire chiefs from across the U.S. and around the globe, who are interested in placing orders. Dykes said he's also been approached by scuba divers and even NASA about putting his product in their equipment.