Inc. Magazine: They Just Can’t Stop Themselves

What You Learn by the Third Company: How to Leverage Your Resources Creatively

Vicki Perdue and her husband, Jay, managed to use the same machinery to serve two companies that manufacture goods for completely different industries. The Perdues, who were college sweethearts, became traveling musicians after graduation, playing pop songs at country clubs and nightclubs. Settling in Amarillo, Texas, they built a recording studio and sank $250,000 into debt. They took odd jobs building houses and teaching so that they could climb out of the hole, while continuing to work on the studio. Then Jay created innovative rockwool soundproofing for the recording studio, launching Perdue Acoustics, which has soundproofed auditoriums for NASA and Universal Studios. It had sales of $2.2 million in 2004.

Several years ago, Jay — who has filed 29 patent disclosure documents, including one for a wind generator and another for an electric-powered car — dreamed up a bike with pontoons to make it float. He figured out that he could use the machinery that made fiberglass soundproofing diffusers to make the pontoons, too. Later, the Perdues bought a plastic-molding machine to replace the fiberglass equipment and make material for both businesses. Last year, the couple started selling their floating bike, Pedal-Paddle, which retails at $995, to bicycle shops, boat dealers, camps, and marinas. Vicki handles the financials for both Perdue Acoustics and Pedal-Paddle, maintaining separate bank accounts for each venture. The Perdues have hired a full-time Pedal-Paddle manager-salesman, who works on salary plus commission, and they ask their acoustics salespeople to pitch Pedal-Paddle, too.

(Original caption from magazine photo spread) Jay and Vicki Perdue. Their first business was a recording studio. When Jay invented rockwool soundproofing for it, they launched a seperate business to sell acoustic panels that earned $2.2 million dollars last year. Next the couple started making Pedal-Paddles, bikes that float using the same machine that molds soundproofing products. In all, they have more than 25 inventions, five of which are patented, that they hope to turn into businesses.

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