Original – Nov. 23, 2016 – Published here: http://www.lehigh.edu/engineering/news/alumni/2016/20161123-steve-galante-big-squeeze.html
Throughout his youth, Steve Galante ’94 would hear his father, a dentist, griping constantly about how toothpaste tubes were designed to waste product. In his practice, Dr. Galante used a 1970s era device called the “Tubewringer” to extract every last bit of the minty-freshness, however, he found it to be awkward, annoying and a knucklebuster.
Now, some 30 years later, Galante is launching a product that would make dear old Dad proud: the Big Squeeze. It’s a small piece of common-sense genius: imagine the business-end of a can opener flipped on its side and applied to a tube. With each twist of ergonomically-designed handles, its three inch long gears push the contents forward and flatten the empty portion of the tube.
“It’s design is simple, yet revolutionary,” Galante says. “It’s a good product that can be used by the masses — and a great product for industries and professionals that use expensive materials delivered in tubes.”
Galante started working on prototypes in 2009, and by May 2013 had received a patent for his product. The Big Squeeze was created over several years. A CAD wizard with decades of experience, Galante meticulously tested out his product with friends and family of all ages.
Currently in pre-production, the Big Squeeze is in the midst of a kickstarter campaign that ends on December 3. According to Galante, the campaign has reached approximately 65% of its stated goal less than halfway through its run.
A background in mechanical design and entrepreneurship
Galante graduated from Lehigh with a degree in mechanical engineering, but said that he always felt like an entrepreneur and loves bringing technical products into the business world. Two scholarships — the Leonard Pool Scholarship and the American Council on Education (ACE) Entrepreneurship Award — helped fuel his entrepreneurial spirit.
Galante has previously held positions at data storage firm at Spectra Logic and window-treatment manufacturer Hunter-Douglas. At both of these jobs, he honed his skills in prototyping. “That’s when I realized that I could lead the entire process,” Galante says. He is quick to credit his business partner and friend, Clark Brace, who specializes in CAD and supports ongoing product design.
“Lehigh taught me to persevere when chasing an idea,” says Galante. “Even in the face of disappointment and setbacks, you’ve got to keep moving forward.”