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Rajan Sedalia observed someone almost falling off a cable tower. “It made me think about developing something to keep ladders from slipping off curved surfaces,” says the industrial designer who holds a B.S. from Ohio State University. One thing led to another and Sedalia came up with the Grippster, a device that adheres to the top step of an extension ladder to keep it from skidding. This product is currently being sold at select Home Depot and Sherwin William stores.

The awards have been plentiful for Sedalia’s invention, including the bronze IDEA (Industrial Design Excellence Award) from Business Week magazine; The Hot Product award for National Home Center News; and prominent mention in Parade magazine and Design Perspective New Ventures. However, “the response has been fluctuating,” says Sedalia. Most stores would like to display a group of 4-5 products on the shelf. In response, Sedalia has been working on inventions like the Ladder Stops (lime-green suction cups that cover the tops of ladder legs); the Ladder Taxi (that would enable one to carry a ladder like a suitcase); and Hold It (a utility that would allow one to carry tools while moving up and down a ladder).

Besides being an inventor, Sedalia is also a designer and a cartoonist. Children’s lunch packs by Igloo bearing Sedalia’s illustrations are scheduled to hit the market this fall. Separately, he is working on a comic strip that jests about the life and styles of West Los Angeles.

For more on Sedalia and his versatile designs, visit