Focus Designs opens office in downtown Camas

Local company wins people's choice award at PubTalk

A Camas company is increasing its exposure on a regional, national and global level.

Focus Designs Inc. owners Daniel Wood, David Martschinske and Rick Johannessen have opened an office in downtown Camas. “All the creative stuff happens here,” Martschinske said.

Research and development occurs in Camas, while manufacturing of the Self Balancing Unicycle happens in China.

“Right now, the unicycle encompasses a majority of our efforts,” Martschinske said. “We are, however, spending about 20 percent of our time expanding new ways to repackage this technology.

“There have been many advances that we have made from the unicycle’s development that will make our technology very effective above our competition in other applications,” he added.

A “wall of ideas” includes parts and materials such as clamps, wiring and “anything electronic — motors, batteries and gizmos,” Martschinske said.

A “hobby desk” contains microcontroller and motor controller chips and motors picked up at garage sales.

“We want creativity to be fostered in everything we do,” Martschinske said. “Creativity is central to our core competency of practical design.”

Martschinske’s office includes a framed 50th anniversary edition of the Post-Record from July 10, 1958. It features a historical photo of Northeast Fourth Avenue.

“My wife got it at Camas Antiques, to provide inspiration about downtown Camas — where it’s been and where it’s going,” Martschinske said.

He then picked up a copy of an Italian magazine that was sent to the office. The issue included a photo and write-up about the SBU V3.

The 27 pound unicycle, which sells for $1,795, has an electronic motor brake. Its top speed is 15 mph, and there is a weight limit of 325 pounds. The SBU can travel approximately 8.5 miles on a single charge.

Last month, Martschinske participated in the Clark County PubTalk, presented by the Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council and the Columbia River Economic Development Council.

The event’s topic “Swimming with the Sharks” was inspired by the ABC TV show “Shark Tank,” which Woods and Martschinske appeared on in October.

At PubTalk, Focus Designs won the people’s choice honor, by receiving more than 150 votes.

Martschinske described his 15-minute presentation at PubTalk as a learning experience.

“The sharks were dolphins,” he said.

On “Shark Tank,” entrepreneurs attempt to convince multi-millionaire/billionaire tycoons to give them the funding they need to jump start their business ideas. In exchange for the financial assistance, the entrepreneurs give up a percentage of their companies’ equity.

On the TV program, Wood and Martschinske asked for $300,000 in financing, in exchange for 10 percent of the company. Instead, they were offered $300,000 for 30 percent of the company. Focus did not go through with the deal.

Martschinske said they participated in the TV program for the publicity, which included exposure to more than 10 million viewers.

PubTalk was gearing him up for the Keiretsu Forums, this fall. There will be presentations to potential business partners in Bellevue, Seattle and Portland.

Meanwhile, Martschinske, a 2003 Camas High School graduate, has not forgotten his roots.

“We want to help impact the local community through our internship program this summer,” he said. “We are bringing on seven interns — six from CHS and one from WSU-Vancouver.”

Alan Ecoff, also a 2003 CHS graduate, is the company’s customer relations manager.