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Pequa Park Duo Invents to Save Energy

The word inventor conjures up images of wild-eyed, crackpot loners with gizmos spilling out of an overflowing garage. But that romanticized illustration is far from reality. Most architects of ideas are business-savvy and creatively gifted—and their inventions meet a need.

Thomas Mavroudis and Bill Caporale of Massapequa Park met through their children, classmates at Massapequa Reform Nursery School. They became fast friends, with the families taking vacations together.

That friendship turned to business when the pair founded MAVCAP Industries, inventing and manufacturing central air conditioning vent and grille covers for weatherization. Their product, the AC DraftShield, is used across a wide spectrum of industries and promotes energy conservation and savings for homeowners.

The idea sprouted in a moment of inspiration. Caporale, the engineering mind of the duo, was renovating his attic in Massapequa Park when he realized an air duct leading up from his downstairs bathroom was providing an escape for heat.

“Hot air wants to go up. So all that heat and all that energy was being lost up the air vent,” he said.

After a series of prototypes, Corporale and Mavroudis came up with a design for clear-plastic covers fitting over central air grates and wall mounted air conditioners to seal out drafts. They also developed a cover to fit over electrical outlets to prevent drafts through non-insulated wall spaces.

Mavroudis said these products keep energy costs down while more efficiently heating a home in the winter: “Air vents cause a massive heat loss in homes.”

“The idea is being embraced in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and even Australia,” Mavroudis went on. “But [we are] still pushing for New York energy officials to embrace it.”

Mavroudis said the company has grown organically since its inception in 2008, with advertising mostly of word of mouth. The Massapequa Park-based company has succeeded without having to shill on invention-based reality television shows.

“Those shows ask for far too much in terms of equity,” he said. “We just were not willing to give up that much of our company.”

The pair credits the company’s success to the well-balanced nature of their partnership.

“We complement each other perfectly,” said Mavroudis. “Bill is one of the top engineering minds I’ve met and I’m good at what I do. It’s both ends of the spectrum.”

Mavroudis and Caporale agreed that marketing the product has been far more difficult than development and design.

“You can have fabulous idea, but you have to be able to move it,” said Mavroudis. “Money is a hurdle, but it is not a monumental hurdle. You have to believe in your product.”

Caporale said his partner’s ability to communicate has propelled MAVCAP’s success.

“He has a narrow vision to close the deal,” he said, adding that any invention has to fulfill its promise to the consumer in order to be successful.

Mavroudis said that no matter the product, inventors must embrace the business side of their idea. He believes that without a strategy, even the best inventions could fail.

“Don’t do anything out of desperation. You’re not playing the lotto here,” he said. “You got to have a vision and a business plan. There are going to be obstacles, but you have to press on regardless.”

To check out MAVCAP’s products, view www.acdraftshields.com.