Local Veteran Achieves Business Success

Every November the U.S. Small Business Administration celebrates National Veterans Small Business Week (NVSBW), highlighting the different facets of the veteran business community.   One member of our west texas #vetbiz community, James Sanders, was able to start his own successful business with the help of SBA resources.

James Sanders is a combination of hard work, intelligence, insight and inspiration who channeled all of those qualities into a phenomenal tool that he patented, manufactures and sells all over the world.  If you give him a challenge, he overcomes in a minute or two and then looks for the next opportunity.

Mr. Sanders is through confined to a wheelchair, he keeps creating tools and items to make himself independent and to free up himself and his care givers to “live their lives like they are supposed to! “ He, and his brother and his wife have formed a company to patent his inventions (2 completed and more underway) and then build them and sell them.  He has a website that demos the inventions (a sprinkler head remover/replacer and a system for transfer of a person from a wheelchair to bed and back out.—independently without the assistance from a caregiver).”

James and brother eventually dissolved the initial company (pciAbility) and James formed the replacement company, STI Tools Inc.  Once STI tools Inc. was in business and viable, he gain the assistance of Rick Palmer of West Texas A&M University SBDC to register him as a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business with the VetBiz.gov site.

James Sanders grew up in a family of 11 and learned at an early age the mechanical skills of using what you have to create what you want or need.  In a family owning rental property, James was required to perform maintenance, repairs and work in the family owned print shop.  In 1957, the family established a newspaper and later James delivered his own paper route.  James graduated High School in 1969 and joined the U.S. Navy in 1970. He served 4 years of active duty.

In1992, James experienced a spinal cord injury and became paralyzed and restricted to a wheelchair.  Instead of succumbing to the condition, James used his abilities to overcome the obstacles.  Throughout his life James has adapted to the circumstances to suit the needs.

Frustrated at having to repair his lawn sprinklers, in 2012, James modified a 2” piece of muffler pipe to extract a malfunctioning lawn sprinkler head while sitting in his wheelchair.  James then proceeded to write the documentation and create the drawings to apply for a Utility Patent.  It also took the re-configuring of a muffler flaring machine by James to be productive.  At this time, he had the SRT Sprinkler Removal Tool trademarked and immediately began to show and market them.

STI Tools Inc. sells the product locally in the Ace Hardware retail stores in Amarillo, Canyon, Lubbock, Hereford and Borger, Texas.  Sprinkler Removal Tool Sales, in all the states of the USA, have been achieved through internet marketing.  Foreign sales have included product shipments to numerous customers in Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Italy and Canada.

James is an active member and volunteers regularly with the Canyon Noon Lions. Club, active member of Uncle Dan’s Helping Hands (a project dedicated to aiding residents of Canyon that cannot help themselves),donates to the Salvation Army Red Kettle fund raiser program, 4-H programs, and Little League Baseball of Amarillo.  

Looking to learn more about the resources available for you and your veteran-owned business? Check out 5 Resources to Make Part of Your #Vetbiz Community: www.sba.gov/veterans

Company Name: 
STI Tools Inc.
Location: 
Amarillo, Texas