Someone once said that in order to succeed you have to have four things: “passion, vision, purpose, and a plan.” Rusty found out he had them all, but the realization came from an unlikely source-being laid off. Working as a product designer for a large corporation, Rusty designed barbeques day in and day out. He often pondered the life of these massive machines and what happened to them once their owners wanted a new, shiny upgraded model. Sure it was job security, but Rusty couldn’t help feeling guilty for contributing to the larger global problem of the hundreds and thousands of non-biodegradable products manufactured every year. “I think we have an obligation as designers to use the resources out there to make products that are user and earth friendly,” explains Rusty, “I wasn’t happy.” Getting laid off seemed like maybe an opportunity instead of a set back.

Combing magazines for savvy business ideas, Rusty came across an article written about plastic water bottles and their indefinite life span. It spurred an extensive research effort that required several trips to REI and many nights learning about the properties of plastic. He became even more passionate about inventing something good for the world and decided the hole in the market was a good ‘filtered reusable water bottle.’ Sure there are a few out there already, but during Rusty’s research he was convinced he could invent a better one. And it seemed the universe transpired to aid in his efforts. “My buddy at the University decided to use my product idea for his thesis,” says Rusty, “I was honored but I was even more excited because it also acted as a business proposal that I could send to potential investors.”

Rusty had a vision, and a plan was starting to form. Stepping full force into production on his invention, Rusty didn’t look back. “I figured, if I didn’t do my own thing now, when would I? I used some of my savings but I wasn’t concerned with that. I was more driven to get this thing going,” Rusty explains. Having passion for something does funny things to people. It makes you stay up all night reading articles on towns with filtered water fountains and hotels that do and don’t offer recycling. Within 3 months Rusty had investors, which meant this was his new full time job.

Working not only on the design of the water bottle, Rusty toggles daily between investor meetings, off shore calls with China and building prototypes. He’s doing it all. He stepped into the hot seat, channeled his efforts and began to see the reward of being a true entrepreneur. After finishing his degree at the Savannah school of Art and Design years prior, Rusty knew he was ready to do something big, but it wasn’t until this ‘opportunity’ that Rusty was able to put all that knowledge, experience and energy into one venture. They say you learn a lot about yourself in times of stress. Rusty learned he not only has what it takes to design a relevant, earth friendly product, but he has succeeded where others have failed, by not giving up and having the guts to go after his passion. After over a year in the planning, Rusty proudly announced that his product is currently being made here in the United States with all biodegradable materials and will be seeking ways to make it available in stores soon. Rusty is also very passionate about helping to build water wells in underdeveloped countries and intends to work closely in the years to come with a non-profit organization called Charity Water. Rusty hasn’t worked out the details yet but hopes to give back to this organization in some way by donating part of all sales to their efforts.

Since creating Gobie H20 in 2009 Rusty has rode the roller coaster of trying to get a product to market that has a lot of competition. In 2016 he made it on to Shark Tank and brokered a deal for $300,000 from one of the show’s ‘Sharks.’ Rusty continued to run Gobie’s distribution but unfortunately couldn’t get Gobie to catch on. Rusty is still freelance and working on something new. He’s top secret about what his new product might be, perhaps an improvement on the original Gobie H20. Rusty is still passionate about clean water and still works closely with the Charity Water organization.

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About the currency project

The Currency Project challenges us all to see the beauty through the pain, the positive that can come from a negative and the heartbreak that can turn into a new beginning. Life is uncertain but our faith, hope and love can never be taken from us. Our true currency in life is what we make it.