SHERIDAN — What started as a big dream and a well-kept secret turned into success and growth for Frog Creek Partners founder Brian Deurloo.
In Sheridan in the month of December 2016, Deurloo installed his first two prototypes of the Gutter Bin, now a patent-pending, trademarked storm drain designed to keep more pollutants out of waterways.
Deurloo, raised in Sheridan, wanted to return to his hometown to start his business.
The initial idea came from cigarette butts infesting the streets and polluting the environment, specifically Goose Creek. In 2017, Deurloo collected 400-500 pounds of pollutants from three Gutter Bins installed in Sheridan.
In the time between his first installments and his most recent additions on Main Street, Deurloo improved his invention to make for easier cleaning. He also built a team of employees under Frog Creek Partners, LLC. His colleague, Tommy Stypula, lives in Sheridan and completes engineering contract work for Frog Creek Partners through his personal business, Styp, LLC, a mechanical engineering company.
Stypula helped him install “Gutter Bin 2.0” in several locations around Sheridan, including in front of The Mint Bar and Beaver Creek Saloon.
“If (the design) looks easy, that means it’s probably simple, which is a good thing,” Stypula said.
“You just make it simple so it can’t be broken,” Deurloo added.
Deurloo met with city officials to determine the places that needed the Gutter Bin the most. The city paid for 40 percent of the eight new installations and a “319 grant” through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency funded the other 60 percent. The grant reserves funds for projects helping reduce polluted runoff.
In the product redesign, Deurloo included a bag filter — “mundus bags” — made out of burlap and coated in an environmentally-safe polymer to catch even more pollutants.
The design shown on top also encourages storm water pollution awareness. Metal cut locally by Sheridan’s Wyoming Welding and Machine personalizes each Gutter Bin to reflect its purpose or purchaser. For example, the Gutter Bin purchased by Dixie See of ERA Carroll Realty dons her name and the company behind the purchase. The Gutter Bin in front of The Mint Bar notes its purpose of cleaning up Goose Creek.
Deurloo, an active member of Rotary International, went as far as to fashion the top metal design into the organization’s emblem to better market his product to select groups. He has and will present the idea of personalization to Sheridan Rotary International, as well as groups in Denver to support the cause for cleaner water.
“I’m embracing this whole thing that the filth and pollution people don’t want to deal with is a huge marketing opportunity for it,” Deurloo said. “The pollution is stacking up all over this world, and I think innovation is needed where people can make a business out of it and clean up the environment at the same time.”
Deurloo’s Gutter Bin has expanded from Sheridan to Casper. He is currently in conversations with the city of Denver, the Los Angeles parks and recreation department and entities in Australia to move his range of coverage even wider.
The Sheridanite will continue to expand, helping decrease the pollutants hitting precious waterways like Goose Creek by “getting people’s minds in the gutter.”