FARMINGTON — Lee Weinland stood before nearly 20 people who had the power to bring his 5-pound dream to reality.
Weinland held up a golf bag made of recycled plastic that weighed about 5 pounds and told the panel he has invested nearly $50,000 and is seeking an investment of $250,000.
Weinland was one of 15 entrepreneurs who made presentations to a panel of investors and other business professionals at Discovery Day last week.
Discovery Day, organized by The "High Desert Discovery District," an independent group of business professionals that looks for New Mexico technology projects that have the potential to be commercialized.
It was Weinland's opportunity to find potential investors to take his patented project to the next level.
"My daughter is a Special Olympics golfer," he told the panel, adding that his daughter couldn't carry a regular golf bag.
"I had to come up with something light, practical and strong and pretty in pink," he said.
He patented his plastic golf bag and helped his daughter compete in the Special Olympics. But that innovation also served as the beginning of a product that he has been marketing for the past four years.
An investment of $250,000 would allow him to buy a machine to produce the bag and storage space, establishing his own company.
Ray Hagerman, Four Corners Economic Development CEO, said he was pleased with the business people who presented during the two-day event.
He said he heard about Discovery Day when he was panelist for one of the days last year and worked to bring the event to Farmington.
"We're going to try to do something like this every six months," he said, adding that he'd like to see local entrepreneurs have an opportunity to present their ideas directly to investors and business professionals.
He added that Discovery Day in Farmington included ideas and products involving the oil and gas industry.
Allen McCulloch, a Farmington urologist, presented his patented idea to reduce emissions from generators used to pump natural gas.
His idea, which he tested on a well recently, takes the exhaust of the engine and uses the pressure and emissions to help pump the natural gas to the refinery where the emissions particles can be filtered out of the natural gas.
"It's so simple, its hard to believe," he said about his idea.
He said his plan basically eliminates emissions from wellheads since it's pumping emissions into the pipeline and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recently made rules to reduce emissions particulates. He says he would like to continue testing.
"I would like to leapfrog the EPA," he said.
Discovery Day was held in partnership with Four Corners Economic Development and ConocoPhillips.
High Desert Discovery District plans to have a conference call next week with the panelist regarding the presentations, said Michelle Miller, High Desert Discovery District founder and CEO.
"I think it was a very good Discovery Day and we're very pleased with the business community in Farmington," she said in a phone interview.
She added that after next week's conference call, she will speak with the businesses and companies that presented at Discovery Day to inform them about the panelists comments.
"It's a fairly deep analysis of what we heard with the feedback from the panel," she said.
She said some companies may receive help from the panelists that could include networking, more planning or even investments, but some companies will receive only the feedback from the conference call.
The panel is composed of seasoned business professionals, she said. "They can pretty much judge if something has merit."
Weinland said that regardless of the feedback he receives he plans to keep moving his golf bag idea forward and is thankful for his opportunity at Discovery Day.
"Blessings like this don't come along very often," he said.Erny Zah is The Daily Times business editor. He can be reached at 505-564-4638. and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him @ernyzah on Twitter.