#RivertonBiz: From napkin to snow melting machine; Thaw Tech Solutions was born

    #rivertonbiz, shares the stories of local movers and shakers of our Fremont County economy.

    (Riverton, WY) – Thaw Tech Solutions is the creation of locals Jose Torres and Julianna Aycock, who hatched the idea while visiting the ski town of Steamboat in January 2023.

    Last year had more snow since probably the 1940s, Torres explained. People felt like they were drowning.

    Thinking that there had to be a better way than all of the equipment and chaos of heavy equipment going up and down the roads, they put their oilfield backgrounds to work.

    “There’s got to be a different way to get rid of it instead of all the equipment, the banging and clanging and tire chains and just taking up all of the streets basically, and there’s no more space to pile it up on,” he said. “Piles are getting bigger and bigger and bigger.”

    “I have an idea. We could melt the stuff.”

    They drew up the idea on a napkin, with all of the components that it would take to run it.

    “Nobody knows if it’s gonna work,” Torres said. “If it does happen, nobody’s done it type of deal.”

    Once back home in Fremont County, they started gathering other people’s “junk” to make their idea come together.

    “It was just an idea, so you can’t go invest $100 grand,” Torres noted.

    He was focused on building efficiency to save on truck traffic and that type of liability, keeping multiple trucks out of your parking lot and off the roads. Julianna was focused on the green aspect of the machine, keeping the trash contained, out of the storm drains, and out of the rivers. They also decided to power it with propane instead of diesel because it burns greener and is cheaper.

    It works kind of like a hot tub, Aycock said. Circulating through coils and heating water. The snow is placed into the machine with the equipment they have. The snowmelt is then directed to a storm/sewer drain by a pipe. The drainage that comes out is warm, clearing up the gutters as well.

    Big piles of snow that cause parking issues and cause storefronts not to be accessible, can now be melted away. This also helps mitigate black ice and flooding.

    Their idea worked, and so began the pilot testing and fundraising.

    “Last winter, we helped a building that was flooding,” Aycock explained. “We just went and removed the pile because as everything was melting in the spring, that big pile was just creating more water.”

    They were grant winners for the 2023 IMPACT 307 Fremont County Startup Challenge. Their original name was “Storm Chasers,” but have since pivoted to Thaw Tech Solutions.

    “It was a godsend,” she said about the challenge. “It was a lot of work. But having Brian (Young) coach us and then just going through the steps and having to talk about it over and over to him to somebody else. And put that presentation together really helped us visualize it. Otherwise, it just still would have been like this thing we were thinking about doing.”

    Without the funds, they had the pumps they could afford and the trailer they could afford, they explained. Basically, the bare minimum.

    “Since then, we’ve been able to paint it; we got some more safety bells in place. So it’s more user-friendly.”

    Their goals for the machine include becoming even more efficient, doing more volume, and building one that’s smaller.

    The company’s goal is to eventually offer machines to landscaping companies that are already doing snow plowing/removal.

    This winter, they plan to collect more data, Aycock said. However, they have been able to determine that it actually provides 30 to 35 percent money savings and extensive time savings.

    We offer estimates. We can drive by and measure your pile to see how many cubic yards you have, Torres explained.

    A website is currently being built, so in order to get in contact with them you can give them a call.

    Call Jose Torres at 307-851-9641 or Julianna Aycock at 307-851-3100.

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