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Published on July 1st, 2019 | by AberdeenMagazine

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An Invention Built by a Village

Susan Evans is the creator of NebTray, an organizational tool that helps patients keep track of their nebulizer medications. In April, NebTray was awarded third place and $5,000 at the Governor’s Giant Vision business competition.

An invention doesn’t have to come from massive research centers with gigantic budgets. Sometimes ideas start small and are built with love by a dedicated few. What began as a simple shoebox top with holes is turning into an important invention for patients who take breathing treatments. 

It all started because Susan Evans, an occupational therapist in the home health field with over 20 years of experience, saw a reoccurring need happening with many of her patients. She was going into their homes to do therapy, but many times they were too out of breath to participate due to confusion with their nebulizer medications. “Almost all nebulizer medicines come in clear, plastic vials, and they look very similar. For people who take one or more of these treatments every day, they can be difficult to keep track of,” she explains. With the idea to help patients and caregivers better organize nebulizer medicines, she created NebTray. It works much like a weekly pill organizer, only with spots for nebulizer vials.

Susan’s invention quickly went from a design scratched into a shoebox lid to a prototype manufactured in Minneapolis that is out for trial use by patients all over eastern South Dakota. Once the trial period is over, she’ll be able to finalize the product and have it for sale worldwide via www.nebtray.com. Travis Kiefer and CREATE of Aberdeen are also developing an electronic version of NebTray, which includes some additional features like a caregiver app and a sensor that sends out an alert if medications aren’t being taken properly. Susan says the support she’s received from the Aberdeen community has made her venture possible. She’s had people pitch in to help with marketing, business strategies, grant applications, and social media management. Her advice to other area entrepreneurs? “If you have an idea but don’t know where to start, there are so many resources here and people who want to see your business succeed. I’d be nowhere without my team of advisors, they’re amazing.” // — Jenny Roth

To learn more about NebTray visit their website or email susan@nebtray.com.


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