How three Eagle Scout brothers are working to make more ventilators

From left to right: Tyler, Ryan and Preston

It’s not like Tyler, Ryan and Preston Mantel didn’t have anything else to do.

It’s just that, back in March, when the three Eagle Scout brothers from Troop 804 of the Crossroads of America Council in Indianapolis found out that the world needed more ventilators, they knew everything else had to put on hold. Only one thing mattered for now.

“A ventilator is not really a complicated mechanical design, but it is a very complicated supply chain problem to get 13 million out in a few months,” Tyler told UC News, the online news outlet of the University of Cincinnati. “The only people in the world that can rise to that sort of scale is startups.”

And so, The Ventilator Project was born.

Switching Gears

Tyler was working on a project called Watertower Robotics, a noble enough cause already — WTR’s mission is to use robotics to reduce the 20 percent of the world’s water supply that is currently lost through deteriorating infrastructure.

His friend, Alex Frost, had just created FloraBot, a company that uses robotic arms to create floral arrangements.

Alex and Tyler

But all that could wait. Tyler and Alex quickly recruited a team, including his brother Ryan, director of operations for the Ohio State University wrestling team, who works on fundraising for The Ventilator Project; and his other brother Preston, a business technology analyst at Deloitte Consulting, who works on marketing for The Ventilator Project.

Of course, it would take still more manpower. So, Tyler called on some former Scout leaders, and within a few hours he had connected with a pulmonologist, an anesthesiologist and an emergency medical technician.

The Team Grows

The team grew beyond that rather quickly, eventually topping out at around 200 people, around 10 percent of which are Eagle Scouts.

“We all have the same moral compass and our preparation has put us in a spot where we can save a lot of lives,” says Ryan.

Many of the team members are connected to the University of Cincinnati Carl H. Lindner College of Business, where Sue Mantel, mother of Tyler, Ryan and Preston, is a professor of marketing.

In less than two weeks, The Ventilator Project had created a functioning prototype that addresses two problems associated with the ventilator shortage: affordability and speed of delivery. They also delivered 100 3-D-printed face shields to a New York City hospital.

Goal Achieved … Almost

The Ventilator Project had raised $70,000 by the end of April and completed development of its flagship product, Aira. They plan to submit Aira shortly for review by the Emergency Use Authorization authority, part of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

Follow their progress at their blog: https://theventilatorproject.org/blog/.

About Aaron Derr 15 Articles
Aaron Derr is the senior editor of Boys' Life and Scouting magazines, a former Cubmaster and current Scouts BSA volunteer.