Alumnus to discuss award-winning compass for firefighters

September 8, 2017

Jeff Dykes, who has developed a compass for firefighters, will talk Sept. 19 at UW-Stout.

An alumnus who recently won the 2017 Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan contest and received support for his product from UW-Stout will return to campus for a special event.

Jeff Dykes will be the guest speaker Tuesday, Sept. 19, during a luncheon in the Glass Lounge of Merle M. Price Commons, 1110 S. Broadway St. Registration and networking begin at 11:30 a.m., with lunch at noon and the presentation at 12:30 p.m. Learn more and register here.

The event is sponsored by the Wisconsin Technology Council Innovation Network, in cooperation with UW-Stout and Momentum West.

Dykes is owner and founder of Northern Star Fire, which makes a compass that goes inside a firefighter’s breathing apparatus to help navigate smoke-filled environments.

“One hundred firefighters die in the line of work each year in the United States,” Dykes said. “Our goal is to help them know where they are and which direction they can go to rescue themselves. And more important, so they can rescue you.”

Dykes is a veteran Eau Claire fire captain who received a Master of Science in career and technical education in 2015 from UW-Stout. His business idea took off thanks in part to support from UW-Stout’s Discovery Center Fab Lab, which provided expertise with the physical product development.

Dykes has patents pending in five countries for Northern Star Fire and is building a national network for the eight-directional electronic compass. The company has received thousands of orders.

Northern Star Fire was one of two Wisconsin companies that received an exclusive invite to the White House recently for a small business roundtable.

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Jeff Dykes, who has developed a compass for firefighters, will talk Sept. 19 at UW-Stout.