Inventive Horizon Student Wins Regional Entrepreneurship Award

Published June 27, 2021

Thomas Bittings Jr Horizon Science Academy McKinley Park 202106Local student inventor Thomas Bittings Jr. plans to study engineering and business at Morehouse College starting next fall. Yeow! Watch out for that scalding hot shower!

Thanks to an invention by a graduating senior at the McKinley Park neighborhood’s Horizon Science Academy - McKinley Park, you may never have to yell like that in the shower again. This invention won Thomas Bittings Jr. a $2,000 cash prize in the Midwest regional contest for the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE).

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Bittings said he was helping his dad install a new shower handle in their South Chicago bathroom when he realized it wasn’t a very efficient way to get the proper water temperature.

He had an idea to fix that: an automated shower water temperature system that heats up the water to your preselected temperature. Bittings calls it the Goldilocks Shower System because it makes sure your shower water temperature is “just right,” he said.

Better Than The Competition

When Bittings was first researching his product, he found that Moen had a similar product that was very expensive and required opening the shower wall to install a temperature-controlling device. He vowed to make his product simpler and less costly.

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Bittings had the idea; he then turned to the NFTE program at Horizon Science Academy for help to develop, finance and market his product. First Bittings worked with Horizon Science Academy teacher Jason Shiliga, who helped him with marketing and the business aspects of bringing his shower product to market.

Goldilock Shower System prototype Thomas Bittings Jr McKinley ParkComponents of the Goldilocks Shower System run through live testing while under development.Soon Bittings was winning competitions with Goldilocks, including his school contest, and then the city regional contest, where judges helped him hone the details of his project. At the Midwest regional competition, Bittings won $2,000, which he will use to buy components for his Goldilocks Shower System so he can bring it to market next year, he said.

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Commercial Proof of Concept

Bittings credits mentor Robyn LaLonde with encouraging him and helping improve his business model. LaLonde, who owns a small boutique gym in Chicago's Bucktown neighborhood, was so sold on the Goldilocks idea that she intends to install the device at her both her gym and home showers.

Bittings will be heading to Atlanta this fall on a full scholarship to Morehouse College to study mechanical engineering, with a minor in business. He said his dream is to be running his own business within 10 years.

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