Morning Sun
  • Pittsburg State University student Patrick Stoddart creates RED business

  • Patrick Stoddart’s business, in just its second year, just clinched another client. He’s already at nine clients and 15 systems, with more likely to sign on in August or September.

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  • Patrick Stoddart’s business, in just its second year, just clinched another client. He’s already at nine clients and 15 systems, with more likely to sign on in August or September.
    Not bad for getting ready to start his second year at Pittsburg State.
    Stoddart runs Revdel, which is the name of the company. The name of the product he sells is RED, which is a messaging and alert service that is catching on quickly with chambers of commerce, school districts and nonprofit organizations.
    It started in 2009, when Stoddart was a student at Lee’s Summit (Mo.) High School. He was the Web editor of the high school newspaper, the High Life. His journalism advisor prompted him to create what would become an online events calendar.
    “In 2009, I presented the idea for what came to be RED to the school administrators, hoping they would adopt it at the school,” Stoddart said. “It would add in texts and e-mail messaging. It took the event calendar, and expanded on it to include messaging.”
    His first go at it was not a success, as the superintendent of technology said no. But eventually, after working on it more, by August 2009 the school agreed to let Stoddart give the program a try. By then, he had already received a copyright on his idea after talking to a patent attorney.
    It was launched at Lee’s Summit High School, with 1,600 parents and students signing up for the program during registration. By October, the school officially supported RED.
    By April, Lee’s Summit North High School joined in as Stoddart’s first paid client. Soon after, Stoddart created the business of Revdel. Lee’s Summit West joined in by June 2010. By January 2011, the entire school district took advantage of the program.
    But by then, they weren’t his only clients. Now, the list of clients includes USD 250, the Pittsburg Chamber of Commerce, Hearts and Hammers, and, as of this week, the Lenexa Chamber of Commerce. Pittsburg State is even in the mix in a limited fashion.
    Blake Benson, Pittsburg Chamber of Commerce president, said that RED has been good for Pittsburg.
    “It’s allowed us to specialize the communications we have with our members,” Benson said. “Instead of just a one-size-fits-all newsletter, this gives people the ability to sign up for just what they want. They do not have to wade through a lot of information they are not interested in. In communications, that’s the trend in which we’re going. Future generations want information specialized and packaged for them.”
    On the other hand, Pittsburg has been good for RED. Benson has been introducing Stoddart to potential other clients, particularly other chambers of commerce across the state. Those include Lenexa, Topeka and Overland Park chambers.
    Page 2 of 2 - Stoddart also described getting in touch with the Alliance for Technology Commercialization, who has helped him with developing his business.
    “They’ve been working with me since October or November, helping me with everything from a business plan to generating sales, and also making partnership connections,” Stoddart said. “Especially introducing me to local provessionals, marketing directors, business directors and others, not really pitching the product, but talking about things they would recommend, and advice they have for me.”
    Stoddart will continue his double major of Spanish and Computer Information Systems at Pittsburg State. Although he’s completed one year of class, he brought in enough credits to be almost a junior by hours. That allows him to do some creative scheduling, allowing him to be home by 10 or 11 a.m., and then work on his business the rest of the day.
    On occasion, his age and increasing schedule can create some conflict with his friends.
    “It’s a bit of a struggle with my friends. I quit my part-time job to focus on Revdel, and it’s a struggle because my friends want to go out late on a weeknight,” he said. “I tell them I need to be home. Sometimes, they ask why, since they think I just quit my job. But my job is with my business now.”
    As for the future of RED and Revdel, Stoddart hopes the future is as bright as others believe it could be.
    “When I explain the program to people, the reaction I have is this is going to be big. I guess if they say so, it’ll happen,” Stoddart said. “Part of the growth is to go national. We’re just getting started. As long as we have the management and support structure there, there’s no reason it can’t go national and international.”
    Andrew Nash can be reached at andrew.nash@morningsun.net or by calling 231-2600 ext. 140.

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