Bright ideas are gaining traction |

Bright ideas are gaining traction

Scott Condon

Aspen, CO ColoradoWho better to turn to than a yak for help negotiating the snow and ice?The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority was experiencing a greater number of injuries and medical claims than usual because of weather-related accidents this winter. It prompted the senior management to take a closer look at the problem.”Clearly our biggest hit is slips and falls,” said Kent Blackmer, RFTA’s co-director of operations.At first glance, the agency that operates the valley’s bus system didn’t feel it could do anything to avoid slips and falls other than urge drivers and other workers to be careful. Then, “almost on a lark” Blackmer decided to call Yaktrax, a North Carolina-based manufacturer of traction devices that can be pulled over boots and shoes. It didn’t take long for the idea to gain traction.The company offered to make its products available at half price for a bulk purchase by RFTA. Blackmer said nearly 75 percent of employees, roughly 150 out of 220, jumped at the opportunity to acquire the extra tread.Since RFTA is reducing its slips and falls, it figured it could return the favor. An employee in information technologies took some photos of RFTA workers in their Yaktrax at scenic spots in Aspen. The pictures were sent to the company and offered for possible promotional purposes. RFTA is awaiting word on whether Yaktrax is interested, said Blackmer.Since everything worked so well with Yaktrax, RFTA management came up with another bright idea. Blackmer said the agency is preparing to approach Maglite, the maker of high-powered flashlights, to see if it would supply the agency in a favorable deal.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is


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