From ‘anchor baby’ to inventor

Jose Soto wins governor's small business award, aims to change consumer habits

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By AMANDA KIMBLE
TheFlashToday.com

STEPHENVILLE (July 6, 2016) – Native Texan – and first-generation United States citizen – Jose Soto is working to achieve his American dream.

“Some people call me an anchor baby, but I say I am a ‘Texi-can’ because I’m a native Texan and I can,” Soto, 35, quipped.

But the evidence of the aspiring business magnate, inventor and investor’s abilities – and the power of perseverance – is no laughing matter. His desire to succeed spurred a quick evolution from ‘anchor baby’ to business man, and that determination recently led Soto to be recognized by Gov. Greg Abbott.

He has come a long way. Soto failed first grade, as he struggled to learn the English language. But he caught on quickly and soon began serving as translator for his parents. He discovered he was a strong athlete – especially in American football, a sport his family knew nothing about. His talent could have carried him to collegiate play, but fate sideline his athletic career.

Fate also gave him a lease on life. Soto’s father taught him to work hard and always make the best of a bad situation. That lesson resonated during his senior year at Stephenville High School. Soto enrolled in a vocational program and was soon named state champion in major appliance repair.

He took his technological prowess to Universal Technical Institute in Houston, where he obtained Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning and Refrigeration and Environmental Protection Agency certifications. Soto then returned to Stephenville and put his skills to work at Tarleton State University before opening JS Air Conditioning Service and Repair, which he still operates after more than a decade.

Fast forward to five years ago and a new business plan was born. The plan included the development of patented technology, expected to be available through Quik Pak, Inc. in early 2017.

Soto and his investors believe Quik Pak will change the way local consumers and others across the country purchase certain products. They also expect the technology to drastically reduce the footprint the products’ waste leaves on the environment.

Jose Soto
Jose Soto

It appears state officials agree. Soto and Quik Pak were presented the State of Texas Small Business Award on June 9.

Giving a quick summary of the yet-to-be released system, Soto said Quik Pak is a new way of dispensing all liquids used by consumers – laundry detergent, fabric softener, dishwasher detergent, shampoo, mouthwash and more.

Soto said they’re things most, if not all, households use. Whether the products are purchased at local retail stores or bought online and delivered to consumers’ doorsteps, they have one thing in common – waste and a lot of it.

According to the Institute for Sustainable Communication, Americans generate 10.5 million tons of plastic waste each year, and it has been reported that one ton of plastic fills 30 cubic yards of landfill space. It takes plastic bottles and estimated 500-1,000 years to degrade, meaning all of the plastic ever created still remains.

To combat those staggering and ever growing statistics, Soto’s invention will encourage consumers to stop buying prepackaged liquids and invest in the Quik Pak system. It includes a climate controlled unit that will be placed outside of consumers’ homes and businesses and interior dispenser systems. The company will be responsible for servicing the units and making sure they’re regularly restocked and ready to use. Soto said he created design that makes it so technicians won’t need to enter customers’ homes.

Through the creation and development phase, Soto said he was able to design an exterior unit ñ with an initial price of $2,500-$5,000 – that will cost $500 or less.

“We wanted to make something everyone could afford and make it worth their investment,” he said.

The systems include a lifetime warranty, and the technology will allow Quik Pak to use a billing system similar to electric company.

Fernando Soto
Fernando Soto

“Charges will be based on consumption,” Soto said, adding current liquid household consumption per household ranges greatly, from an estimated $85-$350 per month, depending on the size of the household and products used.

Most consumers will realize a drop in expenses since consumers are no longer paying for product packaging, which accounts for the greatest expense.

While the new technology is Soto’s brainchild, it is a family business, which includes his younger brother Fernando, who is one of the startup’s top investors and vice president of Quik Pak.

Fernando, a business owner himself, took the reins of the his father’s business – Soto Body Shop – after graduating from Texas State Technical College for Auto Collision Management Technology several years ago.

Looking at the last five years, Soto said he is realizing his dreams and doing so by recognizing a problem and working on a solution.

“If you can make something positive out of negative situation, you’re basically a genius,” Jose said. “You have to be a problem solver to succeed in life.”

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