Harrison Pietrzak ’20 Launches Road Safety Startup

Pietrzak used Manhattan College connections to create a new business model.

Harrison Pietrzak at safRide exhibitEntrepreneurship has been a focal point of the O’Malley School of Business in recent years. Harrison Pietrzak ’20, a management and global business studies major with a minor in finance, is carrying on that tradition, starting a company – safRide Travel Products – designed to reduce accidents for new drivers.

The idea started when Pietrzak was a new driver on the road in his hometown of Newburgh, N.Y., recalling that he was aware of the traffic in front of him but had no control of the cars behind him. Interested to see if this was a problem, he found that 250,000 new drivers get into rear end accidents per year in the United States. He then started a series of product designs and test methods leading to the eventual patent-pending design. The product is a yellow sign that sticks to the back of car windows. On the sign large black letters state “Slow” and “New Driver” to warn people of the possibility of slow driving or sudden stops.

Jasper Network Helps Pietrzak Off The Ground

He reached out to Aileen Farrelly ’95, CPA, assistant dean of the O’Malley School of Business, to connect him with Drew Berweger ’05, an intellectual property attorney at Scully, Scott, Murphy & Presser, to help review and critique his paperwork. Together they were able to quickly move through tasks such as filing design patent and trademark applications. He marketed the product with emails to 250,000 PTA Summer Leadership Conference members. He handed out over 60 order forms to enthusiastic PTA leaders who are taking the fundraiser concept he developed back to their school committees for action this fall. “Taking advantage of the Manhattan College connections has helped me build my company, and I advise other students to do the same,” Pietrzak said.

The marketing honors seminar, a small group of excelling undergraduates in the O’Malley School of Business, are creating a strategic social media marketing plan for Pietrzak. Carolyn Predmore, Ph.D., professor of management and marketing, who heads the seminar class said “Harrison has a good idea and has been doing well with his personal outreach to parents and PTA groups. We want to help him expand further. Combining his own research with current data shows evidence that these signs will be helpful for reducing rear end accidents in new drivers.”

Pietrzak aims to receive his undergraduate degree in three years. SafRide Travel Products, LLC is in the process of filing additional patents for an assortment of complimentary window stickers for several demographics of drivers. For more information, interested individuals can visit safride.com or the company’s Instagram and Twitter pages.

By Pete McHugh