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Mike Dawson, BEng Mgt '12

Electrical Engineering & Management | Hockey gloves smell like a business opportunity

There’s a lot of hands-on experience in Mike Dawson’s story of entrepreneurship.

An avid lacrosse and hockey player who captained the 2010 McMaster lacrosse team to a national championship, the recent grad had a case of stinky hands.

Sweaty gloves left an odour on his hands that simply showering wouldn’t erase. Through the years, he and his teammates tried a variety of solutions, including lathering their hands with a shared can of shaving cream to mask the smell.

“It was a poor fix that only masked the smell, dissipated after a half-hour, and would occasionally make a disaster of your equipment bag when it was accidentally kicked,” recalls Dawson (B.Eng. ‘12, Elec. & Mgmt.).

After moving in with a fiancé who complained about the odour, he set his mind – and her nose – to developing a formula that would effectively kill the glove-borne bacteria causing the smell, rather than just mask it.

While working as a project engineer for a large electrical company in Alberta, Dawson perfected the after-sport hand deodorizer that he’s now marketing under the brand name Fresh Mitts. The company slogan: “Leave the stench on the bench.”

With an enduring interest in running his own business, he’s taken the plunge into running Fresh Mitts on a full-time basis.

As sole owner and operator of the company, he’s hands-on with everything from making sure supplies are delivered to the lab producing the cream, to designing marketing materials.

It’s a big change from the electrical engineering work he’s been doing since graduation, but Dawson says his engineering skills remain helpful in a variety of ways.

“I’ve been able to understand the science behind the formula, as well as the procedures that laboratories follow to complete research and development on products like this,” he says. “I learned key procedures for proper chemical testing in order to achieve the best final product.”

“And the business part of the degree has helped with everything from finance and accounting to production and inventory optimization.”