Thomas Contreras, founder of New Generation Creations, is an award-winning inventor who is motivated by making life safer and better for others. "Everything I invent, I do to help people," he said. "I've always been a creator, but it was my children who suggested I patent my inventions. If not for my children standing behind me saying go for it dad, I wouldn't have patented the TAC Device."
The TAC Device is a lobster snare with integrated dive safety flag that won the Enterprise Charlotte Economic Council’s 2012 Innovation contest. Contreras won $7,000 and two years of warehouse space. "The TAC Device is a life saving aid to help scuba divers when diving recreationally," he explained. "In addition to being a lobster snare, it is a safety aid which helps divers return to surface with a dive flag so they don't get hit by a boat. If you're down in the Florida Keys lobstering, you can hear boats all over the place but you can't tell which direction they're coming from. Once the flag hits air before the diver surfaces, boats must stay 300 feet away from the flag by law."
In addition to the TAC Device, Contreras has developed a functioning prototype of a device that enables upper extremity amputees to fire rifles to continue to enjoy hunting recreationally. "For those with arm shoulder, or hand amputations, the device allows them to shoot a rifle or shotgun with one arm," he said. "Because the device holds the rifle stationary, all the hunter has to do is sight, aim and shoot. The device is a stabilizer and absorbs recoil."
Contreras is a compassionate problem solver. He conceived of the hunting assistance device to help out a good friend. "A friend of mine was diagnosed with melanoma that ended up taking his nose, ear and arm," he said. "My friend was at the point where he was giving up and I wanted to get my friend back in the woods hunting."