Once considered the class clown, Wayne Provost now stands as the inventor and co-inventor of numerous patents, including the resealable box top.
Having been in the innovation world for 45 years, Provost brings a plethora of inventing experiences and knowledge to Dixie State University. As the newly hired director of innovation guidance and solutions, Provost’s job is to instruct and advise students, faculty and members of the community on their patent ideas.
Kyle Wells, dean of business and communication, said the ultimate goal is to help turn those innovated ideas into “viable businesses in [the] community.”
Provost said he has always had the knack for being creative and inventive. As a child, he was into drawing cartoons. As he got older and attended college, he began building objects like remote controlled airplanes that he would fly around his college dorm.
Steve Jacobsen, Provost’s friend from college and the recipient of the Leonardo Da Vinci Award from the American Society of Engineers, and Provost worked on several different innovations together, often time’s under Jacobsen’s name.
Part of those patents were inventions like the insulin pump, a device used by diabetics to inject insulin into their system, and the portable dialysis machine, a machine used to filter one’s blood when the kidney’s are damaged, Provost said.
“My philosophy is that there is no such thing as a stupid idea,” Provost said.
Provost said a good deal of his patents were of medical origin, which ended up being donated to the University of Utah to help further the research and care of pediatric cancer patients, a subject very tender to his heart.
Some of the patents Provost created were in effort to help his step-son, Dusty, who battled leukemia at a young age before passing away.
After more than one retirement, Provost decided he wasn’t quite done. With a love for college atmospheres and being a recipient himself of two bachelor’s degrees and a doctorate degree, he contacted President Biff Williams in the spring about a potential spot on the DSU staff.
When Provost was hired in October, he was implemented into DSU’s effort to further the Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center. With his expertise in helping people achieve patents for their inventions, Provost was the right fit, Wells said.
Wells also said Provost is able to quickly find out if a patent already exists, and if it doesn’t, he can help individuals by reducing their costs in obtaining a patent.
Right now, Provost has eight students who are utilizing him as a resource with another five potentially on the way. Of those eight students, he said five of them have patents with some real potential.
“[Provost] is a wealth of knowledge,” said Wyatt Anderson, a sophomore business administration major from Richfield. “It’s like you are a team with him, and he works through every step [with you].”
Due to bilateral non-disclosure agreements signed by both him and his students, Provost was unable to disclose what the pending projects are. From what he has been helping with so far, it has exceeded his expectations, Provost said.
“This is the most fun I have ever had,” Provost said with a smile. “This is like going to Disneyland.”
Updated on 03/29/2017 at 8:40 a.m.