Construction Jack Series Expands
February 2003 - Following on the initial success of its release of Construction Jack and the Great American Tradesman Collection of action figures in October of 2002, Link Innovations is debuting two new crew members for 2003: Construction Jill the Carpenter and African American Construction Jack the Carpenter. They join fellow tradeworkers Construction Jack the electrician, painter, plumber and carpenter.
The addition of these two new characters to the line of classic 12-inch action figures continues the vision of inventor Andy Winslow, a third generation electrician who conceived the idea for blue collar action figures more than 5 years ago.
"After a long day of inspecting electrical work on a light rail line in rainy Portland, Oregon, I went to several toy stores to get my nephew something that would teach him about the vocation of his uncle, grandfather, and great grandfather," says Winslow. "But there just wasn't anything available."
With the typical determination of a tradesman, Winslow began the long process of securing a patent and developing prototypes. He even worked for a year inspecting electrical work in the oil fields of Saudi Arabia to support his dream. Just as he realized that the project would require more capital and marketing expertise than he could muster, a chance meeting with an old acquaintance - who happened to be VP for Business Development at a start-up venture capital company - proved to be the missing piece to the puzzle.
"I loved the concept as soon as Andy told me about it," says Patrick Cloney of Susquehanna Capital Management, founded by the former CEO of State Street Global Advisors Nick Lopardo. "And when I showed it to Nick he loved it, too."
Despite only being available to the public since October of 2002, the Construction Jack line proved to be a hit for the holiday shopping season, selling thousands of units. It was also wildly popular at the 2003 International Builders Show in Las Vegas, so much so that it garnered a mention in the New York Times' coverage of the show.
"The timing is perfect to release Construction Jill and African American Construction Jack," says Winslow. "One message is that tradesworkers have made incredible contributions to the United States. Another message is that all kids, no matter what their background, should consider getting into the trades." Each figure comes with trade-specific tools, clothing and gear, and the back of each box tells the history of that particular trade, how to get into it, and what those tradesworkers do for a living.
Winslow says that 2003 will also see the release of Ironworker Jack and Landscaper Jack, and that eventually the line will include every trade needed on the construction site as well as several accessory project kits for kids to play with. For more information visit www.constructionjack.com.