Before coming to Kent State in 2008, Quevedo worked in the department of design, housing and merchandising at Oklahoma State University. At Oklahoma State, he began collaborating with colleagues Donna Branson and Semra Peksoz. Branson is director of the Institute for Protective Apparel Research and Technology at Oklahoma State; Peksoz is an assistant professor.
While at Oklahoma State, Quevedo began working with Fire-Dex, a top manufacturer of apparel for firefighters. Fire-Dex is based in Medina, Ohio, and is one of the largest manufacturers of firefighter clothing in North America.
Quevedo and his colleagues worked with Fire-Dex to create a firefighter coat with a built-in drag and rescue device. The device is built into the firefighter jacket, allowing a downed firefighter to be dragged horizontally from a dangerous area by pulling on a strap from inside the coat.
The company had already been manufacturing such a coat, but it used someone elseâ€™s patented design, which meant they had to pay royalties to the patent owner. Fire-Dex wanted a patented drag and rescue jacket of their own.
When Quevedo joined the team, he was a bit hesitant, since the other two professors were seasoned professionals in functional apparel. â€œI was a bit nervous at the outset, but after working with them, I was able to contribute to the process,â€ says Quevedo. â€œComing from a different background, I brought a new set of eyes to the project design.â€
Quevedoâ€™s area of expertise is primarily aesthetics, but when it came to this project â€“ he not only focused on appearance but on safety and functionality. â€œOne of the challenges of the project was to balance the aesthetics with the obvious need for functionality,â€ says Quevedo. â€œFirefighters want a design that is based on the traditional look. I wanted to make it modern, but at the same time not too weird.â€
The road to a patent for firefighter apparel is a long one. In addition to the regular patent application process, designs for firefighter clothing must first be approved by the federal government, which sends the items to an independent testing lab. Once the teamâ€™s design was approved, they solicited feedback from potential customers. Refinements to the design were made based on that feedback.
Design patterns are especially important when working with fabrics such as Kevlar. â€œThese materials are very expensive, so having an efficient pattern that reduces waste is critical,â€ Quevedo says.
In 2009, Quevedo received the Inventor Recognition Award from Oklahoma State for his contribution to the development of the proprietary designs for the firefighter coat and pant.
Quevedo and his team now have three patents for firefighter apparel. Quevedo designed a seamless funnel collar for firefighter jackets that directs water away from the body. He also designed a firefighter pant with an improved knee pad and increased ease of movement.
Quevedoâ€™s designs represent an important contribution to the area of firefighter safety, as well as technological innovation. He is passionate about his work and sharing his knowledge through teaching. Though Quevedo is very busy with his classes at the School of Fashion Design and Merchandising and with his design work for outside clients, he hopes to secure another patent for his design work in the future.