At last year's BYU’s graduation ceremonies, the commencement speaker told students that “the choices you make will make all of the difference in what you want to achieve.” While most graduating students at Brigham Young University are preparing to go on summer vacation, work at internships, or apply for jobs, Scott Walker will be busy operating and growing his unique technology business.
While he was a marketing major, Walker invented waterproof electronic gadgets such as headphones, earphones, and iPod Shuffles. Walker’s innovative use of sealants, plastics, and proprietary sealing processes has earned him recognition as a promising entrepreneur.
Walker says he got the idea for his invention as a member of his high school swimming team back in Oregon. “I swam in high school on the swim team. I still swim for exercise,” Walker told the Daily Herald. Fittingly, the vast majority of his customers are swimmers and his business is seeing exponential growth. Walker soon plans to offer more waterproof Apple products in Canada, Australia, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
“Most of our customers are older, middle-aged people who swim more than once a day -- maybe triathletes -- people who are very active and are trying to take the edge off their exercise,” he said. “It also motivates people. We have lots of people who say they never could get themselves to go to the pool because they wanted to do something like listen to the next chapter in their books.”
In Provo, Underwater Audio, the name of Walker’s business, was recently named as the No. 1 student-run business by Utah Student 25, an organization that recognizes student entrepreneurs across the state of Utah. “It was nice to receive recognition for all the hard work,” Walker told the Marriott School of Business. “Winning this competition has opened all kinds of doors for me,” said the Oregon native.
The waterproof devices enable users to bring their music or favorite audio book to the water. Using proprietary technology, the company seals fourth and fifth generation Apple devices from the inside out. The liquid-proof iPod Shuffles are routinely tested beyond 200 feet in salt, fresh, and chlorinated water.
Walker is pioneering a breakthrough technology in an emerging market. He says Underwater Audio has the No. 2 market share in the industry. “I spend every spare moment working on Underwater Audio,” Walker says. “But I feel like I have a balanced life. It’s busy, but I enjoy it.”
Each year, users spend millions of dollars to replace expensive electronics damaged by water intrusion into sensitive internal parts. Walker hopes that his waterproof products will add value to the marketplace by reducing replacement costs for music lovers such as surfers, divers, beachgoers, and others who find activity near the water.
At the banquet held by Utah Student 25, Walker was able to network with several business entities. He hopes one of his contacts can help take his company to the next level. About 3,000 students are enrolled in the Marriott School’s graduate and undergraduate programs.
At the formal event, 25 businesses were selected based on revenue and profitability. “Applicants were required to be in a management position, be full-time students, have their company’s financial accounts up-to-date and own a significant percentage of the company,” according to the school.
“These students are inspiring and deserve this recognition,” says John Richards, event founder and assistant director of the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology. “Starting out in business takes many sacrifices. The gala was an opportunity for us to pay tribute to these innovative students.”