Geneseo alumnus David Guillot does not consider himself an inventor. Have one look at the unique contraption he has created, however, and you might think differently.
"I've always had this idea since I was a kid and that fire never went out," said Guillot, who graduated in 1999. The easy to transport, foldable device is a human-sized sail that catches wind to propel its user forward, whether using it on ice with a snowboard or on cement with a skateboard.
Guillot, originally from Eastern France, moved to the United States with his parents at the age of nine, and has moved often since then until settling in Geneseo.
"When college time came, I visited Geneseo and I loved it," said Guillot, noting that the environment of Geneseo was somewhat similar to that of his native France. Guillot has purchased houses in the village, where he currently resides, and on Conesus Lake, both of which he partially rents out seasonally.
"I like being around college students," he said. "It keeps me young."
In his spare time, Guillot has taken up transcendental meditation and enjoys chess, reading and visiting Kelly's Saloon.
While in school, Guillot studied biology, which has proven helpful in the inventing process.
"The fact that [biology] is a science definitely helped…it didn't matter what field I was in, just the fact that it involved thinking and problem solving," he said. Guillot now works full-time for Bausch & Lomb in Rochester as a chemical technician.
Guillot originally thought of the idea for the personal sail at age 15.
"I made my first prototype from tent poles and garbage bags sewn together," he said. Guillot didn't pursue the actual manufacture of the skating sail until about seven years ago. Since then, his invention has taken him to trade shows, including the International Toy Fair in New York City.
"It was the first time I got to show the product off to the public and get a reaction," Guillot said. The positive feedback from the toy fair caused Guillot to order the first 100 units of the skate sail, which are now sold at Swain Sports on Main Street.
Guillot will be attending an inventors fair in Las Vegas in the near future, and hopes eventually for his product to be licensed to a larger manufacturer. He maintains a Web site with video demonstrations of his sail at www.sailskating.com.