Measure Once Cut Once Veteran Owned Business Spotlight:

Many have learned the hard lesson to “measure twice, cut once” while working on various projects on construction sites and even around the home. It has been time well spent to ensure measurements are accurate and now there is a way to bring the accuracy without spending the extra time on duplicating measurements for projects. Meet Michael Donnell, a Navy submarine veteran who exited the military as an E5 2nd Class Petty Officer. Donnell is also an entrepreneur and the inventor/founder of Measure Once Cut Once.

Michael was once charged with building a toy box for a furniture company out of walnut wood and, as we all know, once the cut is made in the substrate, there is no going back. It was from this experience that he started to focus on an idea to minimize errors and increase productivity for construction and other projects.

Measure Once Cut Once is an integration of a digital tape measure to the saw where you can measure the need for the cut and the saw adjusts exactly to the readings from the tape measure. Over the past 14 months, Donnell worked to develop the prototype and took his idea from a drawing in his garage to a functional and usable piece of equipment. He shared that he feels his military service helped him prepare to become an entrepreneur but also taught him to take responsibility. “In the military, you’re given a job and most of the time, you’re the only option for mission success or failure,” he explained, “It’s been the same with my business. It’s up to me if it succeeds or fails.”

Donnell enrolled in the Veteran Everyday Entrepreneur Program (VEEP) offered through the Utah Veteran Business Resource Center (VBRC) and then filed his idea for a patent. Donnell explained, “These are the two biggest things I learned from taking the VEEP class. First, regarding idea validation, how to pivot, punt or pass. You need to know that your idea can be better, and that feedback is vital to making revisions and refining your idea. Second, I learned how to properly pitch my product and to sell it with more confidence.” After graduating from VEEP, he then took his design to local design firms to develop his first prototype. He explained that he is most proud of overcoming the enormous amount of doubt he had when he first started out and said that it takes guts to ask, “Is this a good idea?” and then to act on the feedback you receive to improve your product.

Donnell shared that one of the best motivators he has is his fiancée who has been a big support and has encouraged him to speak up about what he’s doing. He also shared that another big motivator was discovering that he wasn’t the only one making mistakes and learned how to balance all of the hats he wears as the business owner. “The benefit of utilizing the VBRC is that you find the right people at the right time,” he said.

When asked about what resources he feels helped him get from the idea to where he is now, Donnell said, “It would have been impossible to go from zero miles-per-hour to now without the resources from the VBRC. They helped me build the airplane as we were going down the runway. This has been an exciting and fun project.” Donnell shared how the VBRC helped him with everything from registering his business license to finding any business resource he needed.

About Donnell’s progress, Richard Brown, Director of the VBRC, said, “Michael is a hard worker and is focused on what it takes to be successful. I am happy we were able to provide him with the resources he’s needed and that he has taken all the right steps. I know he will continue to see success as he works to grow his business.”

For the future of his industry, Donnell says that he hopes his company contributes to helping contractors get jobs done faster, make fewer mistakes, and produce less waste on job sites – ultimately lowering the costs to consumers for construction work being done. Currently, his prototype is for a home builder’s micro saw but Donnell says he plans to expand his technology to different tools including table and tile saws. “I have a dream to take this to the next tool and intend to put in the hard work to grow Measure Once Cut Once from here.”

You can find Measure Once Cut Once online at https://measureoncecutonce.com/ and watch the prototype demo video here: https://youtu.be/gFP-g6jNZ0M.


To work with the Utah Veteran Business Resource Center on your business, contact Becky at: [email protected] or call 801-957-3670