Brad Baxter

Founder and President of Automated Pet Care Products Inc. in Pontiac. The company was founded in 1999 to create a new automatic self-cleaning litter box. The Litter-Robot made its market debut in April 2000. Made from recyclable plastics and industrial grade components, the Litter-Robot is sold online at the company's website, Amazon, and SkyMall, and in Canada, Mexico, Europe, and Japan. Previously, Baxter was president of Intensa Technologies and an engineer at Ford Motor Co. After inheriting two cats, he came up with the idea for an automated litter box. Now, the company has growing sales, 20 employees, and a warehouse with a 32,000-square-foot fulfillment center in Juneau, Wis. Baxter was named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist in the Central Great Lakes region. He has incorporated a green initiative to offer pet owners eco-friendly pet care products, such as the new ECO Unit Litter-Robot that uses 100 percent recycled plastics in 84 percent of its plastic components. Automated Pet Care Products supports the National Wildlife Federation and donated a portion of its profits to help animals impacted by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010. Baxter received his bachelor's degree in engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

WHERE BORN: “Stevens Point, Wis.”

MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS: “My parents, grandparents, and high school math teacher. My parents were of a generation that was willing to let me be independent at a young age, when people didn't worry so much about their kids and there was a certain level of independence that you had to earn. I learned independence was something I loved to have and my dad always challenged me to go one step further. People give up too quickly now. There's always another way.”

LAST BOOK READ:The Wave by Susan Casey.”

WORDS THAT DESCRIBE ME: “Independent, curious, ethical, competitive, tenacious, creative.”

WHERE MY FIELD/INDUSTRY IS HEADED: “We're in a niche area of the pet industry. We supply and manufacture high-tech litter boxes. We also have about three other projects that we're working on now. High-tech gadgets are becoming more popular and the size of the pet industry has almost doubled in the past 10 years. The other trend is that retail in general will be going through an upheaval in the next few years with online. The advent of comparison shopping will really change the landscape. We're in the position to embrace that change and work with it.”

FAVORITE TECHNOLOGICAL GADGET: “I'm not a big gadget guy. We use the most up-to-date tools in our business but I'm more than happy to put them down. I'm really interested in older mechanical devices that have been patented throughout the years.”


FAVORITE HOBBIES: “Fooling around with my classic car and motorcycles. That's what my wife calls it. Also, anything with my three daughters.”

FAVORITE FOOD: “Anything with lots of spice and the key is that it's prepared for me. Anyone willing to cook for me, [their creation] will be my favorite food.”

MY HIDDEN TALENT: “I've played guitar and sang for quite a long time.”

HOW I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED: “As generous and having a positive impact on family, friends, and employees. One long-term goal is to start a product design or technical trade school in the Pontiac area. I have a vision for a curriculum and would try to influence something like that. That could be my legacy.”