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Tarp Tow
Alumnus Mark Arnurius invented Tarp Tow to help cut back on the hours of yard work involved in things such as tree limb removal, seen here.

It has long been said that necessity is the mother of invention.

Thanks to the necessity of a UT College of Engineering graduate, people doing yard work the world over could save hours.

Mark Arnurius was frustrated with how long it was taking him to clear refuse from trimmed trees and bushes when inspiration struck.

“We’ve got tons of trees and shrubs at our place, and they grow about four to five feet in the course of a summer,” said Arnurius, a 2004 alumnus of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

“It would take me a day and a half just to get one side of the yard done.”

Arnurius said the main problem came in hauling off the material.

After breaking an overloaded wheelbarrow, he took the common route of using a plastic sheet to haul away the yard waste.

“I was in the middle of doing that when it dawned on me that I had just bought a new mower—so why not use it to pull the pile?” said Arnurius, a Knoxville native. “It came completely out of a practical need.

It also came thanks to his UT experience.

Arnurius sketched and tested a device—now called Tarp Tow—to easily hook the sheets onto a mower using techniques he’d learned in college, including 3D modeling.

After getting his design exactly how he wanted it, he began the long process of applying for a patent, an undertaking that tested both his skill and patience.

“People don’t realize it, but just writing up a patent, getting it to where it meets their code before they even begin to review, it takes months,” said Arnurius. “I’m really blessed that I learned how to draw designs at UT, because they get really particular about how you have to do it.”

With his patent now approved and set to be posted on August 26, he has now turned his sights on rolling out his product.

“It’s a really long process, but I kept relying on the confidence I built in myself while studying at Tennessee,” Arnurius said. “I would have never been able to do what I’m doing without UT.”

Arnurius, whose wife, Marsha, is a UT College of Law graduate, has set up a manufacturing floor and researched the best way to sell his invention, deciding to turn it into a web-based business instead of selling through stores so he can better control his costs and expenses.

Anyone wishing to view his product can do so by visiting Tarp Tow’s website.

C O N T A C T :

David Goddard (865-974-0683,