Published: Sept. 6, 2019
chris woodruff last drop wrench
Last drop wrench

Meet Chris Woodruff, the Chief Experience Officer with Last Drop Wrench. Chris graduated from CU Boulder in 2001 with a degree in English and later received a Masters in Real Estate Development at Auburn University and an MBA from Clemson.

While pursuing his MBA, Chris met Steven Owens, now the CEO of Last Drop Wrench. They had classes together and quickly realized they had a shared an interest in cars. Fast-forward two years and they’re now working to launch Last Drop Wrench, an endeavor they’re undertaking outside of their full-time careers.

The idea

Steven’s first job was wrenching on cars in the pit of a car dealership. Thanks to an oil change promotion, Steven completed 84 oil changes during his first four days on the job. Then he quit. Why? As Steven put it, “You know, there’s something really unappealing about willingly subjecting your hands to scalding oil… over and over… 84 times was my limit.”  That’s exactly what he experienced when each filter was changed. It was a problem. 

The problem never left his head - he thought about it in college and in grad school he started working on a design and a prototype.

The partnership

In 2018, Steven pitched Last Drop Wrench in his capstone MBA course and on the same day found out he was a semifinalist for SEMA Launchpad, a funding competition for new innovative automotive aftermarket products.

Steven is a mechanical engineer by trade and needed help with his pitch, marketing, and operations. His first call was to Chris, an english major from the south with a “gift for gab.” Chris wrapped his duties as the COO and CMO into a role as Chief Experience Officer. Launching a startup company and a new product into the marketplace is not a one man show.

"Success starts with the right team. Chris had recently left corporate America to begin his own company, a real estate development firm. Not only did he understand the nuances of building a company, but he was a natural salesman – he could sell water to a whale.” - Steven Owens, CEO of Last Drop Wrench

With Chris’s branding and marketing direction, Last Drop Wrench became a finalist in the 2018 SEMA Launchpad competition and was awarded the opportunity to exhibit at SEMA, the world’s largest automotive conference to develop their market position and conduct customer discovery.

Next month, Last Drop Wrench is launching 100 wrenches to their test market and has letters of intent for nearly 1,200 units.

Advice to students

“Be flexible but resolute… and just get out there and do it… the worst that will happen is that you’ll learn a lesson.” 

Chris says entrepreneurs always have a picture in their head of what success looks like, but due to a lack of experience most don’t know that there’s a long, hard road ahead. “Nothing ever happens in the way you expected it to or on the timeline you expected it to."

How you can help

Last Drop Wrench is a finalist in the SEMA Launchpad competition next month. Vote for them and help them bring Last Drop Wrench to market!

Click here to vote by September 8, 2019.


More Deming News

NVL team NextUse pitching their company

Applications are Open for Spring 2023 New Venture Launch Class

Are you launching a business? Worked at a startup? Want expert advice to grow your business? Apply for Leeds’ New Venture Launch (NVL) class and learn what it takes to run a successful business while getting the chance to win up to $25,000. Led by the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship...

Alumni Spotlight: Ben Finan - Delta Horizons
Alumni Spotlight: Ben Finan - Delta Horizons
RCWS participants standing in front of The Annex sign
Local Business Owners Determined 'What’s Next' at Demystifying Entrepreneurship in Northeast Colorado
creative distillation
Creative Distillation Podcast Wraps Up Season 3 Talking Boulder vs. Boston Beer, Research Relevance