Marcos Gonzalez ('10, '12 M.S.) protects the grounds used by Dak Prescott, Roger Federer and the Mean Green sports teams.
Gonzalez is the co-inventor of OmniDeck, a mat used to cover the surface of an athletic facility when it hosts concerts, graduation ceremonies and other events. The mat, engineered and manufactured by Flower Mound-based Signature Systems Group, is used at sports arenas around the country, including Arthur Ashe Stadium, the home of tennis' U.S. Open. AT&T Stadium, where the Dallas Cowboys play, uses a similar product, ArmorDeck, made by Signature Systems.
And, this fall, OmniDeck will be installed at UNT's newly opened Lovelace and McNatt Families Practice Facility.
"It's just been cool to go around to these places," says Gonzalez, a product engineer. He doesn't get to meet the athletes, but he gets goosebumps being there. "Whoa, this is the same court that Roger Federer is playing on."
Gonzalez, who grew up in Lewisville, became interested in engineering as a senior in high school when he took a computer-aided drafting class. After graduating from UNT with a degree in mechanical engineering technology, he first worked on 18-wheeler layouts as a release engineer for Denton-based trucking manufacturer Peterbilt. Then he designed and fixed replacement plumbing parts as a product engineer for Danco, an Irving-based plumbing repair supplier. Danco paid for his master's degree in engineering systems. He joined Signature Systems, and current boss and OmniDeck co-inventor Chad Jones, in 2016.
Signature creates mats for events and industrial sites, such as oil fields or other large construction sites. Signature's product, ArmorDeck is installed in one direction. So Gonzalez and Jones invented OmniDeck, a structural foam-molded, high-density polyethylene that, like a jigsaw puzzle, can be placed in four different directions for faster and simpler installation.
As an engineer, Gonzalez says he enjoys the opportunity to be innovative.
"I don't think there is a day that I have worked," he says, "when I have not learned something new."