In 1983 Mike Loveless had a problem. He absolutely loved his coal and wood burning fireplace but cleaning it was a pain. He tried cleaning it with a shovel and a bucket but as he took the ashes out of the house the plume of dust would get on the floor and all over the furniture. This was a problem and his history and nature of being a diesel mechanic on big heavy machines gave him assurance that he could solve this simple problem. Mike challenged himself to taking on the task of solving a problem that has existed for thousands of years. Mike worked as a diesel mechanic for a coal fired power plant and within these plants they have big bag houses for controlling all the ash they generate. During an overhaul of the plant they were getting rid of some of the old filters. Mike asked if he could buy them and he did which started his journey to "making a better mouse trap".
For the next 5 years Mike and Colleen Loveless lived in a small house in Price, UT, during which they had a couple kids with the motto "work hard, play hard". During this time Mike would work on a method for extracting the ash from his fireplace. The very first ash vacuum ever invented was a 55 gallon drum with a set of fiberglass filters that sat on the outside of the house with 2 hoses coming into the house. An Electrolux vacuum was hooked to one hose which drew the air in from the drum, and the filter system created a vacuum on the other hose in the house, which was used to suck the ash from the fireplace through the filters and into the drum. Then clean air was drawn back in the Electrolux vacuum. After a season of using this Mike's mom wanted one. Then his brother. Next the neighbors all wanted one and Mike and Colleen thought they might be on to something. In 1988, Mike turned the 55 gallon drum into a portable 35 gallon drum with the same concept and decided to go on the road selling.
In 1989 the "short cut ash vacuum" was invented and was only 10 gallons (down from the 15 gallons previous). This model still needed a house vacuum to hook to the top to act as a motor for the filtering system. Mike applied for a patent for the vacuum and filter system which he was awarded.
Also in 1989 Mike and Colleen went to their first trade show. They went with Mike's cousin Dal Hills because he had much more experience in sales and at the show someone asked "Do you sell to dealers?" Mike was floored by the question as he was contemplating why and what connection drug dealers and vacuums had in common. Dal stepped in and responded "Yes, we sure do" as he educated Mike on the vacuum dealer network.
In 1990 The cheetah ash vacuum was introduced as a model that had "its own motor" on top of the unit. It was still 10 gallons.
In 1993 the business had grown bigger than their 1 car garage could handle. Over 100 units had sold and it was time to expand. The problem is they needed the 1 car garage to keep building vacuums so they decided to build a bigger garage over the top of the 1 car garage. It was 1650 square feet and 30' x 36'.
Business was still growing and while Mike went to work at the power plant during the day, Colleen would answer phones. Spencer and Mika (2 kids, 10yrs and 5yrs) answered phones, "Love-Less Ash. This is Mika", and vendors voices would be stumped for a while.
In 1995 business was growing even more and need to expand again. Mike found a 6000sf old building on the other side of town and all he and colleen could afford to offer was 25% of the asking price. Crazy enough... They took it!
In 1997 the Dustless 16001 Wet/dry and Drywall Vac were added. The filtering system on the ash vacuums worked so well with the super fine ash, Mike decided "I can build a better mouse trap" and started working on improving his "shop vac". He took the 5 things he hated about his shop vac and incorporated his knowledge into making a better vacuum. In 1997, the fist "Dustless" wet dry vacuum was introduced. This took a few years to perfect but worked TONS better than anything on the market.
In 1998 Mike and Colleen attended many trade shows to show their products.
In 1999 Mike was working on improving the ash vacuum. One Saturday he went out hunting Elk in the mountains when he was stalked by a cougar. His story is amazing and can be found at the end of this page. Needless to say he named the "quiet" ash vacuum after the Cougar that stalked him and the name fit in the ash vacuum family.
The need for finer dust control started in 2000 and Mike had a vision for what was happening. He invented the turbo drywall sander for sanding drywall as well as a HEPA vacuum. HEPA was very new to the market but Mike could see the writing on the wall. Sales were very slow for many years on that vacuum until the market started to catch up with the Dustless Technologies that he was coming out with.
In 2004 Mike and Colleen had outgrown their 6000sf building and decided to mortgage the house and all their savings (for the 4th time) and build a bigger building. In 2005 the 18,000sf building was finished and ready to move in.
In 2006 Dust was becoming a bigger issue in the US, so Mike and Colleen decided to venture in the dust shroud business. Dustless Technologies was becoming a bigger part of the business and by this time the ash vacuum competitors had entered the market making bringing its own challenges. By this time their oldest son Spencer had joined the business after graduating from college. Spencer worked for the next 2 years alongside Mike in his office designing and inventing many types of shrouds for many of the big tool manufacturers, for drilling, grinding, cutting, sanding, and any application that created dust.
The company was about 25 employees at this time and has had so many key employees that helped tremendously along the path. Without so many of these it would not be the company it is.
The end of 2008 was a huge challenge for the company. Mike flew to Denver Colorado in his Cessna 182 for the STAFDA trade show and a few days later on November 11th, Mike was flying home to Utah and went down in the mountains. Mike unfortunately was killed in the accident and left a HUGE void in the company.
With the passing of Mike, Colleen and Spencer knew they had to continue Mike's dreams. They, along with the other employees, continued to build a great company that has continued the vision of Mike and excelled in "Innovating Dust Control Solutions".
In 2010 the company had made and developed a LARGER variety of products as you see on the website. It continues to innovate and be the leader in Dustless Technologies in the dust market. It has built product for and worked with almost all of the major tool Manufacturers such as Milwaukee, Bosch, Hilti, DeWalt and many of the larger and smaller retail locations. Products today are not sold at a table at the county fair, but all across the world.
We are often asked where we get the names for our products. Sometimes it is a little tough to come up with the right name! The following is how the name of "Cougar" Quiet Ash Vac came to be. This is an experience that Mike Loveless, the vice president and originator of our company, had in 1998, in the mountains about 20 minutes from our company offices in Price, Utah.
The following true experience from the 1998 archery deer hunt will last in my mind forever. August 22, 1998 was the opening of the archery deer hunt for the state of Utah. I have always enjoyed being in the mountains. The morning air was fresh and crisp. The smell of pine, the feel and music that the wind makes going through the trees was enough to make me forget all the challenges and stresses of everyday life. That is why I hunt!
The afternoons are cool and often raining. The pure smell of the air after a rainstorm can in no way be duplicated. Your senses are all centered on the hunt and the adrenaline rush when you spook up a nice buck deer or hear a majestic elk bugle in the evening is awesome. There are some things that money just can't buy!
On this particular afternoon with bow in hand, I was up on Bruin Point looking for deer sign in the bottom of a steep canyon where a small stream meandered through the rocks and clay terrain. I have seen on numerous occasions, bears in this area because there are a large variety of berries. The terrain seems to be just what they like. I have had no doubt that cougars are quite plentiful here. Usually either one of these predators will smell or hear you well before you get close enough to know that they are around. They will usually leave the area in ample time to let you pass harmlessly by.
I was coming up out of the steep bottom and suddenly froze in my tracks as I heard something behind me. Slowly I turned and just about dropped dead in my tracks as there in the trail behind me was a full grown mountain lion right smack dab in the middle of the same trail that I had just covered — and only 5-6 yards away! Pulling my eyeballs back into their sockets and gathering my senses, I yelled, "Get out of here you "SOB"... while waving my arms and bow up and down. (At times like this, you don't have time to choose your words for telling the story later.) Well that didn't work! The only thing that big cat did was breath a little harder. It was then that I noticed his tail came up and started to wave back and forth!
Now I haven't been around big cats like this very much but I could see that our meeting was quickly turning into nothing more than a game of cat and mouse. I was getting really worried who the mouse was going to be — me. Without stopping to think about it, I took an arrow out of my quiver and knocked it. I hooked up my release and never took my eyes off of those of the big feline. The only thing I kept thinking was "Mike you want to make a good shot on this one, it might be your last." Being alone, the last think I wanted to do was to have a wounded mountain lion turn on me! I pulled back the bow and took just a little longer to aim. I let the arrow fly, hitting him right through the throat. As the cat took off, I took a couple of steps back to watch which way he ran. I was very grateful that he did run. The cat ran about 30 yards and ended up side down under a tree with his feet straight up in the air. It was then that I noticed that I was shaking all over. I knocked an arrow, for just in case, and went up to the animal. I kept thinking, "If he is playing possum, I don't want any part of this game." I poked him with the arrow and he didn't move. I sat down thinking about what might have been and just how close I had come to death. That didn't help me at all. After about 10 minutes I felt better and went to find my friends.
I found out later that cats always attack from behind. Their jaws are so strong that they can separate your vertebrae and paralyze you. I am glad that I didn't know that at the time or I might have been more nervous.
I reported the incident to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) on Saturday. On Sunday, I took Officer Allen Green back to the place where I had my hair-raising experience. Allen confirmed that he was a tom measuring 6'11" and estimated it to be a younger animal, probably 2-3 years old. When Allen saw where the cat had been and where I had been standing, his comment was, "you are lucky you are a good shot."
Life will never be the same for me! "Life Is Good!"
We at Love-Less Ash Company were trying to find a name for our new Quiet Ash Vacuum and where we already had a Cheetah Ash Vac, we decided to keep with a big cat name. We came to the conclusion that the name COUGAR QUIET ASH VACUUM, would be a fitting name. Thus you can see how product names can come to be made.