THE inventor of a world-first product set to be manufactured in Marcoola overcame a brain injury he acquired from a car crash 15 years ago to succeed in the "biggest achievement" of his life.
After working in the construction industry in the 1990s and noticing many homes, particularly units, were being designed without eaves, Andrew Cottle designed a window shield that stops rain entering open sliding windows.
But in 2001, one day before he was due to sign a contract with a Melbourne-based manufacturer, a drunk driver hit the car he was travelling in, changing his life forever.
The impact caused whiplash so severe that the then 31-year-old slipped into a coma that lasted two weeks and when he woke he didn't know who he was or where he was.
"All I can remember at the time was this immense amount of pain," he said.
He had forgotten how to walk, talk, feed himself and tie his shoelaces.
He also couldn't finalise the deal with the company and the opportunity slipped away.
Over the past 15 years Mr Cottle has rehabilitated with the help of physiotherapists, acupuncturists and a host of allied health professionals, friends and family.
He found a company - Haigh - that would manufacture his world-first protective, ventilating window covering and visited its Marcoola factory last week.
The idea for the Window WeatherGuard came to Mr Cottle while he was employed as a commercial estimator on the Gold Coast in the 1990s.
"We were regularly repairing water damage to the inside of homes and units due to windows be left open in wet weather," he said.
"We all love fresh air and so in many cases we take the chance while we are at work or down the beach for the day and leave our windows open - that feeling of coming home to a hot stinking house is something we all like to avoid."
His invention was designed to combat climate change and stop rain entering sliding windows but it has a bigger purpose.
The Surfer's Paradise man is passionate about supporting Australian jobs and had searched for years for a company that would not only invest in his product, but also manufacture it here.
"It's an Australian innovation and it should be made here," he said.
"It creates jobs, it creates business and industry. How proud are countries when there's something they do extremely well?
"It's something that we need more of."
With eight new jobs in the pipeline at Marcoola-based Haigh Australia's Protective Plastics, Melbourne's loss is the Sunshine Coast's gain.
Asked what advice he had for aspiring entrepreneurs, Mr Cottle said if he could achieve his goals while living with an acquired brain injury, anyone else could achieve theirs.
"Keep the faith. You are the engine room of your idea and innovation," he said.
"Understand the market and its needs. Be realistic and never say never!"