Easy as Pi: Alum Hopes Pie Pan Leads to Sweet Success
When Garrett Heath realized such a product didn't exist, he took matters into his own hands.
Written by Megan Ketterer
Pi or pie? With today (March 14) being celebrated around the nation as Pi Day, these homophones can be confusing, especially when baking pies is a popular way to celebrate the famous mathematical constant.
A Texas Tech University alumnus decided to combine these words and create something for everyone to enjoy on Pi Day: a Pi Pie Pan, a pan in the shape of the pi symbol designed for baking pies.
“It’s a fun way for people to show off being a little geeky while enjoying to cook,” said Garrett Heath, creator of the pan. “There’s no better way to make a pie on Pi Day than to have a pi-shaped pan.”
Heath graduated in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and then again in 2005 with a master’s degree in industrial engineering. Five years after graduating, he said he had the idea of the pi pan, and after conducting a little research, realized a pan like that didn’t exist.
He found that there were many pi plates, which used aluminum foil or circular pie pans with 3.14 printed etched on, but there was nothing in the shape of the pi symbol.
“I dusted off some of my Texas Tech AutoCAD inventor skills and made some quick sketches of my ideas, showed some friends and then refined them over time,” Heath said.
Garrett Heath graduated from Texas Tech in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and again in 2005 with a master’s in the same department.
Geeks, Cooks, Great Idea
While working on the Pi Pie Pan, Heath worked at his own start-up company and then changed jobs to work in San Antonio at Rackspace, where he currently works as a content marketer. Heath also maintains a food blog called www.saflavor.com.
In the beginning of the creation process, Heath explained his idea of the pi pan to two friends. They helped with design and manufacturing, while he focused on marketing the product.
When deciding who would want to purchase the Pi Pie Pan, Heath and his business partners thought interest would come from a specific market.
“We made a Venn diagram and we said there are geeks and then there are cooks, but there’s also an intersection of people who are both geeks and cooks,” he said. “That cross-section of people would really enjoy the pi pan.”
After three years in the creative and manufacturing process, the Pi Pie Pan officially launched in the summer of 2013, so this is the first Pi Day to have an official pi pan to celebrate with.
“I haven’t made a proper pie yet because I usually cook brownies or cornbread in it, but I am definitely going to use the Pi Pie Pan on March 14,” Heath said. “It would be an impossibility to not take advantage of the product.”
To learn more about the product or to order a Pi Pie Pan, visit www.pipiepan.com.
Getting to know Garrett Heath
What is your favorite spot on campus?
There’s a strip that starts from the main entrance on Broadway that goes toward Doak Hall where there are the Glenna Goodacre statues. To me, it’s one of the prettiest spots to walk by. It feels old school.
What is your favorite Texas Tech Tradition?
I was in the Goin’ Band from Raiderland. I love when the Goin’ Band comes out of the tunnel and the drum majors go down the field as the band is marching toward the field.
What do you love most about being a Red Raider?
I attended when things were really starting to change on campus. It was cool to be on campus while all of the changes were occurring. Now, I love the network and community of people. It’s nice whenever you bump into someone who went to Texas Tech.
What is one word you would use to describe yourself?
What is your favorite Texas Tech memorabilia?
When I was younger, my family would go to football games a lot because we lived in Lubbock. My brother and I were each given $5 and I would always buy a program, because it would always have one of cartoonist Dirk West’s drawings in it. It always had Raider Red with whomever we were playing. I still have a stack of the programs.
What advice would you give to current Texas Tech students?
The best part about college is that you’re learning on your own and learning how to apply it. Stay active on campus and be involved. Get out of your major and do all sorts of different things.