Firefighter wins American Inventor
When Chavez presented his idea to the judges during the auditions, he hadn't won them all over (Pat Croce voted no) because he didn't have a working model; actually, his brilliant idea was only put on paper. But thanks to his passion and the fact that his idea could save lives if it worked, he got enough votes to not only become a San Francisco finalist but to end up in the Top 6.
Being in the Top 6 awarded him $50,000 and the chance to work with development and marketing teams. All teams in the Top 6 had four weeks to refine their invention. Once the deadline was reached, they had to make a final pitch, using their improved product, to the four judges: George Foreman, Pat Croce, Peter Jones and Sara Blakely.
Greg Chavez's presentation was impressive. His Guardian Angel Christmas tree fire suppression system was not only working (he had footage to prove it) but it was appealing to the eye (a nice angel to put on top of the tree and the system hidden in a fake Christmas gift). Thanks to his passion and dedication as well as a working product that could save lives, the judges selected him to move on to the Top 3.
The Top 3 consisted of Chavez and his Guardian Angel invention, Oklahoma school-teacher Ricky DeRennaux and his Custom Build Racers, and Tennessee realtor Elaine Cato and her 6-in-1 convertible brassiere. All three contestants secured deals with various companies in order to try to get their product on the market. So even if DeRennaux and Cato, who finished second, didn't win the million-dollar prize, they have the chance to see their product make it to the shelves.
If you've missed the finale (or the series' second season) or just want to learn more about the inventions seen throughout the show, visit ABC's American Inventor website.