About

THE BEGINNING

CAT-5-Logo-200x150The CAT-5 Hurricane Net began as an idea by Engineering Express owner Frank Bennardo PE to cover an entire house with an open mesh fabric.  After witnessing the 2004 storm season damage to homes which extended far beyond windows and doors, it was apparent that a product needed to be created to do more- protect and hold down roofs, mobile homes, sheds, signs, boats, etc.

With the idea and calculations in hand, Frank contacted his then client Michael Madden, a prominent owner of a manufacturing company of storm shutters at the time (see Madden Manufacturing) with the idea to sell the rights to the concept to him.

Mike Maddens home after the CAT 5 Net saved from damage

Mike Madden’s home after the CAT 5 Net saved it from damage. Note the damage to the home that wasn’t protected.

As ‘luck’ would have it, more storms were approaching in 2005 and Mike owned a manufactured home in Hutchinson Island, ground zero for Hurricane Jeanne, then only days away from striking.  Mike called Frank and gave him his ‘big chance’ to cover his home for the storm.  Frank and his team leaped into action to create the first Hurricane Net of its kind.

The home was saved, only 1 of 3 on the island to have survived, and CAT-5 Inc, was born.

The biggest problem with the installation was that the fabric needed to be ‘cut to size’ and ‘extended to fit’, which spawned ideas and testing to perfect a cutting and clamping system and a patent-able modular approach to the netting’s design.

 

COMPANY GROWTH

The company received numerous Miami Dade, Florida, and Texas product approvals after extensive research and testing and the owner’s went on to patent the system (see below).

The product was picked up by then ASI Building Products (which was later bought out by Lansing Building Products) and containers of product were shipped and sold across the country.

The concept of a do-it-yourself net to cover an entire house caught the attention of national media and Mike Madden rose to the occasion, deploying multiple air boats to simulate hurricane force winds on a house covered with the Net.  See that incredible footage below, airing on ABC, NBC, and CBS nationally as well as Inside Edition, a popular nationwide entertainment news show at the time.

(2007) Mike Madden And Frank Bennardo, along with Steve Madden and Charlie Johnson whom we will always miss.

(2007) Mike Madden And Frank Bennardo, along with Steve Madden and Charlie Johnson whom we will always miss.

 

Installations spawned nationally and internationally, receiving requests to cover all sorts of different items exposes to weather, from protecting livestock in Nebraska to covering boats, signs, trailers, planes, and more, in not only wind but protecting against snow and sun.  Installations spawned from Hawaii to Puerto Rico. A favorite was when the team traveled to an installation on Bourbon Street in New Orleans (photo below).

Numerous other examples of installations appear below.

 

COMPANY FATE

With an unprecedented run of no hurricanes striking Florida since 2005 (and counting as of the writing of this article), combined with the recession and closure of ASI Building Products, orders for the Net dwindled and the owners dispersed to other interests.

 

Many have replicated the technologies learned from the research on the CAT-5 Net and the decision was made not to pursue potential patent infringements and close the company in December 2014.

CAT-5 Installation on Historic Bourbon Street

CAT-5 Installation on Historic Bourbon Street

 

The company’s website was replaced with this article in 2017 to commemorate the last box of product sold.

homepage

Cat-5 Hurricane Net Website retired April 2017 after 12 years in service.

Accolades

PRESS

Some of the product’s vast press accomplishes include:

The CAT-5 received national attention after numerous appearances on Inside Edition

CBS affiliates picked up the story, as did ABC and others (additional footage not available)

Numerous product approvals were received including:

Miami Dade NOA 08-0314.07

Texas Department of Insurance Approval

Florida Product Approvals 7625, 8220, and 9023

..And of course our United States Patent 7726081

 

 

Selected Print Highlights (click to view them in their entirety)

 

Industry Profile

Industry Profile, Offers first view of the product

 

 

This Old House

Write-up on This Old House

 

 

Cat-5 Brochure

One of many Cat-5 Brochures

The Technology

Watch a CAT-5 Net Test:

Here’s the full instruction on how to install the NET:

 

Excerpts from the installation guide to explain the product:

PROTECTED5-protected_house12- net_connection

Highlight Images

CAT-5

Restaurant Before

Restaurant After

Signs

Boats

Billboards

Carports

Light Admitting

Manufactured Homes

Rooftop Structures

Trade Show