LONG BEACH -- A Long Beach businessman has launched a new venture that takes waste from other industries and turns it into a bio-based absorbent.
Keith Fulton, along with his college roommate, Paul Steinle, created Tackl Technologies to produce, market and distribute their product, TACKL, at a Long Beach Industrial Park plant. The absorbent could be used for any hazardous materials spills, as well as an oil cleanup product.
Fulton said Steinle invested in a company that held the patent on the product. When that company became insolvent in 2012, Fulton and Steinle bought the patent and began working on what is now Tackl Technologies.
Fulton said the absorbent is 98 percent comprised of waste product from agriculture and forestry industries, making a green product that he said is superior to the clay absorbents now on the market.
"There are several things we're going to do that will provide environmentally sound solutions," Fulton said of the future of the company.
The production plant is a 30,000-square-foot building in the industrial park.
"I love the Gulf Coast, and I didn't want to be away from it," Fulton said of the decision to base the company in Long Beach. His partner is in Arkansas and his distributor is in Texas.
"I wanted to create some work opportunities for people in Mississippi. Plus, I've got childhood friends who are experts in their fields who have helped me and that has created some synergy."
Tackl Technologies employs eight people either full or part-time, with a goal of 10 employees down the line.
One of the hallmarks of the business is that Fulton is working with AbilityWorks Inc., a division of the state Department of Human Services, to package the products for commercial sale.
Tackl also is partnering with the Lighthouse for the Blind in San Antonio, Texas, to distribute the product to the government through its exclusive distributorship agreement. Lighthouse sells primarily to the Department of Defense, Defense Logistics Agency and will be added this year to the federal procurement list for all federal agencies and departments.
Fulton said he has been involved with AbilityWorks since the 1980s and will be training more than 100 people annually at the plant, with the potential for some of those trainees to stay on permanently.
"We are in production now; we started earlier this year, about March," Fulton said. "We'll be on the (federal) procurement list July 9.
"It's been being purchased, but in small quantities."
Fulton said that Lighthouse estimates, based on their past procurement records, that Tackl could do 8.5 million pounds of product in three-year maturity curve.
Based on those numbers, Fulton said his economic impact could be at least $1 million in a year's time.