LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - It quickly absorbs oil spills, is manufactured locally and provides job training for disabled workers. That is the business plan for Tackl Technologies in Long Beach. And this already successful business is expecting extraordinary growth.
Keith Fulton serves up a cocktail of used motor oil. That's the best way to show guests how his patented product "Tackl" out-absorbs the competition, a widely used clay-based absorbent. The proof is in the oily pudding which remains on the competition's platter.
"Five hundred percent more effective absorbent than the standard clay people use," said a smiling Fulton.
He and his partner bought the patent two years ago, then converted a warehouse at the Long Beach Industrial Park into a manufacturing facility.
"This is a building that was vacant for many years, before Keith and them came in here and bought it and renovated the building and brought this business to Long Beach. It's a great opportunity, not only for Long Beach, but the county also, and the whole Gulf Coast," said Rep. Richard Bennett.
The raw product leaves the factory in 800 pound "super sacks." The workers then take that raw product and create much smaller packages to be marketed and sold.
And that introduces the other unique aspect of this absorbing business profile: The workforce. Tackl Technologies provides jobs and job training for the disabled, working with Lighthouse for the Blind in Texas and Ability Works in Harrison County.
"It fosters our mission, which is to provide independence to people who are blind or visually impaired. Our people are back right now, bagging bags as we speak, sealing them up and sending out orders," said Bob Buckley, with Lighthouse for the Blind of San Antonio, Texas.
"We'll be using the packaging line as real work experience as we're training our clients to give them the skills to re-enter the workforce," said David Marks, with Ability Works of Harrison County.
Thanks to its affiliation with Lighthouse for the Blind, the product is now on the federal procurement list; meaning hundreds of federal agencies may soon be cleaning up their messes with material made in Long Beach.
The absorbent material is made with products from the food and forest industries. Ingredients include wood particles from saw mill operations, along with rice and oat shavings from food manufacturers.