Employee buys ballistic concrete factory here

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If experience is key to small business success, then newly-formed MOUT Solutions, a shock-absorbing concrete company, will grow quickly.

Mark Fulford and his wife, Linda, founded the company earlier this year after purchasing the concrete production facility from Ballistics Technology International.

And on Nov. 20, with assistance from TechLink, MOUT Solutions secured a patent license for the Army’s SACON (Shock-Absorbing Concrete) recipe to continue construction of small-arms training facilities for the military.

Mark Fulford managed BTI’s facility in Wilson for 11 years before the Canadian-owned company pulled out of North Carolina.

With Fulford’s experience building shoot houses, rifle ranges, bunker trenches and training villages, which includes a long list of projects for the Department of Defense, law enforcement, and private customers, the newly-organized MOUT Solutions seamlessly continued operations and sales. MOUT is an acronym for military operations in urban terrain.

MOUT is currently working on major projects for the Army at Fort Polk, the Marines at 29 Palms, and a smaller project for the Navy SEALs in Virginia Beach.

“Taking ownership was a bit daunting at first,” Mark Fulford said. “But we know our product, we know our customer’s needs, and we’ve got great employees. That made it a lot easier.”

Marksmanship training is a requirement in all military branches conducted at more than 2,000 firing ranges in the United States.

And the ballistic absorbing SACON concrete, patented by the Army in 2001, is a high-priority product for facility managers in the Department of Defense who use it to build those training complexes and bullet traps.

In a typical year, soldiers, sailors and airmen collectively fire more than 300 million rounds. To prevent the accumulation of lead in groundwater and soils, which could ultimately reduce operational readiness if environmental regulators impose training restrictions, the Army Corps of Engineers’ Geotechnical Structures Laboratory invented SACON, a low-density, fiber-reinforced, foamed concrete that minimizes ricochets and captures bullets without cracking.

The Army estimates the use of SACON saves it an annual $180 million in soil cleanup costs.

“It’s great to see Mark and Linda keep the factory open to support good jobs and meet military needs. They’ve got a reputation for quality control and customer satisfaction,” said Marti Elder, TechLink’s senior technology manager who helped the small business negotiate the patent license with the Army.