Jim Glessner, chief executive officer of Global Sealer Technologies of Sparks, believes he’s on track to revolutionize the concrete repair industry.
Glessner in January brought to market a high-fiber reinforced cement-based mortar for concrete and asphalt repair, and GST International’s Elephant Armor already has been approved for use by the City of San Francisco, Nevada Department of Transportation, PG&E, CalTrans and Los Angeles International Airport.
Crews from GST International are working to repair a 10-year-old, 4,500-square foot wind- and element-damaged concrete television tower pad atop Slide Mountain used by KTVN. This week Elephant Armor will be used to rehabilitate six miles of cracked concrete roadway on northbound Interstate 580 between the Moana Lane exit and Interstate 80.
Elephant Armor works as an overlay on failed concrete or asphalt surfaces and eliminates the need for municipalities or private companies to demolish old concrete surfaces and pour new sidewalks, pad sites, roadways or runways. The product’s fiber molecules bond with existing concrete in the curing process and provide a thin blanket of concrete capable of withstanding extremely high flexural, compressive and tensile stresses.
Typical concrete repair mortars are polymer-based, but Elephant Armor’s high-fiber-based blend of materials could be a major game-change in cement-based mortar repair products, Glessner says.
“The idea of bendable, strain-hardening concrete is a new type of technology and could change the way we look at all concrete products.”
Glessner spent more than 15 years developing Elephant Armor, and GST International has invested millions bringing the product online, he says. Glessner expects nothing short of a huge payoff.
“This is going to be the second coming when it comes to the building materials world,” he says. “We have a tremendous opportunity for a local company to become a player with the likes of BASF, Lafarge and CEMEX. We expect to be saving billions when it comes to typical concrete restoration.”
Even Glessner is surprised at Elephant Armor’s immediate acceptance as a passive concrete repair and restoration material. Elephant Armor, which is manufactured in the Butte County town of Oroville near Chico, soon will be made in eastern Canada and at another facility in Mississippi in the next few months as acceptance and demand grows.
Getting acceptance for new products in municipalities often is an onerous process taking years to win over engineers and public works managers, but Elephant Armor was approved for use at LAX in just over 45 days. GST International did a test patch off-site, and was asked to bring several pallets of the product to the airport which were used for multiple small repairs on an active runway.
Engineers for many city public works agencies, Glessner says, bypass normal procedures to rapidly get the product into the pipleline. “They will vet and signed off on it and put their engineers’ licenses on the line because they understand the technology and our third-party testing.”
Pacific Gas and Electric is working to adopt Elephant Armor as the preferred material for repair work, as is the Port of Oakland. GST International also has full distribution with several large partner distributors in Canada.
Since the January launch things have been moving lighting quick for the company headquartered at 855 E. Greg St. in Sparks. GST International has been hiring employees and bringing on new distribution partners, but it’s going to be tough catching up to the expected growth curve, Glessner says.
“We are moving fast, but it’s a challenge for a small company like ours to grow at the rapid pace we have set. We expect to grow at a minimum of 100 to 200 percent per in the coming year. We have invested millions into this product launch, and by this time next year we expect to double or triple our staff locally and nationally.”