All hands on deck for Carmi boom manufacturer

By Carly O'Keefe - bio | email

CARMI, IL (KFVS) - Since the oil spill started in late April, a Heartland company that manufactures boom has been working overtime to help clean it up. From the top execs to those on the assembly line, it's been "all hands on deck" for Elastec American Marine.

"Last report, we've eliminated 100,000 barrels," said Elastec American Marine Vice President Jeff Cantrell. "That's nowhere near the amount that's leaked, but that's a lot of oil that's not on the beach."

Cantrell has spent more than a month on the front lines of the disaster in the gulf. He's been working to ensure boom manufactured in Carmi, IL perform as their supposed to in the field.

"When we first started, we were doing four to five burns per day," said Cantrell. "Now we're up to 17 a day."

Cantrell says that's meant he and the rest of the Elastec boom team have had to work sunup to sundown, and sometimes even longer.

"It's very demanding, everyone's doing their best," Cantrell said. "There's no slack."

That goes for employees on the assembly line too. Elastec more than doubled its Carmi work force from 93 to 193 employees in recent weeks. Still, most are working overtime to keep up.

"84 Hours last week," said Elastec employee Brian Strole.

Strole was unemployed just five weeks ago. Now he says he clocks in at Elastec with a sense of purpose.

"Makes me feel good inside when I come to work," said Strole. I know I'm helping. I'm making a difference. I strive for that."

Employees here manufacture 6000 feet of boom per day. All of it is bound for the Gulf. While there's no question that's boosted Elastec's bottom line, Cantrell says the most important thing for him is that his company is able to help.

"This is a scenario we've been working toward for 20 years. Trying to develop this product to make it work properly and it has been a long hard road. It's great to see it in use, doing some good."

Elastec officals say they plan to expand even more--as all of the booms they produce are going down south and they may need to hire more workers to keep up with the demand of customers other than BP.

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