In July 29 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Reporter
A small Jamestown company with an innovative, award-winning new product will be prominently featured at the upcoming Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington.
Steve Pfoff, owner and founder of Monumental Builders, is building a horse barn on the grounds of the Kentucky Horse Park using his patented cultured-stone concrete block system that is manufactured with recycled materials.
Just this week the cultured-stone concrete was named as a first place winner in the first phase of the Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation's Big Idea Competition, garnering him a $1,000 prize based on a one-page outline of the idea and a business model. The second phase will involve submitting a three to six-page summary of their idea along with business, marketing, sales and financial plans. Three winners of this phase will receive $2,500 cash prizes.
The third and final phase will involve oral presentations later this fall with the winner receiving $10,000 and 12 months of free rent in the Kentucky Highlands Business Innovation and Growth Center. Two runners-up will receive prizes of $5,000 and $2,500 and offers of free work space in the center for six months.
"In 2007 I worked the architectural engineering show in Louisville to show the building industry our new product, which was a load-bearing cultured stone and in doing so we were made aware of the new LEED program," Pfoff said of how his new product got off the ground.
LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.
Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED provides building owners and operators a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.
"The federal and state government can't make you recycle but they can entice you to recycle," Pfoff said. "If you bid on a state or federal job, it will not be based on the price anymore but also on what LEED points you have."
In producing his original stone, he realized that 90 percent plus of the materials that went into the production of the stone can utilize recycled materials. From there he patented and developed a new load-bearing cultured stone that is receptive to more than 90 percent plus recycled materials for production, which is nearly unheard of, he said.
"Literally what we can do is go in, crush an existing building down grind it up and put all the materials from that building back into the stone and rebuild a building in place of it," he said. "The buildings have a shelf life of hundreds of years," he said. "We went to the landfill owners and took some state people and told them that we've got a product that can stop a lot of the landfill fills."
From there, Pfoff said he applied for grants for batch formulas and a system to produce this stone.
"The government's two primary goals are to recycle materials and keep them from going in landfills so this has got everybody excited," he said. Pfoff said he can take the demolition materials in a community, regrind it up and use it for the aggregate to produce the new stone for new infrastructure for the community.
Nearly 95 percent of building materials, including plastic, metal, glass, carpet, drywall and even light fixtures in a building, can be ground up and used as aggregate for his cultured-stone but has to be done it percentages to mesh out correctly.
"It is unlimited in what it can be utilized for," he said. "For LEED and recyclable purposes it has just a huge potential profit."
Pfoff then went to Highlands Investment Corp. and Eastern Kentucky University and several of the state agencies to look into getting grants, funding and projects to implement his recycled cultured-stone program.
While he has only utilized the new cultured-stones in Jamestown at The Creek development and with two retaining walls for the city of Jamestown near Monument Square, he soon realized that he was able to market the new stone at the horse park during the equestrian games, which begin in late September.
"I met with Kentucky Horse Park and they agreed to give us a 50ft. x 150ft. location to put a model stone barn up so it will be seen by those attending the games," he said. "My investors and sponsors have put up the money for this build."
During the course of setting up things at the horse park, Kentucky Highlands Investment Corp. recommended he enter their Big Idea competition.
With little notice, he submitted his idea to the competition and won the first phase.
"I will probably be a little more prepared when entering in the second and third phases," Pfoff said.
Back at the horse park, the build is being watched closely by both state officials as well as several big national and international corporations.
"It is larger than I am and we are all aware of this," Pfoff said. "Every landfill in this nation could implement a program where they take the infrastructure that is being demoed in their local area and it be ground up, recycled and put back in my stone to rebuild their infrastructure locally and that material would not end up in a landfill."
Pfoff invited all of Russell County up to see the horse barn when it is completed near the end of August.
"We're premiering this product at the Kentucky Horse Park for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games … it is astronomical for this product to be seen by the world and we use recycled materials to produce it."
While he can't mention all his sponsors for the horse park build at this time, there is two he can: Nally Gibson out of Georgetown is supplying the aggregate and sand while Direct Colors out of Oklahoma is supplying the pigmentation color for the stone.
"It is definitely going to be a unique situation," Pfoff said.