It Started with a Bucket

Elastec capabilities brochure

1990 in Crossville, Illinois, two hard-working entrepreneurs, Donnie Wilson and Jeff Cantrell, were working in the oil fields of the Illinois basin, trying to clean up an oil pit with a skimmer that was picking up more water than oil. Frustrated, one of them made the comment that more oil could be recovered with a 5-gallon bucket than with the useless skimmer they were using. He threw a bucket into the oil. The bucket landed in the pit, spinning like a drum. Oil stuck to the bucket, leaving the water behind. It was a “Eureka” moment!

Wilson and Cantrell invented the first efficient drum oil skimmer. The rest is history.

Today, Elastec’s environmental products are distributed in 155 countries and include a variety of oil skimmers, containment boom, turbidity curtains, work boats, portable incinerators and industrial vacuum systems. We are an innovative, 100% employee owned company with a big mission, developing solutions to clean up surface water pollution, to keep our waterways clean. And, it all started with a bucket.


Donnie and Jeff old photo


Elastec is established by Donnie Wilson and Jeff Cantrell from Crossville, Illinois, USA with their invention of a drum oil skimmer.

1993 SmartAsh


Elastec purchases the rights to a portable incinerator and increases sales of the unit by 2,000%


As global awareness of environmental protection and oil spill response increases, Elastec opens its first international remote office in Moscow, Russia.

1996 MediBurn


The portable incinerator line expands with the development of MediBurn for the disposal of medical waste in developing countries and remote locations. MediBurn purchases continue to grow globally, including several installations in Liberia for the control of Ebola waste.

1997 AMI boom


Jim Pearce, 20th Century guy

Elastec shareholders purchase American Marine, Inc., (AMI), of Cocoa, Florida. Elastec and AMI operate as a brother/sister corporation under Elastec/American Marine, Inc. Jim Pearce founded American Marine, Inc. (AMI) in Cocoa, Florida in 1967 and retired after 30 years of innovation in the industry. AMI manufactures a varied line of floating booms, barriers, baffles and curtains to protect waterways from silt and sediment pollution during dredging and construction projects; to contain oil, marine debris and trash; to control aquatic weeds and to decrease total suspended solids in waste water treatment plants. American Fireboom (in conjunction with the 3M Company) and Hydro-Fire® Boom were developed by AMI for the In-Situ Burning (ISB) of oil. These fire booms outperformed all other flame-resistant systems during the Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.


Elastec/American Marine develops and manufactures the Porta VAC, a trailer mounted vacuum system, ideal for ground spills, beach cleaning and tank cleaning.

1999 Hydro-Fire boom


Elastec/American Marine develops a new fire resistant boom for the In-Situ Burning (ISB) of oil spills, the Hydro-Fire® BoomDrumIt is introduced, a compact vacuum head for 55 gallon drum containment or to intercept hazardous materials from a larger vacuum system.


MiniVac, a compact, portable vacuum system is developed for working in remote areas such as beaches, pipelines and industrial applications.


2001 Neatsweep

Elastec/American Marine develops a precision dispersant application system for oil spill cleanup, NeatSweep®, designed to increase the efficiency and safety when applying dispersants.


2003 ISO logo

Elastec/American Marine obtains ISO 9001 Certification.


2004 Drug Terminator

The Drug Terminator, an adaptation of the SmartAsh, is developed for the on-site destruction of evidence drugs by law enforcement agencies.


2005 PACS vacuum system

The trailer-mounted vacuum line continues to expand with the creation of a Portable Air Conveyance System (PACS) for hydro-excavation and the removal of liquids, solids and sludge from land or water.


2006 1309 building

Elastec/American Marine has products in 60 countries. The company purchases a vacant Wal-Mart building in Carmi, Illinois, and it becomes the new facility for administration, operations and manufacturing.


2007 inc5000

Elastec CFO, Jeff Bohleber accepts the Inc 5000 Award on behalf of Elastec/American Marine as one of the fastest growing private companies in America. Elastec received this award for eight consecutive years from 2007 to 2015. Also in 2007, the Company licenses the Grooved Skimming technology from the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara.


Elastec/American Marine introduces the new ShovelHead suction skimmer.


2010 Guinness Award

The Deepwater Horizon well blowout occurs in the Gulf of Mexico, the worst oil spill incident in the U.S. to date. Elastec/American Marine manages the controlled burn operations for BP. American Fireboom and Hydro-Fire Boom eliminate the most oil among all fire boom systems in the Gulf. Elastec/American Marine’s Hydro-Fire® Boom is bestowed the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title for the “Longest Continuous Burn of Oil Spill at Sea” for its performance during the Deepwater Horizon incident. Elastec/American Marine adds two new locations; Sales headquarters located at 926 County Road 1350N, Carmi, IL and 1600 W Main St., Carmi, IL to warehouse inventory. Elastec begins building aluminum workboats at their 926 facility.


2011 X Prize

Elastec/American Marine purchases a vacant Wal-Mart building in Fairfield, Illinois as the new manufacturing facility for the “boom” division – working in tandem with the Cocoa, Florida facility. Work boats are developed for oil spill response. Elastec/American Marine wins the X Prize Foundation’s Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE with its patented Grooved Disc skimming technology.


2012 Popular Mechanics award

American Marine is merged into Elastec. The Grooved Disc skimming technology wins several international awards including the Popular Mechanics 2012 Breakthrough Technology Award, Offshore Arabia’s prestigious Excellence in Environmental Applications Award and the Nafta Gaz Grand Prix Award at Oil & Gas Warsaw in Poland. Elastec/American Marine acquires the BoomVane technology from ORC of Sweden. The BoomVane is an aquatic paravane system that enables oil recovery and debris containment booms to be towed by a single vessel, as well as to deploy booms in rivers and tidal waters without boats or anchors.


2013 Oil Spill Workshop

Elastec/American Marine develops a commercial line of X Skimmers scaled from its award-winning grooved disc technology. The first Oil Spill Workshop draws attendees from around the world.


2014 X150 launcher

The X150 Launching System is developed as a turnkey system for offshore vessels serving offshore oil spill recovery operations.


Elastec 25th anniversary logo
2015 25th anniversary
2015 Golden Gate install

Elastec/American Marine celebrates its 25th anniversary with a new logo and the incorporation of American Marine under one name, Elastec. An Elastec Ruffwater Type III turbidity curtain is installed near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California and receives an environmental award nomination from the California Department of Transportation. One of the founders of Elastec, Donnie Wilson, retires from Elastec.


2016 Omni Catamaran
2016 Brute Boom
2016 Beach Bouncer

Elastec enters new markets driven by the Clean Water Act and introduces the Omni CatamaranBruteBoomBrute Bin and Beach Bouncer to help keep our waterways clean from trash and debris. New interchangeable “pods” are developed for the Omni Catamaran that easily exchange to facilitate various marine tasks such as: collecting floating debris, transporting cargo, pumping out boat sewage, cutting invasive aquatic weeds, supporting diving operations, lifting buoys and responding to oil spills. Elastec’s products are now used in 155 countries.


Inlander boat with containment boom
Inlander river utility boat
Elastec Inlander boats stacked

Elastec begins to produce a new workboat called the Inlander. The boat was designed as an alternative to Jon Boats to offer more safety and stability. It also offers a barge component for extra equipment payloads.


ISO 9001 2015 logo

Elastec obtains ISO 9001:2015 certification. Elastec designs a new Utility Service Boat that can act as a work platform for waterway maintenance tasks. Two new skimmer designs are developed, the Hermit Skimmer and the Mini Skimmer. Hermit Skimmer is designed to access oil tanks through roof or side manway openings with a minimum diameter of 20 in / 50 cm. The Mini Skimmer is a small selective floating drum skimmer driven by a 12V motor and ideal for marinas, ponds, streams and small industrial tanks for recovering food processing oils, and light oils such as lube oil, hydraulic, diesel and sheens.

Elsatec platform workboat
Mini oil skimmer in pond
Skimming oil inside tank


Hydro-excavation vacuum trailer
Governer's export award
Floatable trash and debris collector

Elastec develops a new version of the PACS vacuum trailer designed for municipalities with the ability to perform hydro excavation operations. A new, smaller version of the Brute Bin is developed for use in smaller waterways. Elastec wins two awards. One is the Outstanding Exporter award at the Mid-America Trade Summit in Columbia, Mo. and the other is Governor’s Export Award for Continuing Excellence from the State of Illinois. Elastec launches a new website titled “Ways To Fight Plastic Pollution” to help educate and find solutions for floating plastic trash in water.


Elastec began selling an Inlander with options designed for commercial Asian Carp fishing. Two of the founding members of Elastec, Jeff Cantrell and Bill Brown, retire. A new product the “Bottle Boom” is launched. It is a debris collection barrier that anyone can use at home. The boom is supplied as an empty sleeve that the owner can stuff using sealed plastic bottles. The boom is then installed in a local small creek or waterway to collect floating trash and debris. Elastec receives Illinois Manufacturers’ Association Infectious Disease Prevention Training Certification.

Lake Mower logo

Elastec acquires Jenson Lake Mower. The Lake Mower, is a sickle lake weed cutter that enables you to handle lake weed removal at your property as easily as mowing your lawn. Invented in 1994 by Ben Jenson and developed by John Dooley and Dr. Johan Gervais, the Jenson Lake Mower was manufactured by Jenson Technologies Development Corporation (owned by the Gervais family) and gained a reputation as the pinnacle of aquatic weed harvesting tools on the consumer market.

Elastec becomes a member of the UK and Ireland Spill Association. The association is a national trade body for companies, organizations, and individuals involved in oil spill and incident management.


Elastec inlander for commercial fishing
DIY floating trash and debris boom
IMA infectious disease certification

Elastec Equipment is featured in the The “Planet or Plastic” exhibit at the Nauticus Museum in Norfolk, VA. The exhibit was organized by the National Geographic Society. Elastec equipment is featured in study on selecting devices to capture plastic pollution. Elastec Brute Boom is used to stop 4,000 kg of solid waste before entering the Tijuana River estuary and the Pacific Ocean, 93% of which consists of plastic and waste tires. Mark Hilliard is named the new CEO of Elastec. Elastec co-founder and former CEO, Donnie Wilson commented “I am excited about Mark’s promotion to CEO. His years of experience in manufacturing and his time at Elastec in management will serve the company well for future growth.”


Elastec acquires Kepner Plastics in Torrence, California. Kepner was founded in 1961 and grew to become well known in industrial circles as one of the outstanding custom plastic fabricators in the world. Kepner broke into the oil spill response industry in 1968 after the invention of the SeaCurtain Boom. The international success of the SeaCurtain Boom allowed the expansion of products to build a large and impressive portfolio


Plastic pollution barrier
Elastec solar panel installation
Elastec ROV skimmer

Elastec welcomes Curt Kessler as the new Chief Operating Officer of Elastec. In keeping with Elastec’s commitment to “keeping our world clean”, we partnered with several well known groups that are dedicated to collecting and preventing plastic pollution. Elastec begins manufacturing the Kepner Plastics Fabricators line of products in our Illinois facilities. The ROV skimmer is developed. It is a remotely controlled device that is designed to provide an effective method of oil recovery from a variety of situations. It can be maneuvered into spaces where it would be difficult to deploy a traditional fixed oil skimmer. Elastec begins the installation of solar panels to help generate electricity for our manufacturing facilities in Carmi and Fairfield.

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