LOCKHART, Texas (Nexstar) — A Texas-born business is enjoying some extra attention Tuesday after being featured in Gov. Greg Abbott’s State of the State address as the perfect example of Texas’ growing economy.
The company, Visionary Fiber Technologies, is looking to innovate the refining and processing operations in multiple industries.
“This technology is basically focused on developing a paradigm shift in chemical engineering equipment,” VFT’s principal scientist Rana Mohamed explained, adding their micron fibers make processing and refining much more efficient.
“Because we have these very small, narrow channels, oil, and water can mix without agitation, and at the same time separate, so you reduce the need for mixing and settling time, and your process becomes much more efficient,” Mohamed explained.
The company’s CEO and president, John Kinzer, said Texas was the perfect place to launch back in 2018, and not just because the scientist who patented the technology is based at Texas State University.
“It is a very pro-business environment,” Kinzer explained.
On Monday, the governor touted fewer regulations and red tape to get in the way of business growth in Texas compared with other states.
“Texas does make it easier to attract talent. But you know, it’s, it’s the fact that there’s a lot of talent here already,” Kinzer said.
There’s talent right across town, too, working the pits at Black’s BBQ. It’s been in business now for nearly 90 years.
“My grandfather opened the business right during the Depression,” owner Kent Black said.
Here, the past 12 months have been difficult due to pandemic regulations.
“The rules have changed almost weekly… so that’s been a battle,” Black said. “We’ve done our best to follow all of the rules, all of the safety rules. And we check temperatures every day with our staff. And we’ve been hanging in there.”
Black said the business is down nearly 30% in revenue, but they’re making it work.
“I haven’t laid off a single employee. So we’re doing our best to keep our staff together,” Black explained.
He’s hopeful vaccine rollout will pick up steam soon to get small and big businesses alike booming in Texas.
“We’re hoping, you know, things will be a lot better by this summer,” Black said.
More about Visionary Fiber Technologies
Not only is the technology helping processing become more efficient, it’s also less wasteful.
“Whatever desired material you’re trying to make, you want to get the most out of it. And some of these materials get lost in, in inefficient processes. So our technology reduces that,” Mohamed explained.
Mohamed said the technology has the potential to make renewable fuel a possibility.
“It’s a real possibility, without a ton of energy usage, and without the need to modify engines, and actually be able to make to use diesel that is made from vegetable sources rather than crude oil,” Mohamed explained.
CEO Kinzer also expanded on local leadership that helped solidify their choice to launch in Lockhart, specifically.
“The city, the county, all the officials, the Lockhart Economic Development Corporation, everyone was really gracious, and went out of their way to to help us to be successful,” Kinzer said.