History of Alpha Pavement Technology

The following article was written by MAUREEN WOLTERMANN, Globe-News Correspondent:

What began as a college friendship has matured into a successful business merger, linking two existing paving companies in Amarillo.

Alpha Pavement Technology, owned by Paul Gugenheim, has sold to Mark Fuller and Mike Fuller, owners of Fuller & Sons Construction.

In 1983, Mark Fuller gave his college pal, Paul Gugenheim, the gift of a parking-lot striper. Fuller had used the striper to supplement his income but no longer had time for the side business. Gugenheim, a former engineer for an oil field acidizing and fracturing company, had just returned to Amarillo after attending missionary school. Gugenheim wanted to minister to businessmen and was looking for a business to learn. He put the tool to use striping parking lots on weekends with his two junior-high aged children.

It wasn't long before Gugenheim noticed a gap in intermediate sized companies to do parking lot striping and asphalt repair work. There were large companies to do the big jobs and businesses to do the very small jobs, but not much in between. By adding a quality line of sealers and high-tech crack fillers to his weekend enterprise, Gugenheim soon had more work than he could manage. He left his day job and founded Alpha Pavement Technology Inc. in Amarillo.

As a full-time businessman, Gugenheim wanted to make a difference and raise the standard for his paving business and others. He was soon active in the National Pavement Maintenance Association and was elected national president twice. He was looking for opportunities to educate other business people.

Gugenheim also wanted to find something for his employees to do during the off-season when the weather was too cold to work.

By teaming up with a retired chemist, Ed Fyfe, who, in the late 1980s, expanded an innovative fiberwrap technology to help reinforce concrete structures to withstand earthquakes, Gugenheim hit upon a gold mine.

The fiberwrap is used to reinforce bridges, columns, beams, parking structures, docks, refinery equipment and slabs. It has also been successfully tested to blast-proof buildings. Gugenheim's company has wrapped three structures for blast protection.

Gugenheim's second company, Delta Structural Technology, is the Fyfe Co.'s fiberwrap certified installer for Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Puerto Rico. Owens Corning in Amarillo manufactures the glass portion of the TYFO Composite Fiberwrap.

Delta Structural highest profile job to date has been the Alamo Quarry Chimneys in San Antonio, an old cement mill that was renovated into a mall, said wife Sherrye Gugenheim, who is vice president of Delta Structural.

"San Antonio is notoriously protective of their historical sites and by reinforcing with our fiber wrap technique: the stacks were made safe again," she said.

Delta was awarded the 1998 American Concrete Institute project of the year for the Alamo Quarry job.

For the past three years, Alpha Pavement Technology and the new Delta Structural Technology Inc. have existed side by side. Then Paul Gugenheim landed a huge contract and asked his old friend, Mark Fuller, to help out.

Fuller and his brother Mike, own L.A. Fuller and Sons Construction. The 60 year-old company was founded by Fuller's father and handles the larger jobs that Alpha shied away from.

Jokingly, Mark Fuller's brother and partner Mike Fuller, asked Gugenheim at Christmas if he would be interested in selling Alpha back to Fuller. Before long, the two college pals were involved in a merger. Fuller bought Alpha Pavement back from Gugenheim 17 years after Fuller gave Gugenheim his start.

The Fuller brothers will retain Gugenheim for the next four years. Gugenheim spends much of his time in Houston guiding the newer Delta Structural Technology.

Sherrye Gugenheim said that all 16 of the Alpha employees went with the company in the sale to Fuller and Sons. Delta Structural Technology Inc. employs a total of 20 people, here and in the Houston location. Son, Jeff Gugenheim, is regional manager in the Amarillo area, and daughter Hollye Day marketing director, as well as son-in-law, Randy Day, treasurer of the board of directors.

"We feel very blessed. We want the Fuller family to have even more success than we've had with Alpha," said Sherrye Gugenheim.

The two families have become friends over the years. One of the Gugenheim sons, Erik, works for Fuller & Sons and a third son, Chris, has his own computer Web site design company in the Austin area.