Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Fred Strohl (strohlhf@ornl.gov)
Communications and External Relations


New Company to Build Portable Medical Facilities in Oak Ridge

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., May 13, 1998 — Tactical Medical Solutions, a new company that will manufacture and market mobile medical facilities and support systems, plans to begin production in 90 days here in Oak Ridge.

The company's initial products will be the Advanced Surgical Suite for Trauma Casualties (ASSTC), a highly mobile, lightweight, self-contained medical facility for both military and civilian uses, and a firefighter's support and rehabilitation facility modeled after the ASSTC.

The creation of Tactical Medical Solutions is a direct result of an Oak Ridge project completed in late 1997 in which the prototype of the ASSTC, or "hospital in a box" as it more commonly known, was built at the Oak Ridge Centers for Manufacturing Technology under a joint program for the United States Army and the Marine Corps.

Dr. William (Bill) Wiesmann, a retired Army colonel, is the president and chief executive officer of Tactical Medical Solutions. "We established Tactical Medical Solutions to manufacture and distribute major medical items, such as the ASSTC unit, along with support equipment and supplies as fully equipped, self-contained, turn-key systems. Our major markets are military ground forces, emergency medical care, community healthcare and other civilian organizations involved in disaster and humanitarian relief," Wiesmann said.

There are three employees with the start-up company, Tactical Medical: Wiesmann, Stephen Bruttig, Ph.D., a retired Army major, is vice president for applications and business development and Alan Cantrell, is vice president for manufacturing. Wiesmann estimates, however, that the company will have nine employees by the end of the year with projected growth to 50 employees over the next five years.

Prior to his retirement, Wiesmann was director of the Army's Combat Casualty Care Research Program of the Medical Research and Materiel Command (MRMC) at Fort Detrick, Md., during that time came up with an idea for providing critical medical care to the most severely wounded as quickly as possible.

That idea, through the work of the MRMC and the Marine Corps' Combat Development Command, Harvey Mudd College, San Jose State University and ORCMT, became the ASSTC unit.

Bruttig was deputy director of the Combat Casualty Care Research Program, and upon Wiesmann's retirement, became director of the program. Bruttig and Lt. Cmdr. Ed Howze of the Marine Corps' Combat Development Command in Quantico, Va., led the development of the ASSTC unit.

"Oak Ridge was and continues to be the ideal place for this product and this company. It provides a ready supply of skilled labor, along with outstanding technical support and overhead costs that are relatively modest. Additionally, a close association with the ORCMT will help us in the design and development of new products we envision," Bruttig said.

Alan Cantrell, manufacturing vice president, agrees: "We see this as an incredible opportunity. We've got a wonderful product and a promising market. This is the time and Oak Ridge is the place for this company. We have other products planned beyond the ASSTC and may need scientific or technological help with those and Oak Ridge is the place to get that."

The ASSTC unit is designed to be set-up near combat areas to treat the most severely wounded as soon as possible. The unit can be set up in less than 30 minutes and is stored in a box 5 feet by 5 feet by 10 feet. The unit also has applications for civilian health and disaster relief agencies to respond to emergencies or provide health care in remote areas. Supply cabinets in the unit can be stocked with material tailored to fit a specific mission or situation.

The first ASSTC unit was built on an aggressive nine months schedule from design concept to finished prototype. That prototype was turned over to the Marines in October 1997 and has been field tested at Fort Bragg, N.C. and Camp LeJeune, S.C. .

Innovative Ventures Corporation (IVC) is working with Tactical Medical Solutions to help the start-up company by providing office space and operational support, helping prepare a business plan and securing a manufacturing facility in Oak Ridge.

Tactical Medical Solutions presented at the East Tennessee Business Opportunities Forum on May 21- & 22 in Oak Ridge. This forum showcased Tactical Medical Solutions to venture capitalists, investment bankers, corporate strategic alliance partners as well as business people interested in the economic future of the East Tennessee Region. This event was hosted by IVC.

"We believe this is the kind of project that will benefit the military and private sector while creating jobs in East Tennessee and thereby lessening the dependence of the local economy on Department of Energy funding," said Bradford Durham, director of Economic Development at IVC.

IVC is a not-for-profit corporation funded by Lockheed Martin Corporation. Its mission is to help diversify the East Tennessee Economy by facilitating the transfer of technologies or expertise developed with the DOE's Oak Ridge reservation to the private sector.