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Eye on the Storm

Natural disasters happen, and this company created just the product to help fix things up.

This story appears in the September 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Into every life, a little rain must fall. But Marc Paul, founder of Paul Consulting in Tallahassee, Florida, has a different view of storm clouds, especially during hurricane season. Paul and software programmer Wes Holden have devised software called Debris Information Management System, which tracks loads of debris removed to collection sites after hurricanes, floods and earthquakes. This is important because the Federal Emergency Management Agency reimburses local governments, and subsequently, private waste-removal firms, based on loads and type of debris.

Paul Consulting started the application more than three years ago, but Paul, 39, had little luck selling the concept until a string of hurricanes walloped Florida last season. Now his consulting company, which expects $1.5 million in sales this year, has teamed up exclusively with AshBritt Environmental in Pompano Beach, Florida, to add support for bar-code scanners, which automate tracking of load information, and geographic information systems, which can serve up digital maps of cleanup areas. Says Paul, "Teaming up with [AshBritt] was invaluable for making the product, for both sides."

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