Getting the government to listen

February 19, 2009
By: Dan Davis

Doug Bergeson is a man of few words, but the words he shares with you are important. After 26 years as part of the Army National Guard and tours of duty in Kosovo and Iraq, the latter lasting an astonishing 18 months, he selects his words carefully and thoughtfully when speaking with civilians.

But as owner of Bergeson Technology Inc., Dawson, Minn., he wants as many people to listen to his story. He believes his new armor protection packages can protect U.S. soldiers much more effectively than current up armor packages while also being much easier to install.

Bergeson has developed and received a patent for a three-panel armor panel package that can be easily replaced in the field with hand tools. The panels—comprised of a sheet of common carbon steel encapsulated in a mixture of plastic made from phenolic and urethane resins—can easily be slid out of a tray that is installed on a vehicle. Using only hand tools, a person loosens the crossbar over the tray, slides out any of the three panels that may be damaged, and replaces them with new panels. Bergeson said the panels can be fabricated to fit any size, so they can be used to protect all sections of military vehicles. In fact, the panels weigh one-third less and are 2 in. thinner than typical 12-in.-wide by 12-in.-tall by 11.5-in.-deep panels used for testing.

Bergeson found motivation to develop these panels while serving in southern Iraq in 2006 and 2007. He found materials to develop his early prototypes in the scrap piles at the base, and this led to the creation of panels made from common materials—not hardened steels or advanced ceramics.

Bergeson has tested the panels and said he is confident that they can make a difference in protecting U.S. soldiers currently in war zones. The catch is getting someone to listen.

Yep. The Pentagon employs thousands, but to grab the attention of one decision-maker is like trying to find a politician truly committed to fiscal restraint in government spending. Good luck.

Just how difficult is it to work with the government? Well, The FABRICATOR ran a 10-part series on how to do just that. Let"s just say that the magazine hasn"t run many 10-part series in its 39-year history. Most subjects can be covered in two or three feature installments.

Working with the government isn"t an easy task. In his March 2009 Back Page column in The FABRICATOR, Assistant Editor Michael Bishop shares the story of U.S. Army Reservist William Grinley, a warrant officer, who served on active duty in Iraq, where he commanded a maintenance division. He fabricated a means to help soldiers escape from armored security vehicles that had flipped over.

While working on the fabrication prototypes, Grimley said the biggest problem was trying to find band saw blades that didn"t have national stock numbers (NSN). I had to figure out a different way to get the blades because the NSN process is pretty complicated, he said.

Stories like this don"t do much to inspire the citizenry, but maybe we can help Bergeson. The FABRICATOR will highlight his story in an upcoming issue. In the meantime, if you have any advice for this fabricator, let me know.

Dan Davis

Dan Davis

FMA Communications Inc.
2135 Point Blvd
Elgin, IL 60123
Phone: 815-227-8281