This move for the kids: Hesser moving to Panama; will raise Teak

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 1, 2004

DEMOPOLIS-The owner of Outback Motel is also the owner of 35 U.S. Patients and he is in the process of making the ultimate sacrifice for his five children. He is selling his businesses in Demopolis as well as his machinery from the factory building where he produces his foam -that’s right foam, that’s made him financially stable and a reputation worldwide.

Frank Hesser, 76, of Chicago, is in the process of selling his businesses and moving to the country of Panama, where he owns about 6,000 hecta acres of land, which is about 2,500 American acres. He said Panama is a beautiful place where the people speak English thanks to the American base being there. He also said the weather is very nice, its always in the 70’s there.

“I’ve been in Demopolis since 1988, when I purchased all the land out here and this factory building,” Hesser said.

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He said he is moving to Panama to raise Teak trees for his children’s financial future. He also said Teak wood is one of the most expensive woods in the world because of the length of time it takes to grow them.

He said they originated in the orient and then moved to Costa Rica and then to Panama. He also said on average one acre of land that contains Teak trees is worth around $600,000.

“The hard part in raising Teak trees is they take about 25 years to mature and be ready to harvest, so I won’t be here to benefit from this,” Hesser said, “This is strictly for my children.”

When Hesser was a young man, he was living in Chicago and owned one of the largest construction companies there with over 1,000 employees. He said he built plenty of bridges and streets for the City of Chicago as well as putting the antennas on the top of the Sears Tower in Chicago.

He said he also invented the tunneling machine that he sold to Robinson Construction and was used to dig the tunnel that was later turned into the “Chunnel” that connects England to France. He also said he designed and built the airplane hanger for the president of the United States’ personal airplane Air Force One.

He said he earned his bachelors degree in Airplanes and Engines at Georgia Tech and then earned a masters’ degree in Civil Engineering from M.I.T.

“I went to Georgia Tech when it was still outside the city limits of Atlanta,” Hesser said laughingly.

The foam he creates in his factory building is the same foam that was used by the Germans in World War II to build their airplanes. The process to create this super foam is, first a ‘skin’ is made out of steel and then it filled with two chemicals that react to create foam that is rock hard and can withstand winds of up too 400 m.p.h.