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Advanced Engineering 2018

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse Tours Rhode Island Company

22 August 2017

US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse had the opportunity to learn more about the process of creating composite products during a 14 August tour of Smithfield, Rhode Island-based Fiberglass Fabricators, a member of the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA).

ACMA facilitated a tour of Fiberglass Fabricators, which manufactures water and wastewater treatment products, so Senator Whitehouse could see these products in person and learn more about the company's daily operations and challenges. ACMA is helping set up tours like these across the US to expose more members of Congress to the benefits of composites and allow leaders at these companies to gain valuable time with their elected officials.

"Plant tours help build a group of educated Members of Congress who understand the challenges facing composites manufacturers," says Tom Dobbins, ACMA President. "In turn, those Members of Congress can then be a group of champions for the industry on Capitol Hill."

The tour came just weeks after Senator Whitehouse, along with Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed, and Congressmen David Cicilline and Jim Langevin announced a $125,000 federal grant awarded to Rhode Island Marine Trades Association (RIMTA) and the town of Bristol, Rhode Island, to develop a composites industry cluster that is expected to support job creation and economic growth in the state. The state is home to the nation's first offshore wind farm, which incorporates fibreglass in wind turbine blades to power the operation.

"Rhode Island's composites industry is leading the way in manufacturing light, durable products," said Senator Whitehouse. "I was pleased to have a representative of the American Composites Manufacturers Association here to see first-hand the innovative products being made at Fiberglass Fabricators in Smithfield. Our local composites cluster is well-suited to meet changing industry demands and to continue growing."

Senator Whitehouse has been a strong advocate for the composites industry, ACMA notes. Last year, he wrote a provision for the Water Resources Development Act directing the US Army Corps of Engineers to study the performance of composites and other innovative materials in water resources projects. ACMA worked with members of both chambers to ensure the inclusion of that language was included in the final version of the legislation.





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