April 14, 2014

Whitehouse, Cicilline, and Industry Leaders Hold Forum on Opportunities to Grow Rhode Island’s Composites Industry

Bristol, RI – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), along with the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association (RIMTA), the Rhode Island Manufacturers Association, and the Rhode Island Manufacturing Extension Service, held a forum at Roger Williams University today to identify opportunities to support the growing Rhode Island composites industry.  U.S. Representative David Cicilline, as well as representatives from Rhode Island’s composites companies, research institutions, and other stakeholders, all took part in the discussion.

The American Composite Manufacturers Association and the Maine Marine Trades Association joined participants to discuss ways Rhode Island composites companies and researchers can expand their operations to serve growing demand for composites in other areas of the economy, like the military, transportation, and consumer goods.  Rhode Island composites makers also had a chance to share ideas and talk about the innovative work they are doing in the state, which has received attention from consumers of composite materials from around the globe. 

“To create jobs, we need to develop new businesses and promote existing ones,” said Whitehouse.  “Our economy will thrive if innovative Rhode Island businesses can bring their products to new markets.  That’s why we have to connect companies like those in our composites industry with the ideas and resources that allow them to grow.  Thanks to all those who joined me today to promote this important sector of the Rhode Island economy.”

“I was pleased to join Senator Whitehouse, and business, research, and state leaders to discuss opportunities to grow Rhode Island’s composites industry,” said Cicilline.  “Composites, with their wide range of uses, are a fast-growing business sector and we need to ensure that Rhode Island composites manufactures are at the center of this industry so they can continue to support jobs in our state and strengthen our local economy.” 

“Much like the marine industry, the composite industry in Rhode Island is comprehensive and diverse in its capabilities.  From workforce development and research to prototyping and high quality production, Rhode Island’s composite cluster is poised for growth,” said Wendy Mackie, RIMTA’s Chief Executive Officer.

As part of Whitehouse’s ongoing efforts to support job growth in the state, this event continued a series of visits and meetings he has organized with composites companies, researchers, and other stakeholders throughout Rhode Island.  Most recently, he teamed up with the University of Rhode Island School of Engineering to link composites companies with researchers working on advanced composite technologies.

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