Researchers, manufacturers and industry join forces to advance Washington State composites at leading international trade show

Fourteen delegates join Commerce at JEC Composites show in Paris

OLYMPIA, WA  –  A select group from the 100 companies that make up Washington’s $3.3 billion composites industry will join a Washington State Department of Commerce delegation to the JEC Composites trade show in Paris from March 12-14.

The still-young composites industry, which has sparked a resurgence of quality manufacturing jobs in the state, provides products, parts and services to a broad range of sectors including aerospace, automotive, marine, consumer goods, sporting goods and wind energy.

Goodwinds LLC, a one-time kite store in Mt. Vernon turned carbon and fiberglass tube and rod maker, heads to JEC with the aim of reaching new foreign buyers. “When so many emails and phone calls go ignored, face-to-face meetings can turn the tide of our sales strategy and help us establish the crucial relationships with procurement officers and product engineers who are important to the expansion of our business.”

Goodwinds joins 13 other companies and organizations on the Washington 2013 delegation to JEC, which attracts more than 32,000 composites professionals and 1,180 exhibitors from around the world. Delegate members are Advanced Composites Center, Automoboli Lamborghini Advanced Composite Structures Laboratory, Fiberglass Supply, Gemini Composites, General Plastics Manufacturing, Globe Machine, Heatcon Composite Systems, JIT-Invision, Pacifica Engineering, Port of Port Angeles, Profile Composites, Washington State Composites Training Consortium and Weyerhaeuser.

Eight of this year’s delegates received support to offset the expenses of attending the show from a State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Funds from the grant, administered in Washington state by Commerce, provide qualifying companies with export vouchersup to $5,000 with a 25% company match to help pay for trade show expenses such airfare, admission, translation services and other export-related services.

The inclusion of Automoboli Lamborghini and the Washington State Training Consortium represent the first time the state’s higher education institutions have been a featured part of a state delegation.

“We’re proud to have representatives from our state’s research institutions join the delegation to JEC,” said Brian Bonlender, Commerce director. “Our universities and community colleges are not only recognized hubs of innovation that grow ground-breaking technologies, they also symbolize Washington state’s investment in a highly skilled, educated workforce that will long continue to fill the needs of this emerging and expanding industrial sector.”

That’s an important value to companies like Profile Composites, another JEC delegate, which recently established new manufacturing operations in Bremerton, Wash. The company’s market leadership in contract research and development and manufacturing services has earned it two JEC awards and may be headed to its third at this year’s show.

“As a past attendee and recipient of JEC’s Composites Innovation Award, we know that the organizers create an outstanding opportunity to interact with the highest level of technology and corporate leadership available globally,” said Geoff Wood, chief executive officer at Profile Composites. “Attendance at JEC provides not only new overseas market potential, but also local potential with an extremely strong Washington delegation and common collaboration around a growing industry cluster.”

Washington’s composites history dates back to the 1960s with products developed for aerospace and defense. With a core of innovative research and development, highly-skilled workers, low-cost clean power and an attractive business environment, today the state ranks as a global leader in the advanced composite materials industry. In 2011 SGL Automotive Group’s carbon fiber production plant, a joint venture with BMW, launched operations in Moses Lake, adding to the list of world-class composites companies that have chosen Washington for operations.

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