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4/13/2015 | 1 MINUTE READ

Rhode Island composites industry highlighted on economic tour

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Governmental and industry leaders held a roundtable discussion on how they can work together to strengthen the composites sector in the state.

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The Rhode Island composites industry was front and center during a recent economic tour of the state with Jay Williams, the head of the federal Economic Development Administration (EDA) and the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development.

Williams, U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Governor Gina Raimondo were joined by governmental and industry leaders for a roundtable discussion on “Composites Manufacturing: The Future of Rhode Island’s Economy.”

The event was held at Hall Spars & Rigging (Bristol, RI, US), a company that is just one example of a Rhode Island firm that has used its expertise in composite building for the marine market as a springboard to launch into new markets in aerospace, military, alternative energy and other industries. Rhode Island has some 75 companies working in composites, with 35 of them concentrated in the East Bay area that arcs through Bristol.

Organized by Sen. Whitehouse and the Rhode Island Composites Alliance, the roundtable provided an opportunity for leaders of composites manufacturing companies and governmental leaders to educate each other and discuss how they can work together to strengthen the composites sector in the state. The Rhode Island Marine Trades Association (RIMTA) organized the event in conjunction with the Rhode Island Composites Alliance.

"The roundtable was not only a chance for Rhode Island's composites industry to showcase its capabilities and achievements: it was also a valuable opportunity for our industry and our elected officials and governmental leaders to have a dialogue on how we can work together to grow this innovative manufacturing sector," said Wendy Mackie, CEO of the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association.

The Rhode Island Composites Alliance was formed in May 2014 to strengthen this industry sector, both by coordinating economic development initiatives and cultivating the sector’s workforce through training and education. The RIMTA has worked with industry members to launch this new organization and develop plans for programs that will mirror what RIMTA has already put in place for the state’s marine trades.

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