Thursday, August 20, 2009

Secretary of Transportation visits AEWC on Monday

Ray LaHood, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, visited the Advanced Engineering and Wood Composites Center at UMaine Orono on Monday. As the Industry Liaison for the North Star Alliance, I think this was an important step forward for the center. The AEWC was a lead participant in the writing of the North Star Alliance grant and has been a very important R & D partner in the project. In addition, the support of the Maine Department of Labor and the Governor's office has been incredible as well. Please see the Bangor Daily News article about the Secretary's visit.

The AEWC is a leading research laboratory in composite technology and has developed such innovations has the "bridge-in-a-backpack" technology. I believe this technology is going to take off in the near future and hopefully this visit will spur the federal government to support this technology if it meets national standards. These are light weight arches that can be fabricated on sight, that are harder than steel, though resistant to corrosion, as the article states. This lab has also worked on military applications for high speed boats and ballistic structures that are safer for soldiers,. The AEWC has acted as an incubator for companies and is an important force in the growth of the composites sector in Maine.

The AEWC is an excellent model for the consolidation of education, workforce, economic, and company development in Maine. FMI see the AEWC website for more information about the projects they are working on.

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