Hometown: Mobile, Ala.
Alma Mater: University of South Alabama
Hobbies: Fishing; relaxing at the beach
While studying mechanical engineering at the University of South Alabama in the early 1980s, Ed Wesson got a job with an airplane engine manufacturer. Clients included aircraft companies such as Cessna, Piper and Beech, all of which were moving into composites usage. Although Wesson worked on engines, he was intrigued by composites.
After graduating from college, Wesson landed a fulltime job with the airplane engine company in Mobile, Ala. “I was the young guy, so I got to look into anything new and different,” he says. In addition to corporate clients, he drifted into the military side of business and worked alongside people making airframes for remotely-powered vehicles. He learned how to build cowlings and wings.
During the 1990s, Wesson followed his passion for motorcycle racing and shifted industries. He headed the motorcycle test department at the Harley-Davidson Motor Company and also worked at Buell Motorcycle Company, which did a lot of composite work.
Wesson opted to return home to Mobile in 2000 and landed a job as engineering manager with Non Metallic Resources Inc. It was subsequently acquired by RPS Composites. While there, Wesson helped launch one of the largest vacuum infusion facilities for making panels for industrial applications. He worked on huge composite structures, including beams for scrubber structures weighing hundreds of thousands of pounds.
This past spring, Wesson joined supplier AOC Resins as a corrosion and infrastructure specialist. After three decades in the industry, he remains excited about composites. “I’m optimistic and think we can do anything,” says Wesson. “My motto has always been to lead the market, not follow it.”