For attendees and exhibitors, COMPOSITES 2013 literally means business.

Numbers can help an industry gauge the value of its primary trade show, and COMPOSITES is no different. This year’s event will feature 3,500 industry professionals, more than 220 exhibitors and 100-plus education sessions and technical paper presentations.

But Wally Gutzmer, Eric Kadow and Svetlana Melkova, Ph.D., each had a simpler number in mind – one – when attending recent COMPOSITES shows. They appreciated the event’s buzz but focused on growing their business.

Gutzmer, a salesperson with Dallas-based aerospace firm DeLong & Associates, wanted to discover at least one new business idea. Kadow, vice president of operations at Aurora, Neb.-based A-1 Fiberglass, wanted to meet at least one new vendor partner. Melkova, vice president of Brampton, Ontario-based Tristar Coatings Ltd., wanted to connect with at least one fellow attendee who could discuss opportunities in the wind turbine market.

These composites professionals realized an important truth: A trade show’s take-away value equals the amount of practical tips, informative news and insightful perspective attendees apply when they return to their offices. Gutzmer, Kadow and Melkova successfully used COMPOSITES to find and seize business opportunities.

“The business potential of this show is outstanding,” says Kadow. “It’s the place to go each year to discover new products and market opportunities.”

An Opportunity to Advance

U.S. composites manufacturing is now a $53 billion a year industry, according to ACMA, and one of the few industries in which the United States is more advanced than most competitors abroad. About 6,000 composites-related manufacturing plants and materials distributors operate nationwide, employing more than 125,000 people.

That sizable market is literally put on display at the annual COMPOSITES event, which for more than two decades has delivered a forum for business, learning and networking. At COMPOSITES 2013, Jan. 29-31 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., attendees will find everything from basic materials to cutting-edge, high-tech products and equipment to help them grow and remain competitive in traditional and emerging markets. (For complete event details, visit


More than 100 education sessions and technical paper presentations will cover everything from materials to market applications.

“COMPOSITES is filled with smart engineers, technical professionals and other people with good ideas who are willing to share them. It’s a valuable event for the entire industry,” says Jay Merrell, executive vice president of Noblesville, Ind.-based Industrial Dielectrics Inc., and president elect and treasurer of ACMA. He says he looks forward to the annual event because it does more than stimulate the eye with decorative demonstrations and product samples. It impacts bottom lines, as vendors help attendees solve specific business issues.