As President and COO of Composites One, Leon Garoufalis has provided leadership since the company’s founding in 1999. Garoufalis guided the initial, successful merger of three distribution companies and the integration of five subsequent acquisitions of composites materials distributors over an eight-year period. Garoufalis also has provided industry leadership as a member of the Executive Committee of the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA). In 2012, he received ACMA’s President’s Award for his industry contributions.

Leon Garoufalis, president and COO of Composites One, LLC.

Leon Garoufalis, president and COO of Composites One, LLC.

Why is the Composites Growth Initiative (CGI) program important to the composites industry?

The fundamental purpose of the CGI is to create a forum for manufacturers and suppliers to come together within specific industry segments to grow the use of composite materials. The CGI is really the voice of the composites industry to specifiers and end users. The activities of the CGI committees include education, outreach and creation of codes and standards. But it all starts with active ACMA members coming together to collaborate, resolve issues, remove obstacles and create opportunities to leverage the strengths of composites over other materials and expand the use of composites.

How can companies benefit from working together and participating in CGI activities?

Because composites represent such a small percentage of the overall materials market – less than 1 percent – there is significant potential for composites growth. When companies involved in a specific industry segment come together to identify objectives and real actions to collectively capture a larger share of materials usage, all those companies can benefit by growing their businesses. By working together to share costs and resources to create initiatives such as developing industry standards and guidelines, member companies can better promote composites to their specific segment’s end users. Leveraging the composites supply chain with raw material suppliers, composites manufacturers and end users creates additional credibility for new composites applications and customers.

What is the most significant contribution of CGI?

Through the CGI Fund – a significant pool of resources created by ACMA’s industry suppliers, distributors and affiliates and the support of ACMA members – the CGI committees are investing in carefully selected and strategically targeted projects to grow their respective markets. With these resources, CGI Committees look to replicate the type of work done in the past by the Pultrusion Industry Council (PIC), including the development of a design prestandard on pultruded composites that will help structural engineers to better specify composites for a variety of applications. Without question, a primary function of the CGI committees is providing tools for and educating engineers, designers, architects and specifiers on the benefits of composites over other materials through a variety of activities.