If you missed this year’s ACMA Composites Build America National Lobby Day, May 22-23 in Washington, D.C., you missed a major success. Representatives from more than 30 ACMA member companies, as well as representatives from the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE), came with a singular mission: to advance the composites industry.

This year’s event featured a first-ever Federal Market Growth Symposium that provided attendees with crucial insights for the future of the industry. Numerous Federal officials from agencies such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Highway Administration discussed how their programs envision composites addressing critical national priorities.

Following the symposium, attendees heard from former U.S. Representative Kenny Hulshof (R-Mo.) and Andy Wright, a former congressional chief of staff, on how to conduct a successful meeting with a member of Congress. They encouraged composites industry professionals to emphasize their roles in their communities and demonstrate that issues are critical to supporting job growth back home.

Opportunities to network with national leaders included the ACMA Political Action Committee reception with Representative Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, vice chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Blackburn is a champion of the composites industry and leads efforts in the House to increase the efficiency and responsiveness of the Federal government and ease the regulatory burden on manufacturers across the country. The event also featured a Capitol Hill open house for members of Congress and staff displaying composite products and illustrating their importance to solving national problems and supporting nationwide economic growth.

The hallmark of Composites Build America National Lobby Day was dozens of meetings where ACMA members urged leaders to support composites. By meeting with their members of Congress as constituents, industry professionals had the unique opportunity to show the direct link between our issues and jobs and growth back home.

A core issue on the event’s legislative agenda this year was H.R. 2034, the Advanced Composites Development Act, sponsored by Representative Mike Michaud (D-Maine). The bill provides for the creation of university-private sector research consortia under the direction of major Federal agencies such as the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, the Department of Transportation and the Department of Homeland Security. By combining the advanced research capabilities of major universities with the technical knowledge and resources of the private sector, the consortia will develop new applications for composites materials to address urgent national needs.