As president and COO of Composites One LLC, Leon Garoufalis has provided operating 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. He has also provided industry leadership as a member of the Executive Committee of the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) and is the current chair of the CGI steering committee.

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

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

CM Interviews spoke with Garoufalis about the benefits of CGI membership. Read the Q&A below:

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 the creation of codes and standards, but it all starts with active ACMA members coming together to collaborate, resolve issues, remove obstacles, create opportunities to leverage the strengths of composites over other materials and expand the use of composites.

What important achievements have CGIs made this year?

The CGI committees continue to be active, focused and motivated to make positive changes in the markets they serve, collectively growing the composites industry. Each committee has made significant accomplishments in education, marketing, standards development and outreach. In education, the Transportation Structures Council continues to provide a workshop (14th year in a row) at a major bridge conference on composites advancements in infrastructure and bridge construction; the Architectural Division is preparing for a first ever Composites Pavilion at the American Institute of Architects’ annual conference that is attended by over 18,000 architects; and the Fiberglass Grating Manufacturers Council recently completed a very important grating standard that will provide engineers with the information they need to design and specify composites. These are just a few of the many initiatives the CGI committees work towards each year. When the industry works collectively on projects and issues, many positive results happen, and ultimately we can grow the composites industry.

How do you see the CGI program and its committees shaping the future of the composites marketplace?

The CGI committees will continue to identify opportunities to open new markets and identify new customers for composites. Because of the variety of actions these committees are undertaking, they will further establish credibility to our industry as we compete against steel, wood, aluminum and other materials through broad education to customers and end-users, development of industry guidelines and standards, and advancing composites technology to solve market challenges that will lead to market growth.