ACMA was successful in including language in a House energy bill last year that directed electric utilities to incorporate high-performance poles and cross-arms in their resiliency efforts, but unfortunately that legislation never made it to a final vote. The industry used their meetings to press on House and Senate energy policy leaders to ensure this directive is included in this year’s energy legislation.

ACMA may be the industry’s voice in Washington, representing about 3,000 composites manufacturers on a daily basis, but the message is strongest when it comes from you. “The ACMA Infrastructure Day is a tremendous opportunity for our company to speak directly to Congress on the legislation and policies that will shape our future infrastructure,” says Scott Holmes, ‎director of business development for Highland Composites, who attended Infrastructure Day. “This is a rare opportunity to educate our government leaders on the benefits of composites and create awareness of how our industry can help create a longer lasting infrastructure using American made products, which is good for the economy and the country. Our message was very well received.”

The congressional effort only accounted for the first day-and-half of the three-day event. The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) also hosted a workshop to help the industry better understand the measurement and testing needs that will enable widespread use of composite materials in sustainable infrastructure and construction applications.

During the NIST workshop, the composites industry heard some very candid impressions of our industry from end users, architects and engineers. One of the key findings is that although composites manufacturers have many established guidelines and specifications, they are not always visible to the end users and engineers who specify materials. In fact, a consensus emerged that the composites industry needs a “clearinghouse” for composites guidelines and standards. Also, a few of these guidelines and standards that are commonly used require some additional work to complete the formal adoption by the relevant governing body.

A formal roadmap, based on the results of the workshop, will be published by NIST within the coming months to inform the work of federal agencies and other stakeholders in the development and adoption of standards and guidelines. After publication, our work is just beginning to accelerate the development of standards and guidelines. With guidance from our end users and specifiers, we can target the highest leverage opportunities to focus on the standards and education that our customers need to incorporate more composites in their designs.