Brunswick Landing’s Composites Business Cluster, Marketing Efforts Featured in Major Trade Publication
“There are many unique opportunities here for composites companies.”
Brunswick Landing and MRRA are featured in the latest edition of JEC Magazine, a France-based magazine and one of the most important trade publications for the composites industry.
Ben Sturtevant, MRRA’s Marketing and Communications Manager, was interviewed by JEC Magazine’s Editor in Chief Frederic Reux. Ben gives an overview of the local composites industry and MRRA’s marketing efforts to out-of-state and overseas composites businesses.
Brunswick Landing, Maine’s centre for innovation is the business hub of the former Naval Air Station Brunswick (NASB) base property. The Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority (MRRA) is in charge of redeveloping the property after the closing of the base. Within this framework, composites play a major role. We wanted to find out more about this and the future in store for these materials.
JEC Composites Magazine: Can you tell us more about MRRA and Brunswick Landing and their objectives?
Ben Sturtevant: The Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority (MRRA) is a quasi-governmental organization created by the State of Maine to implement the re-use plan for the former Naval Air Station Brunswick and manage the transition of the property from military to civilian use. Our goals are to create high-quality jobs and to recover and exceed the economic impact that was lost when the Navy left in 2011. We have already surpassed several of our economic development goals with more than 825 jobs created by 80-plus businesses that have located here at Brunswick Landing. Brunswick Landing, Maine’s centre for innovation, is a high-technology business and industrial park with its own airport (Brunswick Executive Airport), a community college, a self-contained power grid, more than 200,000 m2 of industrial and commercial space situated on a beautiful 1300-hectare property with housing, open space, and numerous outdoor recreational opportunities available. Brunswick Landing has centres for excellence in each of our target industrial sectors, including composites/ advanced materials, aerospace/ aviation, biotech/biomed, renewable energy and information technology. We want to continue promoting Brunswick Landing as a great place to do business and eventually fill all of the available space with innovative companies that are able to create good jobs for the area. We see ourselves as especially attractive to composites businesses.
JCM: Why are you so interested in composites? How did this come about?
B. S.: The composites industry has been historically one of the Midcoast region’s (Brunswick Landing location) strengths. Traditionally, this part of Maine has been a major boat-building area. Navy boats (destroyers, battleships, frigates, cruisers) have been built at nearby Bath since the 1800s. As new fabrication methods, technology and materials have evolved, the area has developed a strong composites workforce and supply chain. Based on the region’s industrial strengths and facilities that were transferred to us by the Navy, we determined that composites would be a good industry to focus our business attraction efforts on. It has worked out well so far. We now have a cluster of companies manufacturing composite products for the construction, aerospace, wind-power, marine, and ballistics industries. Several of these companies are based at Brunswick Landing and dozens more are within an hour’s drive. Overall, the State of Maine itself has a robust composites industry, which you have learned a lot more about at JEC World, where we were with a booth. The industry is comprised of small and medium-sized companies who are proud to deliver innovative, high-quality, cutting-edge design and manufacturing services for the industrial, marine, automotive, aerospace, and architecture sectors in Maine, as well as for businessus es throughout the United States and around the world. We anticipate composites technology in Maine to continue to reflect U.S. and international growth rates of about 7% a year.
JCM: What makes you a recognized authority in this field?
B. S.: What makes MRRA a key player in the Maine composites industry more than anything else are business opportunities at Brunswick Landing that similar economic development organizations simply don’t have, including: – Available infrastructure and manufacturing facilities; -Access to manufacturing workforce training programmes at Southern Maine Community College, which is located at Brunswick Landing; – World-class research and development capabilities at the Composites Engineering Research Lab (CERL) located at TechPlace, Brunswick Landing’s business incubator and technology accelerator; – World-class companies such as Kenway-Harbor Technologies, ONE Aviation, Tempus Jets, MVP Aerospace, Mölnlycke Health Care and RollEase Acmeda, which are engaged in composites and/or advanced materials and already doing business here; – A self-contained electrical grid, powered by 100%-renewable energy, including an on-site biogas power plant.
JCM: Did you develop a specific offer for composite professionals?
B. S.: There are many unique opportunities here for composites companies interested in expanding operations to the northeast U.S. Probably aerospace, specifically, is a sector well suited for Brunswick Landing. It is an ideal location for composites businesses that works with aerospace/aviation companies. In addition to an airport with twin 2,439-m runways, we have large hangars (more than 46,450 m2) that can accommodate aircraft as large as a 737. The airport is part of Brunswick Landing’s foreign-trade zone, which can help cut business costs associated with duties on imported materials. We are an ideal location for R&D as well. The Composites Engineering Research Lab (CERL) provides businesses an on-site testing facility. CERL is the most complete and sophisticated applied research facility for polymer characterization in the region. Through CERL, businesses gain access to more than a dozen precision analytic instruments that analyse the performance properties and behaviours of polymer-based materials and composites.
JCM: What can you tell us about the composite products already manufactured on the site?
B. S.: MRAA itself is not in that business, but several of our Brunswick Landing companies create composite products. ONE Aviation makes an all-composite turboprop aircraft. MVP Aero makes an all-composites amphibious aircraft. Mölnlycke uses nanocomposites technology in the production of many of its woundcare products. RollEase uses composites to create many of the components in its window coverings product line. Kenway manufactures hybrid composites beams, bridge-building, marine infrastructure and construction products at its nearby Augusta facility and maintains an office here. It is a very diverse line-up of businesses.
JCM: What are your goals in the composite field?
B. S.: Our goal is to attract to Brunswick Landing composites and advanced materials businesses that will create high-quality jobs. We think the site provides everything a growing composites company needs to expand its business.
JCM: Are you targeting a specific level in the value chain (R&D, academics, processors…)?
B.S.: We’ll consider any level. We have the capacity to handle almost any type of composites business – large or small. It really depends on the client’s needs.
JCM: How do you promote this area dedicated to composites?
B. S.: We don’t have a huge marketing budget, but we are very determined and aggressive and we take advantage of any opportunity to promote Brunswick Landing’s assets. We do a fair amount of direct marketing by attending key trade fairs such as JEC World, JEC Americas, and CAMX. We have a growing list of industry contacts and we work closely with our strategic partners on business attraction. Our partners include the Maine Composites Alliance, SMCC, CERL, Maine International Trade Center, University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center, and the State of Maine Department of Economic and Community Development. We also enjoy working with the press and media. We think we have a great story to tell.
You can also read the story on JEC’s website, but you’ll need a free subscription to do so.