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Member Highlights

ACMA member companies are doing great things. From community involvement to professional recognition, we want to highlight your achievements! Email us photos and a description of your charitable efforts, awards and other activities and we will post them here, so we can inspire others to follow your lead!

University of Tennessee Names School of Engineering after John Tickle

Strongwell chairman, pultrusion ambassador and 2012 ACMA Lifetime Achievement Award winner John Tickle believes that education is what fuels success, which is why he has remained committed to his alma mater, The University of Tennessee, for more than 50 years.

To honor his most recent support, the UT Board of Trustees voted to name the school’s College of Engineering after him. To put Tickle’s contributions to the school in perspective, the honor marks only the second time in its 222-year history UT has ever named one of its colleges.

The Tickle College of Engineering will now establish a graduate fellowship program that will fund up to 30 doctoral students. It will also provide for two new professorships and the expansion of student enrichment programs, along with the addition of up to nine professional advisors to boost support for students’ career goals.

“John wants our students to have the very best education and experience here so that they will graduate as the most versatile and well-trained professionals in their industries,” said Dean Wayne Davis.

To learn more about Tickle’s philanthropic legacy, check out the video below.

Students Tour Cape Coral Facility

Marine Concepts Students

On Friday, October 2, JRL Ventures, Inc. / Marine Concepts participated in a Manufacturers Day and opened its Cape Coral facility to students from five Lee County Schools. Manufacturers Day is a national day celebrating modern manufacturing that is meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers.

Students from Mariner High, Lee Virtual, Ida S. Baker High, Dunbar High and North Fort Myers High were given tours of the manufacturing facility, learned about the manufacturing industry and spoke with Vic and Tim at Marine Concepts (pictured left to right above) about the skills and certifications needed to work within the industry.

The tours were offered through the STEM@Work program, which is driven through a partnership between The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools and the Career and Technical Education Department of The Lee County School District. By touring JRL Ventures, Inc. / Marine Concepts and other local businesses, students from Lee County District High Schools experience on-the-job skills in local science, technology, engineering, and mathematics industries.

Strongwell Chairman And Past Acma President John Tickle Named To University Of Tennessee (Ut) Board Of Trustees

Strongwell Chairman and past ACMA President, John TickleThe University of Tennessee recently named current Strongwell Chairman and past ACMA President, John Tickle, to its Board of Trustees. Tickle will replace former UT trustee and board Vice Chairman Brian Ferguson, who resigned in April. He will serve on the UT board’s finance and administration committee, as well as the research, outreach and economic development committees. His appointment is through 2017. Tickle and his wife Ann, both UT alumni, have a strong history of supporting the university. They were named Philanthropists of the Year by the UT Development Council in 2010.

“John and Ann are long-time friends and supporters of the University of Tennessee, and as alumni, they both have a great affinity for UT and care deeply about its mission,” UT President Joe DiPietro said. “Because of that, and the proven leadership John will bring to his service on the board of trustees, his appointment is great news and I look very much forward to working with him.”

Economic growth organization elects ACMA board member Scott Becker President of its Board of Directors

The Growth Partnership for Ashtabula County, Ohio’s Executive Committee has elected Scott Becker its new board President. He will replace Jack Nettis, who resigned in August. Becker, who had been a member of the organization’s Executive Committee since 2011, is an ACMA board member and serves as President and CEO of Chromaflo Technologies, an ACMA member company that is a leading producer of colorants for coatings and thermoset plastics. He is also President of the Civic Development Corporation (CDC) of Ashtabula County, the county’s community development nonprofit.

Don Iannone, the Growth Partnership’s CEO, says he is looking forward to working closely with Becker, and views him as an important leader in Ashtabula County.

“He’s a role model,” Iannone said in an interview with Crain’s Cleveland Business. “He knows how to gain global advantage.”

The Growth Partnership for Ashtabula County assists businesses and boosting economic growth within northeastern Ohio. Becker says he wants to help move the Growth Partnership advance that mission, and wants to see the organization continue to lead local efforts to create the next generation of growth companies in Ashtabula County. He added that he sees a “vital link” between the job creation efforts of the Growth Partnership and the community development work done by the CDC.

“The intersection of economic development and community development is a dynamic one and vitally important to advancing communities and businesses,” Becker said.

Chromaflo President and CEO Wins Entrepreneur of the Year Award

EY has announced that President & CEO Scott Becker of Chromaflo Technologies Corp, one of the leading independent global suppliers of colorant systems, chemical and pigment dispersions, received the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2014 Award in the Distribution & Manufacturing category in Northeast Ohio. The award recognizes outstanding entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance, and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. Becker was selected by an independent panel of judges, and the award was presented at a special gala event at the Cleveland Convention Center on June 26, 2014.

The EY program, now in its 28th year, has honored the inspirational leadership of such entrepreneurs as Howard Schultz of Starbucks Coffee Company, Pierre Omidyar of eBay, Inc., and Mindy Grossman of HSN. Recent US national winners include Reid Hoffman and Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn; Hamdi Ulukaya, founder of Chobani; and 2013 winner Hamid Moghadam, CEO and Chairman of Prologis.

As a Northeast Ohio award winner, Scott Becker is now eligible for consideration for the Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014 national program. Award winners in several national categories, as well as the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Overall Award winner, will be announced at the annual awards gala in Palm Springs, California, on November 15, 2014. The awards are the culminating event of the EY Strategic Growth Forum®, the nation’s most prestigious gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies.

Boy Scouts Build Composite Canoes with ACMA Support


This May, over 65 Boy Scouts earned their Composite Merit Badge with the assistance of scout leaders, parents, volunteers from the Cascade Pacific Chapter of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and composite industry leaders. Through a program promoted by BSA called “Meriting with the Experts” the BSA partnered with companies and industry groups to help scouts complete certain badge requirements. The Composite Merit Badge was developed and sponsored by ACMA and other industry leaders.

The canoe project was hosted at Miles Fiberglass & Composites (MFC) in Clackamas, Oregon. Over two half day sessions in early May, the scouts built two fiberglass canoes in two different molds, along with 10 sets of paddles.  Miles Fiberglass staff members, along with volunteers from local ACMA, SME, and SAMPE organizations lent guidance to the mostly middle and high school level scouts in this effort.

The event was organized by Lou Dorworth, Manager of Abaris’ Direct Services Division, Bruce MacKender with SME, and Lori Luchak-Olund, President of Miles Fiberglass, along with Jeff Aradine, STEM Education Director with the Cascade Pacific Chapter of BSA. Materials were donated by Airtech International, Composite Fabrics of America (CFA), Fiber-Tech Industries, Composites One and MFC.

The canoe molds were prepared the day before the event; a gel coat resin was applied to the upper and lower mold halves of each canoe before the scouts arrived. The scouts then proceeded to cut and fit both non-woven glass mat and heavy glass roving in between layers of polyester resin sprayed onto the molds (by MFC staff supervisors) during the process. Ten pre-fabricated wooden paddle blanks were used and the paddle ends were covered with glass fabric wet-out with the same resin used to make the canoes. One paddle was made with carbon fabric to demonstrate the difference in the materials. After allowing the upper and lower canoe halves to partially cure overnight in the molds, the pieces were mated using the molds as fixtures and the two halves were tied together with glass strips from the inside, buoyancy bulkheads were installed and the ties were allowed to cure. After an hour of shop clean-up and much excitement, the canoes were de-molded and signed by the scouts and volunteers.

On May 5, one of the canoes was displayed at a local BSA fund raising luncheon held at the Portland Art Museum and attended by many supporters of the Cascade Pacific Chapter.  A short presentation of the composite merit badge project was given by Lou Dorworth and Lowell Miles, the founder of MFC.

Three of the scouts that participated were asked to weigh-in on the project. One of the boys stated that "it all started with molds and laying up fiberglass and KABOOM! The next thing we know we had canoes."

Composites Technology School Receives Equipment

Magnum Venus Products CEO Tom Hedger presented two new Patriot systems to the International Yacht Restoration School Composites Program, Bristol, RI. A chopper and gelcoat system were awarded the start-up program when it began a few years ago. Each student IYRS graduated has participated in hands on instruction in the use and maintenance of the systems.

Bill Wivell, MVP Sales Technician and CCT-Instructor, spends a few days training with each class. He says the students look forward to the segment because it gives them “real world” exposure of what they will see when they graduate. During each class, the Patriot chopper is put through its paces as the students are tasked with chopping a “satisfactory” laminate. Skin coats and build layers are made.

The Patriot’s precision as a gelcoater is surveyed as the students learn proper spray pattern development, pump pressures, and gelcoat application techniques.


International Yacht Restoration Composites Program fall class 2013 poses for photo after finishing the “Chopper” training.

The Patriot systems also see duty in a similar role as IYRS and ACMA team-up to provide a 3 day CCT certification seminar. The seminar combines the CCT classroom training with hands on experience preparing participants for the CCT exams.


MELBOURNE, FLORIDA: Scott Lewit, President and co-founder of Structural Composites, Inc was named Technology Executive of the Year at the Florida TechXpo in October. In addition Lewit was given a Congressional Medal of Merit from Congressman Bill Posey for the achievement. The Technology Executive of the Year award is presented to the technology executive whose leadership has made a positive impact in their industry.

Scott Lewit, company president says “ It is truly an honor to be selected for this award and to be recognized by Congress with a medal of merit. The excellent team at Structural Composites and our sister company Compsys deserve much of the credit for our success. We look forward to advancing US based manufacturing by providing advanced material solutions to meet the future needs of transportation, building construction and infrastructure restoration.”

Eng receives Committee Leadership Award from IPC

Recognized for leadership in helping revise printed circuit board specification

IPC-Association Connecting Electronics Industries®, recently awarded Douglas Eng, business development manager of PPG Industries’ (NYSE: PPG) fiber glass business, its Committee Leadership Award. The award was presented at the Surface Mount Technology Association (SMTA) International Conference and Exhibition (SMTA International) in Fort Worth, Texas.

Both Eng and Mike Bryant of BGF Industries received the award, recognizing their leadership of the 3-12d Woven Glass Reinforcement Task Group that developed IPC-4412B, Specification for Finished Fabric Woven from “E” Glass for Printed Boards.

“One of the key technical changes that we made in the specification was a revision in the dielectric constant (Dk),” Eng said. “Circuit designers want higher speed and less transmission loss, both of which are directly related to Dk. The lower Dk value reflects the latest industry measurements and is an important reference point when it comes to the base materials used to construct printed wiring boards.”

Eng has more than 25 years of experience in the electronics industry, and he has been an active member of IPC throughout his career. He has participated in the 3-12d task group since 1999, shortly after joining PPG’s fiber glass business, and he became vice chair of the group in 2012.

“Doug has a genuine commitment to the electronics industry,” said Terry Fry, PPG general manager, electronics, and Asia Pacific leader for fiber glass. “He uses his background and expertise to foster the health of the industry and to support the excellence and success of the electronics market. PPG has been a proud member and supporter of IPC – the premier, member-driven association for the electronics industry – since 1992.”


PHOTO CAPTION: Douglas Eng (left), business development manager of PPG Industries’ (NYSE: PPG) fiber glass business, receives an IPC Committee Leadership Award from John Mitchell, IPC president. The award recognized Eng’s leadership of the IPC 3-12d Woven Glass Reinforcement Task Group that developed IPC-4412B, Specification for Finished Fabric Woven from “E” Glass for Printed Boards.

IP Corporation Announces 2013 Scholars Award Winners


(St. Paul, MN – October 28, 2013) Bob DeRoma, IP Corporation’s Senior Vice President, today announced the 2013 recipients of the Scholars Award sponsored by IP Corporation in affiliation with the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA).

The five well-deserving high school graduates and their company affiliations are:

Megan Peck, Kingsport, Tennessee (Eastman Chemical Company); Rollins Wimber, Roseburg, Oregon (Orenco Systems Inc.); Claire Studebaker, Summerfield, North Carolina (Eastman Chemical Company); Katie Deal, Jonesborough, Tennessee (Eastman Chemical Company); Benjamin Jack, Kingsport, Tennessee (Eastman Chemical Company). Each winner receives $2,000 to be used towards their studies at a four-year college or university of their choice.

This is the thirteenth year IP Corporation has awarded the scholarships. “These young adults continue to amaze us with their exceptional academic achievements and their involvement in communities and charitable activities,” said Bob DeRoma, “We are proud to sponsor this scholarship program and honored to acknowledge the outstanding accomplishments of these five students.”

To be eligible for a Scholars Award, the applicant’s parents, legal guardian, or the student must be employed by an ACMA-member company and the student must be planning to attend an accredited four-year college or university. The selection of the Scholars Award winners is based on the individual’s personal merit and background, with an emphasis on excellence in academic and extracurricular activities. The scholarships must be used for tuition and/or required books, supplies and equipment.

Mar-Bal Recognized by Inc. Magazine

“Make no mistake: The Inc. 5000 was harder to get into this year than ever in its history … [with] results most companies could only dream of in the economy of the past three years,” said Eric Schurenberg, Inc. magazine editor in chief, in a congratulatory letter to the Inc. winners. "Not all the companies in the Inc. 500 | 5000 are in glamorous industries, but in their fields they are as famous as household name companies simply by virtue of being great at what they do. They are the hidden champions of job growth and innovation, the real muscle of the American economy,” further stated Eric Schurenberg.

“We are so proud to be part of the Inc. class of 2013. Our overall focus on talent development, process innovations and developing a comprehensive one-source solution for our customers has enabled us to experience a three-year organic growth rate and placed us among an elite group of successful companies,” said Scott Balogh, President and CEO at Mar-Bal, Inc.

In a stagnant economic environment, median growth rate of 2013 Inc. 500|5000 companies is an impressive 142 percent. The companies on this year’s list report having created over 520,000 jobs in the past three years, and aggregate revenue among the honorees reached $241 billion.

“The Inc. 500 | 5000 Conference was a truly incredible experience. The high caliber of speakers provided valuable insights and best business practices that we can evaluate and deploy within our culture to continue our momentum of growth,” stated Steven Balogh, Vice-President of Mar-Bal, Inc.

Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at

Matt Chambers Receives Florida Governors Business Ambassador Award

ACMA Board Member Matt Chambers received the Governors Business Ambassador Award for his work promoting manufacturing with JRL Ventures, Inc./Marine Concepts and his involvement with the SRMA (Southwest Regional Manufacturers Association). The award was created to recognize individuals and companies that have made significant contributions to the state of Florida’s economic development.

“It is an honor to receive the award,” said Chambers. “I will continue to support and fight for the rights and development of manufacturers in Florida. It is my aspiration to reach the government and show them how important small and large manufacturers are to the economy, and ultimately to Americans.”

John D. Tickle Receives Nathan W. Dougherty Award

John D. Tickle, chairman of Strongwell Corporation in Bristol, Va., and past president of ACMA, recently received the Nathan W. Dougherty Award from the College of Engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Tickle joins an elite group of engineers who have been honored for bringing honor and distinction to the college through their achievements and who have made significant contributions to the engineering profession in Tennessee through their professional activities.

Since 1957, recipients of the Nathan W. Dougherty Award have established themselves as pioneering engineers - inventors, managers, researchers, professors and leaders of industry. In their own right, each recipient's engineering prowess has advanced the engineering profession. Collectively, however, this grouping of professionals represents an echelon of engineering achievement that is truly outstanding.

“Thank you for inspiring us all to work even harder for this college and this university,” said Dorothy Barkley Bryson, Senior Director of Development.

John D. Tickle Building at University of Tennessee Slated to Open in August

A towering clay-colored pedestrian bridge may be the most obvious sign a visitor is standing near the University of Tennessee’s soon-to-be-finished John D. Tickle Building.

The walkway is meant to look like a suspension bridge, a staple of civil engineering feats, and will include large I-beams manufactured by the company founded by the building’s namesake.

“This is going to be a civil engineering building, and we want it, from the road driving down, to have more of an industrial look. We want it to look like an engineering building from the other parts of campus” said Wayne Davis, dean of the College of Engineering. “This concept of having a bridge is a beautiful way (to do that).”

The $23.1 million, 110,000-square-foot building will be the second engineering building to go up on campus in as many years. The Min H. Kao Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Building opened in fall 2011 thanks to a $17.5 million gift from its namesake, a co-founder of GPS company Garmin.

The college, however, has seen such enrollment growth in the last five years — a 37 percent uptick among undergraduates — that it will be filled to capacity as soon as it moves into the new Tickle building, Davis said. The college is close to completing its fundraising goal for a third engineering building that would replace either Perkins Hall or Estabrook and Pasqua halls.

The new building will follow the current state funding model requiring the university to contribute a portion of the funding. That means relying on private donations.

For many alumni like Tickle, the decision to give is both a sentimental and goal-oriented one. Tickle said he watches an online feed from a webcam on top of Neyland Stadium to check in on the progress almost daily.

“I’m a proud Tennessean, and I want our state to not be ranked at the bottom of the totem pole in areas like economic well-being, education and so forth,” Tickle said. “And we can do that through education. We need great students and to attract good students, we need wonderful talented, dedicated professors. And to attract them, you need great facilities.”

Tickle, a 1965 alum of the UT College of Engineering and owner of Strongwell Corp. in Bristol, Va., said he has long been giving to both the academic and athletic departments, beginning with a $100 gift within two years of graduation.

The university did not disclose the size of Tickle’s gift, only to say it was “significant.” The fiberglass-reinforced plastic beams being used in the bridge were donated by Strongwell, Tickle said.

The brick-and-glass building sits behind the Neyland Stadium off Neyland Drive, and across from the UT boathouse. Views from the river are featured throughout the building — from a large fifth-floor conference room, the multistory atrium, faculty offices and even the large picture windows positioned at the end of every hallway.

“We designed it so when you’re walking down a hallway, you’re not seeing dead ends,” said lead architect Duane Grieve, principal at Grieve Associates Architects.

The building is slated to be finished in late May, and students will begin using it this fall, Davis said.

John D. Tickle Building

Cost: $23.1 million
Square footage: 110,000
Opening: Aug. 1
Planned occupants: Civil and environmental engineering on the first through fourth floors, and industrial and systems engineering on the fifth floor.
Number of classrooms: Three conventional classrooms, including one large lecture hall
Number of labs: 18

Structural Composites Wins 2nd Congressional Medal of Merit

Structural Composites was awarded the Congressional Medal of Merit by Congressman Bill Posey (15th District of Florida) on Oct. 8, 2012. The Innovative Technology Award recognizes the achievement Structural Composites has made in developing and prototyping an Advanced Combatant Craft for the U.S. Navy.

President Scott Lewit says, "Performance improvement, reduction of acquisition cost and reducing operational costs are major focus areas for our military and we are glad to play a role in supporting this important mission. We are also leveraging this same low cost technology to reduce the cost and improve the efficiency of recreational boats, RVs, buses and trucks. We believe that these improvements are essential to helping industry adapt to the reality of today's fuel prices and, perhaps as importantly, to be ready for the alternative propulsion systems of the future. "

Lewit continues "We are honored to receive this very special award. I want to recognize the contribution we have received from the Navy technical community at the Combatant Craft Division of NSWC and our team members (SCRA, Brunswick Boats, Lockheed Martin and Zodiac Boats). I also want to give special thanks to the State of Florida for supporting innovation and job creation and the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research which provided grant funding to further enhance our federally funded efforts. "

John Tickle, a past president of ACMA and chairman of the board of Strongwell Corp., and his wife, Ann, a member of the Strongwell Board of Directors, were honored by the University of Tennessee with a Distinguished Alumnus Award.

“John and Ann Tickle exemplify the spirit of giving back. While their financial contributions have made an immediate and noticeable impact on campus, they continue to show their love for their alma mater and giving of their time and enthusiasm – an act that goes even beyond their significant personal gifts to the university. They are advocates for higher education – and UT in particular – with their voices being heard in their communities as well as in Nashville.

”Ann has always had a deep passion for education. Not only was it her academic major, it was also the focus of her career as host of the popular television show Romper Room. Pre-dating Sesame Street, the show was an educationally based program that taught basic skills and encouraged young minds.

“John used his engineering background to build a successful manufacturing company, Strongwell Corp., on principles of integrity and solid hard work. John, who earned the rank of Eagle Scout, received the Heroism Award from the National Court of Honor of the Boy Scouts of America in June 2012. Together, they are a team with personal values that have led them to achieve excellence in all they do.

“The Tickles served as vice chairs for the recent Campaign for Tennessee. John also serves on the Engineering Campaign Executive Committee, the College of Engineering’s Board of Advisors and the UT Athletics Board. Ann has been an active member of the Development Council and Alliance of Women Philanthropists.”

In the News: Spotlighting the Newest Class of FRP Specialists

On April 25, 2012, 60 second grade students with parents and staff of Holston View Elementary visited Strongwell-Bristol. These young children were invited by Strongwell to learn more about the manufacturing of fiberglass composites and to see the plant where several of their parents work.

During their visit, David Oakley (CEO- Strongwell), illustrated the endless applications of composites/FRP products in the global economy. Dan Smith (Regional Sales Manager), Ed Balaban(Fabrication Sales Manager), Cliff Wyatt (Regional Sales Manager), Melissa Harrison (Estimator- Bristol), Janet Walters (International Customer Service Manager), and Tom Rosser (Vice- President of Sales) gave the students a tour of the plant while showing them the layup and pultrusion process from concept to completion. At the conclusion of the tour, each student and chaperone received a goodie bag filled with an assortment of Strongwell memorabilia.

Strongwell has always been an eager advocate of promoting FRP education, the role of manufacturing and small business operations to our community’s future leaders in our local schools. Many thanks to Holston View for visiting us!


ACMA member, Ashland Performance Materials, in Dublin, Ohio, hosted the Boy Scouts of Troop 200 to help them complete the prerequisites to earn their Chemistry & Composites Merit Badges. The Scouts were treated to a plant tour, learned about the safe handling of chemicals, got hands-on experience making composite castings and learned about sustainability from a dill pickle light bulb.

Ashland employees donated a day of their free time to give the Scouts practical exposure to chemistry and composites.

See a slide presentation created by Technical Service Representative Bob Moffitt, CCT.

John Tickle Receives Jeff Byrd Spirit Award

John Tickle, immediate past president of ACMA and chairman of the board of  Strongwell Corp., was honored with the United Way of Bristol's inaugural Jeff Byrd Spirit of Giving Award.

Tickle topped an extensive list of honorees during the agency's annual meeting and awards luncheon. The new award was given in honor of the late president and general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway, who was involved in the local United Way and a wide variety of other community organizations and died in October.

“There are many people who called to check on Jeff, but John was one of the first,” said Jerry Caldwell, the speedway’s executive vice president and general manager. “One of the first to offer anything at his disposal was John Tickle. He [Byrd] would be very pleased.”

A longtime United Way supporter and fundraiser, Tickle and his wife, Ann, chaired this year's campaign for the most generous individual donors. His firm also was one of 14 to receive the President's Award, because at least 90 percent of its employees contributed one hour's salary a week to the United Way.