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NY congresswoman hosts visit by Defense personnel to local technology facility

Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., attends a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

CARLOS BONGIOANNI/STARS AND STRIPES

By JOE LOTEMPLIO | The Press-Republican, Plattsburgh, N.Y. | Published: June 1, 2019

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (Tribune News Service) — Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., hosted Assistant Secretary of the Navy James Geurts on a visit to Norsk Titanium that she hopes will lead to big business for the cutting-edge technology company.

"My hope is that this is a growth opportunity for Norsk to work with the Department of Defense," Stefanik said Thursday.

"I hope that DOD was very impressed, and we can identify opportunities for Norsk Titanium."

TECHNOLOGY TOUTED

Stefanik and a contingent of U.S. Navy and DOD officials toured the Norsk Titanium facilities recently to become more knowledgeable about its operation and to discuss requirements the company must meet in order to secure government contracts.

Norsk Titanium produces titanium-aerospace components using a proprietary 3-D printing process known as additive manufacturing.

The government is looking to do more business with that type of firm.

"Additive manufacturing parts and components save time and resources, enable more expedient maintenance and mission readiness and save lives," Stefanik said."

As the ranking member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee responsible for the Department of Defense science and technology efforts, Stefanik said she works to prioritize advanced manufacturing efforts in the National Defense Authorization Act, including the establishment of Defense Manufacturing Institutes and additional funding for additive manufacturing technologies.

'HUGE OPPORTUNITY'

In the recently released House Defense Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2020, more than $400 million has been designated for manufacturing technology initiatives, including an additional $63 million for additive manufacturing.

Stefanik's efforts follow U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer's work in late 2017 to get language included in the National Defense Authorization Act that would require the DOD to develop and improve additive manufacturing.

Stefanik said Norsk stands to benefit from the funding available for projects and equipment.

"This is a huge opportunity for Norsk," she said.

"This is incredibly important for them, and we want to continue to work to identify growth opportunities for them."

EXPANDING

Norsk is fast becoming a leader in the aerospace industry, Stefanik said, and DOD has great interest in doing business with them.

"Advanced manufacturing is already changing how the Navy and Marine Corps design, produce and support capabilities to increase agility and reduce cost," Assistant Secretary to the Navy Guerts said.

"We are actively expanding our advanced manufacturing network and supplier base to accelerate the revolutionary impact that advanced manufacturing provides our sailors and marines operating around the world."

NEXT STEPS

North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas, who joined Stefanik and the DOD contingent on the Norsk tour, said the chamber has been working for the past two years to get opportunities for companies like Norsk.

"Two years ago, the chamber and Norsk asked Congresswoman Stefanik and Sen. Schumer to obtain language in the Defense Bill, launching heightened attention by the Defense Department to the potential for additive technologies like Norsk's to play a role in the production of defense equipment," Douglas said.

"They did so, and last week's high-level visit by a team of seven personnel from DOD was a next step in exploring how Norsk might engage in defense procurement."

Douglas said the discussion was very practical and encouraging, with several follow-ups now expected.

"We cannot thank Congresswoman Stefanik enough for making this happen and getting this dialogue started," Douglas said.

Stefanik said DOD also likes to do business with industry groupings, such as the transportation cluster in which Plattsburgh has positioned itself over the past two decades with area companies like Bombardier and Nova Bus.

"And our workforce is one of our strongest characteristics," she said.

"I think we will see some takeaways from this sooner rather than later."

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