Composite Prototyping Center lands a big one

Materialistic: Executive Director Leonard Poveromo (right) and a fiberglass bumper hold court during a recent Composite Protyping Center training session.

Plainview’s Composite Prototyping Center is welcoming “the world leader in advanced composite training” into the fold.

The CPC announced this week that Nevada-based Abaris Training Resources, a 35-year veteran provider of training programs focused on composites-based engineering, manufacturing and repair, will close its only East Coast training site, located in Georgia, and transfer operations to CPC’s 25,000-square-foot facility.

The CPC – where manufacturing-focused workforce development, prototyping and hands-on technical training in advanced composites are always in play – has been “aware of Abaris for a long time,” noted Executive Director Leonard Poveromo, who said the training titan “didn’t have much capacity” in its outdated Georgia facility, and his Plainview-based operation fit the bill.

Among other sophisticated tech, the exec trumpeted the CPC’s Automated Fiber Placement Robot, RTM/VARTM Resin Injection/Infusion System and CNC Router, complete with five-axis alignment-verification system, ideal for milling and machining – all of which sounds pretty amazing, and sounded about right to expansion-minded Abaris.

“We have almost $15 million worth of equipment and facility here,” Poveromo told Innovate LI. “They want to expand into using more advanced composite materials and processing equipment, and they needed to work with somebody that had that kind of capacity.

“And that’s us.”

Leonard Poveromo: Big step for the CPC.

Abaris President Michael Hoke, who toured the CPC in January along with Abaris Chief Technical Instructor Dave Castellar, said relocating the training firm’s East Coast operations from Atlanta Aerospace – the Federal Aviation Administration-authorized composite/electrical/sewing/welding shop Abaris called home for nearly two decades – is all about reaching the next level.

“We have been conducting our training at Atlanta Aerospace Composite in Griffin for almost 20 years and enjoyed an excellent relationship,” Hoke said in a statement. “The sole reason for bringing our operation to CPC is to support our growth objectives in offering new courses that continue to meet the needs of the advanced composite manufacturing and repair communities.”

Poveromo said he and the Abaris team became familiar through their mutual memberships with the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation, a Tennessee-based nonprofit that engages regional workforce-development and trade organizations supporting composites-focused industries. The CPC is the IACMI’s Designated Northeast Center.

The transfer of “what equipment they do have” should be completed this month, Poveromo added, and while Abaris is “essentially partnering with us” – customer bases are expected to collide fruitfully – there is an undisclosed “financial arrangement” through which Abaris is essentially paying rent.

“We’re going to continue to work independently,” Poveromo said. “They have their own client list. But they do advertise internationally, and they will be bringing in people that otherwise would never have come to the CPC.”

Abaris, which launched in 1983, counts the U.S. Department of Defense, NASA and the national aerospace industry among its primary clients, including on-site training programs for the JetBlue Airways Corp. at LaGuardia Airport.

On Georgia’s mind: The CPC offered what Atlanta Aerospace could not, according to Abaris Training Resources.

But its interests are decidedly international. The company has trained over 24,000 students across diverse industries ranging from aerospace and automotive to marine and wind energy and currently offers 22-plus courses related to the engineering, manufacturing, repair and non-destructive inspection of advanced composite structures, at training facilities in Brazil, the Netherlands and Reno, in its home state of Nevada.

In Plainview, there’s more than enough room at the inn, according to Poveromo, who said Abaris’ arrival on Long Island is more about time than space. The training company will occupy an office and some laboratory space at the CPC, but its permanent staff is minimal – Poveromo counted “two or three instructors,” though Hoke predicted more Long Island-based hires coming soon – and its equipment needs, while plentiful, come in small and easily scheduled bursts.

Training programs are taught in classes of roughly 20 students and run for one or two weeks each – so the trick for the CPC, Poveromo said, is to juggle schedules, giving Abaris the hands-on time it needs with the CPC’s state-of-the-art machinery without gumming up the center’s existing training and manufacturing schedules.

Poveromo is confident the schedules will mesh like finely fit gears. He’s also pleased with the progress the CPC is making in installing “specific repair stations” Abaris requires for its training regimens.

“We will have all the capital equipment we will need to add,” Poveromo said.

The first two training slots reserved by Abaris, one in August and one in the fall, filled up fast – a good indicator that the Nevada training expert made a wise move in selecting the CPC, according to Poveromo, who also senses good tidings for the rising Plainview facility and a regional manufacturing base than can only benefit from some international attention.

“They only just started advertising it, and quickly filled up the first classes,” Poveromo said. “And that’s just the first step. They will bring in clients who will get to see the facility and the capabilities we have, and it will certainly be a boon for us.

“This is a big part of our mission, which is about training and workforce development for this region,” he added. “This is a big step in the right direction.”

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