American manufacturing is in the midst of a renaissance. As countries like China have industrialized, their cost of living has risen, along with their costs to produce goods exported around the world. This trend coupled with the rapid development of technology that multiplies the efficiency and precision of manufacturing is creating a new paradigm across the industry.
Just like people left farms in previous centuries to find jobs in industrial manufacturing, the job market in advance manufacturing has the potential of producing another migration towards this sophisticated and high paying sector.
David Nesbitt’s Matrix Composites is one such example of the state’s burgeoning number of high tech manufacturers. Nesbitt came to the area as an ocean engineering student at Florida Tech in 1983, one of the few schools to offer the major at that time. Of course he also admits that when he saw the school’s brochure featuring palm trees and beaches, it wasn’t a hard sell for someone living in upstate New York.
After graduation he moved to South Florida then returned to the area in 1992 to start Matrix Composites. A composite material is a substance made from two or more constituent materials which have different physical or chemical properties that, when combined, produce a material with characteristics different from the individual materials, in addition to being lighter, stronger and more durable. It is essentially fiberglass on steroids and can be used to manufacture not only the wings and fuselage of jet aircraft or automobile bodies, but parts of their engines as well.
Having qualified as a supplier for Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and others, including commercial space corporations, Matrix is preparing for geometric growth, as the area becomes a center for both the manufacture and the design of the world’s most sophisticated aircraft and spacecraft. [www.matrixcomp.com]