When I walked the exhibit hall at CAMX 2022 in Anaheim, Calif., and talked to industry professionals at networking events, I was pleasantly surprised at the overall optimistic outlook. A lot of manufacturers – particularly those involved in infrastructure, aerospace and industrial markets – are bullish about 2023. That’s good news for the composites industry.

In this issue of Composites Manufacturing magazine, four consultants share their insight for 2023 and beyond in the annual State of the Industry Report on page 15. The outlook isn’t all rosy. There will certainly be challenges, and people remain concerned about the uncertain economy, disruptions in the supply chain and the ability to find, hire, train and retain skilled workers. That’s why it’s more important than ever to get involved with ACMA.

Our association is taking the lead on several important topics. ACMA completed a comprehensive strategic plan, and two focus areas stand out in addition to the traditional emphasis on advocacy and industry growth – sustainability and workforce development. First, ACMA is picking up the flag and taking a strong leadership role for sustainability in our industry.

We have always believed composites are the most sustainable option, but through ACMA leadership members will now have the tools to substantiate that and identify areas for improvement within their business. Rather than delve into the details here, I encourage you to read the first installment of a new column launching this month in the magazine – Focus on Sustainability (page 3). The column will cover external climate-driven factors affecting composite markets and industry programs developed in response.

Leaders at ACMA are also strategizing about how to help members with workforce development. The COVID-19 pandemic was a tipping point for manufacturing in the U.S., with many elements coming back to American soil due to supply chain issues and other concerns. More than ever, we need qualified, skilled workers, and the association is pursuing avenues to help develop those workers. Stay tuned throughout the year for more on this topic.

Like my peers at CAMX 2022, I am cautiously optimistic about this year. At times, it may seem like we’re slogging through mud puddles. But we will make it through, stronger than ever.