CAMX 2017 General Session Highlights Disruptive Innovation in the Composites and Advanced Materials Industry

Three composites industry innovators in aerospace, construction and marine explore composites and advanced materials’ propensity to spawn innovation and disrupt major markets.

December 12, 2017 (Orlando, Fla.) – The fourth annual CAMX – The Composites and Advanced Materials Expo, the premier composites and advanced materials conference and trade show in North America, began today with the CAMX Live! General Session, featuring insights from three individuals who have helped change the way the world looks at composites through their incredible industry achievements.

This year’s speakers, Boom Technology Aerostructures Engineer Kerry Manning, Composites Building Structures President/CEO James Antonic, and Oracle Team USA Designer Kurt Jordan, have all been part of a growing trend in the composites industry – “disruptive innovation.” The concept refers to the creation of new technology that redefine the paradigm of a particular market’s supply chain.

“Two years ago, during CAMX 2015, we learned that in order for the composites industry to experience transformational change, businesses should invest time and resources to develop the next wave of market-ready innovation,” said Heather Rhoderick, CAMX Show Director. “This year, our CAMX Live! presenters introduced attendees to a new world of possibilities.”

Jordan has engineered composite yachts for the last eight Americas Cup’s, the last two for the Oracle Team USA, and including the winning team in 2007 and 2013. Oracle Team USA’s use of composites has paved the way for the materials to become a staple for building foiling catamaran’s for the America’s Cup. Composite construction allows sailors to maintain speed, maximize efficiency, and minimize energy loss. As teams are beginning to unveil their designs for the next America’s Cup in 2021, composites will once again be the primary building material for many teams.

“All the predictions indicate that these catamarans will be faster than the ones we were racing [this] summer,” said Jordan. “Whether you’re a fan of yachting or a fan of the aggressive use of composite materials, I recommend that you watch what happens in the America’s Cup in the next three years.”

Manning is the lead on aircraft structures for Boom Technology, which recently unveiled the completed design of the XB-1 Supersonic Demonstrator, the prototype of a composite-intensive, supersonic passenger airliner. When it flies next year, the XB-1 will be the world’s fastest civil aircraft, and it will demonstrate in flight the key technologies for mainstream supersonic travel. Recently, the company signed an agreement with Japan Airlines that could help the aircraft reach service by the mid-2020s.

“Not only has Japan Airlines taken options on 20 of the aircraft, but they’re also investing in Boom,” says Manning. “Having flown from Tokyo to Denver, I look forward to making that trip in half the time.”

Antonic describes his work as “creating a new paradigm in building and construction.” For the past 15 years, he and his company have developed sustainable parts to replace wood, steel and concrete and assembled into custom buildings serving two markets: disaster resistant buildings and low-cost social housing. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Antonic spread awareness of his company’s fiberglass building system that can withstand 300 mph winds. In the wake of a destruction 2017 hurricane season, Antonic’s presentation greatly resonated with CAMX attendees.

“At the end of the day, this is the only world we’ve got and we must find ways to take care of it when meeting challenges that we all face together,” said Antonic.

To learn more about how the composites industry is working to change the landscape of markets, CAMX attendees are encouraged to browse the Exhibit Hall from today through December 14 for access to the industry’s newest products and processes. Additionally, education sessions will take place from now until the end of the show. Learn more at or by downloading the CAMX app.