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From left are U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte and U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen with Gov. Maggie Hassan as Peter Antoinette, president and CEO of Nanocomp Technologies, explains his company's manufacturing capabilities during an announcement of tripling its manufacturing capacity on Friday in Merrimack. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)

Merrimack-based Nanocomp set to expand workforce, facility

MERRIMACK — Continuing to create innovative products that help save lives and reduce energy, Nanocomp Technologies will not only be hiring 70 employees within the next year, but also plans to add 115 more workers by 2018.

“By the time we are done, we will have over 250 employees,” said Peter Antoinette, president and CEO at Nanocomp, 57 Daniel Webster Highway.

On Friday, the company celebrated with local and state officials, highlighting Nanocomp’s plans to add 30,000 square feet to the facility by December, and then begin a second phase that will add another 40,000 square feet by 2018.

Nanocomp, a company that produces carbon-based advanced materials, will use $18.5 million in federal funds from the Defense Production Act Title III program to complete the expansion and hire additional workers.

“This is the door to the future for us,” Antoinette told Gov. Maggie Hassan, U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte and U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen during a tour of the manufacturing floor and the new space that is under construction.

As the only commercial producer of carbon nanotube-based sheets, tapes and yarn, Nanocomp is working to reduce the weight of body armor while maintaining the level of performance soldiers, law enforcement and firefighters need. Nanocomp materials are also being used to replace heavy copper, providing beneficial applications across the aviation, defense, automotive, energy and consumer markets. Their products are being used by the U.S. Air Force, Army, and Marines, said Antoinette.

The company’s growth, according to its president, is because of a successful private-public partnership with the federal government.

“Manufacturing continues to be the backbone of our state’s economy,” said Jeffrey Rose, commissioner of the state Department of Resources and Economic Development. “It is our largest sector within New Hampshire’s economy, and this really is an exciting development.”

There continues to be a resurgence of manufacturing growth in the state as companies are growing, and younger generations are learning that there are good job opportunities in the manufacturing field, said Rose.

Hundreds of people gathered for Friday’s ground-breaking to celebrate the start of construction, including several local police and fire officials.

“The first job of government is to make sure we are all safe,” said Hassan, commending Nanocomp for creating advanced materials with innovative applications. “It is really exciting to see the growth here.”

Nanocomp’s expansion and hiring of more employees in the next four years will help keep New Hampshire competitive in the technology field, according to Shaheen, who described the company’s products as “impressive.”

The groundbreaking took place on the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, noted Ayotte, who said the technology being manufactured in Merrimack is helping to keep the nation’s men and women in uniform even safer.

“We want them to have the very best technology and protection,” said Ayotte. “We always want to be on the forefront.”

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