Moulton tours Amesbury, Andover defense contractors

BRYAN EATON/Staff photoARC Technologies founder Dan Healey, right, gave state Rep. Jim Kelcourse, left, and U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton a tour of the Amesbury facility.

AMESBURY — U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton got a quick lesson in stealth technology Tuesday when he toured ARC Technologies on South Hunt Road.

The Salem Democrat, a former officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, serves on the House Armed Services Committee and toured the ARC Technologies and Raytheon manufacturing facilities in Amesbury and Andover, respectively, Tuesday.

“One of the things I learned in the Marines is that you have always got to know what is going on on the ground,” Moulton said.

“That is what we are working at here. I can sit in my chair at the Armed Services Committee in Washington and vote on multimillion-dollar provisions for fighter jets and other advanced technologies,” he added. “But to see here on the ground where these components are being manufactured gives you an important perspective on the whole process.”

Moulton was joined at the Amesbury facility by ARC Technologies founder Dan Healey and state Rep Jim Kelcourse, R-Amesbury.

ARC was founded in 1988 and manufactures radar-absorbing stealth materials for fighter jets, submarines and missiles.

Healey said his company, which is now owned by Hexcel Corp., employs roughly 175 people in the city, half of whom live locally.

“We started in a little mill building on 14 Cedar St. and we have slowly grown,” he said.

Moulton said the work done by ARC Technologies is “critically important” to the nation’s defense.

“Amesbury was manufacturing some of the most advanced carriages in the world about 120, 130 years ago,” Moulton said. “Now, Amesbury is manufacturing some of the most advanced materials in the world to go on some of the most advanced fighter jets we have ever seen.”

Moulton also toured the Raytheon plant in Andover where radar technology is developed.

“It’s fascinating to see some of the components that are at Raytheon that are being used today and then to come to Amesbury today to see what they are manufacturing,” Moulton said. “It is all in my district and people don’t realize it because you don’t have any major, active-duty bases in Massachusetts.

“People don’t realize how critical Massachusetts is to our national defense,” he said. “So many of the advancements in technologies that are used in our country and throughout the world by our military are developed right here in the 6th District.”

Moulton also took time Tuesday to highlight the importance of the National Defense Authorization Act, which was passed by the House, 220-197, on July 12. The Senate passed its version of the act, 86-8, on June 27, and it is now in conference committee.

“Every year we pass a bipartisan defense bill in Washington, D.C.,” Moulton said.

“But most people don’t appreciate just how much New England is a part of our national defense and how many jobs that bill affects here back in Massachusetts.”

Healey said Moulton’s visit was “very important” to his employees.

“This brings the morale up for these people and it lets them know the people care,” Healey said. “We make a good product here, we’ve got a great quality product.”

Kelcourse said Tuesday he is happy to work with Moulton.

“Having the congressman in the district shows us how much he wants to work with our state delegation and also our local businessmen and women within the community to make sure that we keep progress happening,” Kelcourse said. “We keep creating jobs and economic growth, not just here in the 1st Essex District but in the 6th Congressional District and beyond.”

“In the midst of this very divisive, partisan environment in America, this is a bipartisan delegation here,” Moulton added.

Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at jsullivan@newburyportnews.com or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.