Powder Coater Testifies Before U.S. Congress
23. June 2011
U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern held hearings in which Bell's Powder Coating owner Paul Belham testified about funding cuts.
Paul Belham, who owns Bell's Powder Coating along with his wife Nancy in North Attleboro, MA, testified June 20 before several U.S. Congressmen in Washington D.C. in support of Trade Adjustment Assistance Centers, which has lost funding for the 2012 federal budget.
The informational briefing was coordinated with 174 U.S. Congressmen who are part of the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition, which includes representatives from 18 Northeastern and Midwestern states. The group is co-chaired by Rep. Jim McGovern and Ohio Rep. Steven LaTourette and the House Manufacturing Task Force.
Received $75,000 grant
Bell's Powder Coating received a $75,000 grant in 2010 from the New England Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (which Belham had to match with his own funding) for additional marketing of the business and to improve the company's efficiency.
"I talked about how important the grant was because we're competing with offshore markets. In the last four to five years, business has declined 25 to 40 percent," Bell told Sun Chronicle newspaper.
Belham was selected for his involvement in reshoring initiatives. In October 2009, he contacted Rep. McGovern (3rd Massachusetts) about his company’s business losses to Chinese competitors. McGovern arranged for a meeting with Belham and a cluster of small manufacturers located in North Attelboro so that they could hear the manufacturers issues first hand.
It was at this meeting that Bell's Powder Coating found out they qualified for a NETAAC trade assistance grant, which subsequently allowed him to work with the MassMEP’s Next Generation Manufacturing program. Belham said that his business “had an immediate ROI and that in some respects that he could now start competing with off shore markets.”
Senators Kerry, Brown join McGovern
Senators John Kerry and Scott Brown joined with Rep. McGovern in assisting Bell's Powder Coating in their grant application.
“This investment will help Bells Powder Coating and its 17 workers continue to fuel to North Attleborough’s economy. I’m pleased that the Department of Commerce recognized the urgent needs of Massachusetts companies and is providing the help needed to remain competitive at home and around the world,” said Senator Kerry.
“Massachusetts’ manufacturers are an important economic engine in our state, and I am pleased that the Commerce Department has provided this targeted assistance to help keep them competitive in the global marketplace,” said Senator Brown.
“Bells Powder Coating is an important participant in North Attleborough’s economy,” Rep. McGovern said. “This Department of Commerce money will help Paul Belham and his team continues to remain competitive and to grow.”