TREVOR — Although you likely won’t see any rockets going up to space anytime soon in the Trevor, a small business there is still making their mark in space.
That’s because cork produced at Amorim Cork Composites, a business of around 70 employees in Trevor, is an integral part of holding together spacecraft.
“Pretty much anything that’s going up, we got our name on it,” said Andrew Lovely, an aerospace sales manager at Amorim.
U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Janesville, made a visit to Amorim, 26112 110th St., Thursday morning. Employees at this site have been producing cork since the 1940s. Amorim Cork, based in Portugal, bought the company around 20 years ago.
Amorim Cork is the largest manufacturer of cork in the world.
Steil first learned about the company at a Washington, D.C., conference for suppliers making components for spacecraft.
Amorim gets contracts from NASA as well as private companies, such as SpaceX, Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin.
“I don’t think we always appreciate the unique companies that we have (in Wisconsin),” Steil said after the tour. “We need to have companies in our community that are always looking to expand.”
Steil met many employees who have been working in the Trevor facility for more than 20 years.
“It’s a testament to the culture of the company. People are proud to work for a company that treats them well,” Steil said.
The first politician
Amorim has had multiple visits from astronauts and other members of the space community over the years, but never a visit from a politician.
Amorim’s president Bill Famiglietti, who first met Steil in Washington, said Steil was also the only politician who met with the company face-to-face when they met with representatives during the conference.
Famiglietti said he explained to Steil on Thursday why the company has been successful.
“Our culture of having people here 15, 20, 25 years ... that’s successful for us, our growth plans and how we want to continue to grow and stay here in Wisconsin,” Famiglietti said.
Chris Schenck, a sales manager, said he was excited to see Steil Thursday morning.
“It’s fantastic to have someone that represents the state, and can get an idea of what it is we do, how we do it, and being connected to the people that represent you. That’s an exciting thing,” he said.
Steil said having a workforce that can take on jobs that are in demand is an important goal for him.
“Employers are coming here and looking to hire folks, and we’re finally starting to see that competition for labor,” he said. “How do we make sure we have a prepared workforce to take the jobs that are here?”
Steil also said he will work to ensure companies like Amorim continue to grow.
“That’s really the focus for me in Washington, is making sure we have federal policies in place to encourage businesses to hire, to expand right here in our backyard,” he said.
Steil said having competitive tax policies and low health-care costs while making sure individuals are prepared for jobs available will help.
Steil is also meeting with UW-Parkside Chancellor Deborah Ford, Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis and Pleasant Prairie officials this week.