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November 8, 2016


Statesville, NC — Highland Composites, a state-of-the-art advanced manufacturer of composites structures in Statesville, recently attained their AS 9100C registration which is an aerospace standard based on ISO 9001 quality management system requirements. Highland Composites is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Highland Industries that was formed in 2013 to focus on the composites products. With the achievement of AS 9100C registration, Highland Composites will enter the aerospace market as a preferred supplier.

“This is a great sense of accomplishment for us,” says Lee Woodward, Continuous Improvement Manager for Highland Composites. “We knew if we wanted to enter the aerospace market and become a preferred supplier, we’d have to achieve this quality standard, so we embarked on the journey when the company was just forming.”

With direction and guidance from NC State Industry Expansion Solutions (IES), an aggressive implementation timeline was possible.  After less than 12 months from project kick-off to Stage 2 audit, Highland Composites was able to implement all the requirements of an AS 9100C certified quality management system.  

“We chose to work with IES because they had the knowledge, expertise and success record we wanted,” added Woodward. “We wanted to partner with someone who would help us develop our own customized quality management system from the ground up.”  

When Woodward and his implementation team began to develop the policies and procedures for their quality management system, the company had fewer than ten employees working in the near-empty shell building. Now, Highland Composites employs more than 50 people, and the 63,000-square-foot facility is humming with a variety of state-of-the-art machines.  All employees have been trained on and fully embrace the quality objectives and processes for their work area.

“We’re proud of the commitment we made to quality during this long and difficult process,” said Woodward.  “All of our employees had to be open to constructive criticism and audits of all of their work.” But that hard work is already paying off, as Highland Composites works with a number of different aviation companies who are interested in their products.


About the AS 9100 Registration

Because of the possibilities of catastrophic results of product failure, the aviation and aerospace industry mandates that suppliers meet high quality standards. All major aerospace manufacturers and suppliers worldwide, as well as major aircraft engine manufacturers, require registration to the AS 9100 standard as a condition to do business with the industry. Achieving registration provides credibility as a potential supplier. Especially so with small firms, AS 9100 demonstrates to potential aviation and aerospace customers a true commitment to the industries. Many prime contractors require registration before even considering a bid. Without registration, companies may be automatically locked out of competition in most of the aviation and aerospace supply chain.

About Highland Composites

Highland Composites is the composites materials division of Highland Industries, specializing in the conception, design, and delivery of high-performance structural products for aerospace, automotive, consumer goods, energy, medical, military, and other applications. The division operates from a state-of-the-art composites manufacturing facility in Statesville, NC with an initial 63,000 sq. ft. build-out and plans to expand to 188,000 sq. ft. For more information on the division, visit

About IES

Industry Expansion Solutions (IES) is the engineering-based, solutions-driven, client-focused unit of NC State University. Our broad portfolio and deep industry expertise help organizations grow, innovate and prosper. Our extensive partnerships with business, industry, education and government generate a unique culture of collaboration that provides access to cutting-edge expertise, research, and technology. 

Contact:  Teresa Bradford, Director of Marketing,

Media Contact:  Beth Gargan, Public Relations Manager,