Congressman tours Carson City defense manufacturer

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A huge 48-star U.S. flag hangs from the ceiling of the production building at Click Bond Inc. Its employees wanted a flag after Sept. 11, so co-owner Collie Hutter pulled from storage the flag that draped her husband's grandfather's casket when he was buried at Arlington Cemetery.

A medical doctor in World War I under Gen. John "Blackjack" Pershing, Charlie Hutter's grandfather's flag is one reminder at Click Bond of service to the country.

Another reminder visible Tuesday was U.S. Rep. Jim Gibbons. A veteran of the Gulf War and a commercial pilot for more than 17 years, Gibbons spoke during the hour and 1/2 tour through Click Bond's facilities of the importance of supporting and expanding the defense industry.

Gibbons, R-Nev., commended Click Bond, a Carson City company located near the airport that manufactures composite fasteners -- mainly for the defense and aeronautic industries, but also for various other industries, like race cars and ambulances -- for its contribution to the defense industry.

Click Bond also supplied fasteners for flak blankets for ships during the Gulf War.

"America doesn't really understand defense programs," Gibbons said. "Expanding our defense program is critical to the nation."

The congressman also expressed support for F-22 and Global Hawks programs, saying defense programs must continue to be developed, otherwise costs would escalate "to the point where you can't afford them."

Click Bond, which benefits companies by eliminating the need to drill holes into material for fastening, uses a combination of pressure and adhesive for fastening. The company designs fasteners of composite materials, most often to match the material to be fastened to.

As a result, frequencies of vibrations and expansion and contraction rates are similar, meaning essentially the materials are breathing at the same time. According to James Stemler, vice-president of sales for Click Bond, the fasteners eliminate the possibility of corrosion and reduces labor time for companies and their employees as well.

"It takes 20 percent of the time to accomplish a task," Stemler said. "It increases production rates and people can do more tasks."

Gibbons was warmly welcomed at Click Bond and shook hands with several employees. "We were delighted to show him what we were doing on defense-related projects," Click Bond owner Collie Hutter said. "He was asking very good, very knowledgeable questions. I was impressed."

Gibbons asked if bonding to a surface creates stress and if adhesives cause chemical reactions.

Hutter said it was good to have someone so knowledgeable in the field voting on defense-related issues in Washington. "There aren't that many people in Congress who have that much flying experience."

Gibbons, who has years of both commercial and defense-related aircraft experience, is a member of the Armed Services Committee and vice chairman of the Terrorism and Homeland Security subcommittee.

Most of the workers at Click Bond come from Reno, Carson City, Gardnerville and Silver Springs. The company's sales are primarily national, with 25 percent of sales being international.

"I think it's important to the workers to see they have support in Washington, that Click Bond as a company has support in Washington and to see a congressman coming out in the community," Stemler said.


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