Bridge-In-A-Backpack spinoff company signs North American marketing and distribution agreement with international construction and engineering firm Terre Armee Internationale

Contact: Josh Plourde, jp@maine.edu, 207.951.5650

Orono, Maine — Advanced Infrastructure Technologies (AIT), a University of Maine spinoff company, has signed an exclusive distribution and marketing agreement for North America with Terre Armee Group/Reinforced Earth Company (TA/RECo). This formative agreement will help grow adoption of UMaine’s patented composite arch bridge technology in North America, with the intent to expand into international markets.

AIT is a leading producer of innovative composite arch bridge solutions, aiming to provide cost-effective and high-quality composite bridge solutions that meet complex design, durability and environmental challenges. AIT commercializes the composite arch bridge technology developed by the UMaine Advanced Structures and Composites Center originally known as Bridge-In-A-Backpack TM.

The Terre Armee Group operates through more than 30 companies in 60 countries. The company is best known for its work in the mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) market, where it has completed over 50 million square feet of retaining walls around the world in its 45-year history. TA is part of the Soletanche Freyssinet (SF) Group, with more than 22,000 employees working in more than 100 countries, and annual revenues exceeding $3 billion. SF is a multinational civil engineering group specializing in bridges, retaining walls, concrete repair, ground improvement and deep foundations.

“Being the inventor and world leader of the MSE retaining wall market gives us a strong platform for expanding the use of new technologies,” said Roger Bloomfield, CEO of the Terre Armee Group. “In recent years, we have annually averaged a supply of over 200,000 square meters of precast concrete arches. Adding the composite arch bridge system to our portfolio is an exciting development that will fuel the growth of both Terre Armee and AIT in the coming years.”

“This exclusive partnership with TA will strengthen our presence in the U.S. and Canada by leveraging their long-term and extensive market share by adding personnel resources and financial strength to AIT,” said Brit Svoboda, chair/CEO of AIT. “TA additionally offers AIT greater access to international markets through their significant global presence. We look forward to accelerating AIT’s growth through this arrangement.”

“Partnering with the University of Maine and AIT has proven to be crucial in finding ways to use innovation in helping to solve some of the transportation challenges of today,” said Maine Department of Transportation Commissioner David Bernhardt, who also serves as the president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). “I look forward to all of the exciting possibilities that will benefit the industry and the transportation infrastructure as a whole.”

“This is a tremendous step forward for our patented bridge technology and its commercialization partner AIT to sign a distribution and marketing agreement from a multibillion-dollar international construction and engineering company. AIT was able to attract the attention of such a substantial firm due to the value of the Bridge-In-A-Backpack TM technology, its continued R&D partnership with UMaine, and its efforts in securing early bridge sales within the U.S. infrastructure industry,” said Habib Dagher, executive director of the Advanced Structures and Composites Center, and the primary inventor of composite arch bridge technology.

The innovative composite bridge system, the first to be approved in the AASHTO code, lowers construction costs, extends structural life span up to 100 years, and is a sustainable alternative to traditional construction methods. The technology has received major awards and recognition, including the 2015 White House Transportation Champions of Change, Most Creative Product by the American Composites Manufacturing Association, and the Charles Pankow Award for Innovation from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

About Advanced Structures and Composites Center:

The University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center is a world-leading, interdisciplinary center for research, education, and economic development encompassing material sciences, manufacturing, and engineering of composites and structures. The center is housed in a 100,000-square-foot ISO 17025-accredited testing laboratory, with more than 150 full- and part-time personnel. Since 1996, the center has: financially supported more than 2,000 positions for undergraduate and graduate students; served more than 500 industrial and governmental clients, including 150 Maine companies; formed 14 spinoff companies through licensing agreements of patents or trade secrets, and received more than 40 national and international awards. The center has gained a national and international reputation through major research and development projects such as the VolturnUS 1:8, the first grid-connected floating offshore wind turbine in the U.S. and the first in the world made out of concrete and composite materials, the inflatable composite arch bridges Bridge-In-A-Backpack TM technology now approved in the AASHTO code, the first Modular Ballistic Protection System (MBPS) approved by the U.S. Army to protect troops in tents from blast and ballistic threats, development of coated wood technology for blast and hurricane resistant wood buildings, and the longest carbon-fiber composite vessel built for the U.S. Navy. For more information, visit composites.umaine.edu.

About the University of Maine:

The University of Maine, founded in Orono in 1865, is the state’s only public research university. It celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2015. UMaine is among the most comprehensive higher education institutions in the Northeast and attracts students from Maine and 49 other states, and 63 countries. It currently enrolls 11,219 total undergraduate and graduate students who can directly participate in groundbreaking research working with world-class scholars. The University of Maine offers 30 doctoral degrees and 80 master’s degrees; more than 90 undergraduate majors and academic programs; and one of the oldest and most prestigious honors programs in the U.S. The university promotes environmental stewardship, with substantial efforts campus wide aimed at conserving energy, recycling and adhering to green building standards in new construction. For more information about UMaine, visit umaine.edu.