Erb receives Patriot Award for dedication and support of active duty servicemen

ORONO, Maine 𑁋 University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center senior R&D program manager and retired Air National Guard Maj. David Erb received the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Patriot Award from retired Brig. Gen. Dwaine Drummond during a ceremony held Oct. 25. 

According to the ESGR website, “the Patriot Award reflects the efforts made to support citizen warriors through a wide range of measures including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families, and granting leaves of absence if needed.” Individual supervisors may be nominated by an employee serving in the National Guard or Reserve, or by the employee’s spouse. ASCC Research Engineer and Army Reserve 1st Sgt. Jonathan Roy nominated Erb for the award.

“First Sgt. Roy recognizes that his employer goes above and beyond in supporting him. Without employers and family, none of us (military personnel) could do our job,” said Gen. Drummond during the award presentation. 

Erb has nearly 30 years of combined service in the Air Force and Air National Guard as an airman and commissioned officer. 

“I am honored by this award and appreciate the sacrifices Jon has made and his ability to balance both of these endeavors in his career,” said Erb. “He is an indispensable part of our operations here at the Composites Center and we are proud to support his military work.” 

Attendees at the ceremony included Brig. Gen. (Retired) Diane Dunn, senior advisor for special initiatives to University of Maine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy; ASCC Executive Director Habib Dagher; ASCC Chief Operating Officer, Peter Drown; ASCC Special Advisor for Administration Amber Seany; and members of the ASCC communications team. 

“David is one of the most prolific researchers and engineers we have in this laboratory. He does his job here as well as he does his job with the Guard,” said Dagher. 

Roy is a combat veteran of Afghanistan. He is approaching 16 years of military service. At the ASCC, Roy is a project manager in the Structural Thermoplastics Lab, working under Erb’s leadership.

“I do my best to coordinate so that when I’m out, everything is taken care of,” said Roy. “David, who was in the Air National Guard for over 25 years, understands it and he has always been very supportive of me. He’s made it relatively a breeze to deal with working two jobs.”

Roy, a 2016 UMaine graduate with a degree in mechanical engineering technology, started working at the ASCC in 2012 as a student research assistant. Erb and Roy have worked together for seven years, overseeing the growth of structural thermoplastics operations. 

The Alfond Advanced Manufacturing Lab for Structural Thermoplastics works to increase the market prevalence of structural thermoplastics through the demonstration of automated, advanced manufacturing techniques. A partnership with the U.S. Army DEVCOM Ground Vehicle System Center led the Structural Thermoplastics Lab to develop technology to reduce the weight of military ground vehicles with fiber-reinforced thermoplastic materials. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) commissioned a composite-concrete beam that uses hybrid thermoplastics. 

“Jon’s military experience is absolutely essential to what we do,” said Erb. “We work with the Army and the Navy, and in all of that work, Jon brings to the table everything we need to communicate and work with our military and civilian partners.” 

The ASCC is beginning construction on a new addition to the Structural Thermoplastics Lab —The SMART and High-Performance Textile Lab — projected to open in 2023. 

The ASCC, guided by the Green Energy & Materials (GEM) strategic plan, is committed to leveraging Maine’s natural assets to drive research for a greener, more sustainable world. Erb and Roy’s lab is leading the way for the next generation of structural thermoplastic composites and smart materials.

To read more about David Erb’s history and work, visit this link. For more on Jonathan Roy, visit this link

Contact: Katelin Moody, katelin.moody@maine.edu