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Whitehouse checks in with a local business

July 2, 2013

U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (center) listens to Jack Bowser of Rebuilders Automotive Supply, Co. (left) in Coventry while Bob Grady (right) looks on. Jessica Boisclair. Kent County Times

COVENTRY— Senator Sheldon Whitehouse made a visit in May to an automotive supply business in Coventry who has made it their priority to remain eco-friendly by recycling and distributing remanufactured parts.

Rebuilders Automotive Supply, Co., Inc, welcomed Senator Whitehouse to their facility on Flat River Road, one of two owned by the company — the other is located in Tampa.

George Lucas, Senior Vice President, explained that 110 people are employed by the business — 90 in Rhode Island and 20 in Tampa.

Senator Whitehouse explained that Jack Bowser, Chief Executive Officer of the company, had gone down to Washington D.C. for a meeting on remanufactured parts.

He explained that he met Bowser and told him he would like to tour his facility to learn about what they do at his business.

“We are considered the industries largest full line core supplier to the manufacturing industry,” Lucas explained to the senator.

He said the business revolves around “core,” which is a “previously used, recycled or non-functional part that will be remanufactured to as new or better performance and specifications.”

More than half their business focuses on distributing remanufactured parts to other companies.

By distributing remanufactured parts to other companies, the business can keep jobs and materials domestic, or within the United States.

“Also, there are a lot of reasons it’s environmentally friendly and green,” he added. “It stops carbon footprint by recycling because it uses less energy to make a remanufactured part.”

From a cost perspective, he explained that a remanufactured part is 20-50 percent less expensive to purchase than a new vehicle part.

One of the aspects of the business Whitehouse was impressed with was the buying and processing of used catalytic converters.

This part is used in a vehicle’s exhaust system, converting toxic gases into harmless products.

The employees of the supply company, Lucas said, take the converters, open them up and acquire the recycled material from inside.

From inside the converter they are able to extract platinum, palladium and rhodium and remanufacture that material.

Because the senator works alongside other officials in Washington D.C., Bowser explained that they urged the senator to raise awareness about federal agencies using remanufactured parts in their vehicles.

The Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) and the Motor & Equipment Remanufacturers Association (MERA) are looking at the use of remanufactured parts and how they would affect the country cost wise.

A study done by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) looked at the repair decisions made by federal vehicles—excluding the Department of Defense.

The report states that $975 million was spent on repairs for fiscal year 2011.

“According to a recent USITC report, the U.S. is a world leader in remanufacturing, and on average, remanufacturing saves 85 perfect of the energy and material used to create new parts,” said John Chalifoux, president and COO of MERA, in a press release.

“I really liked the tour, this is a great combination of a high-tech software company and a construction and repair company and a lot of good recycling; they figured out a terrific niche and that’s why it’s growing,” Senator Whitehouse offered.

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