In addition to a tour of the manufacturing facility, Tsongas and her staff engaged in an hour long discussion of topics affecting the current business climate at both the local and federal level with Universal President & CEO Tony Muraco and company owner Charlotte Broussard.The Congresswoman was also joined by Massachusetts State Representative (4th District Middlesex) Danielle Werner Gregoire and Marlborough Mayor Arthur G. Vigeant.
Among the topics discussed were the pressing need for immigration reform, particularly as it relates to the manufacturing sector; the importance of protecting the Federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit that allows developers to adapt obsolete but structurally sound historic buildings to productive uses such as housing; impending reform of capital investment cost depreciation; and the need for an increase in training programs for underserved youth in the Metrowest region.
“I was especially interested in discussing the importance of the extension of the federal tax credit, because that legislation has such an impact on the local economy and jobs, particularly with our company, because we do so much with historical renovation,” said Muraco, who estimates that nearly 70 percent of Universal’s market share derives from historic renovation projects. Universal has supplied windows to over 75 projects listed on the National Register of Historic Places, many of which have been converted into much needed multifamily housing.
Following the meeting, Tsongas concurred with the need to extend the historic tax credits. “It’s great to see the historic buildings being re-used,” said Tsongas. “And in order to (facilitate the adaptive re-use of buildings) you need companies like this to manufacture the windows, which are the dominant architectural feature in these buildings.”
Mayor Vigeant, who also attended a morning tour of Marlborough neighbor Quest Diagnostics with Congressman Tsongas, stressed the need to support manufacturing in the City of Marlborough. “Whether it’s a big company or a small company we have to make sure that they stay and grow in Marlborough,” said Vigeant. “It’s very important for a company like this that’s been around for decades to continue to grow, and the new technology they’ve brought in is really putting the firm on the map.”
State Representative Gregoire was equally supportive of the need to maintain a strong manufacturing base in the Bay State. “It’s just great to see that manufacturing is alive and well in Massachusetts, especially here in Marlborough,” she said. “We hear all the time that we need to bring manufacturing back, but clearly some of the companies that have done so well are still able to thrive, and that it really exciting to see. We love a family owned business that employs our residents, and it’s something to celebrate.”