Mission: Sunstrand is dedicated to furthering the usage of sustainable materials in new and innovative applications. We are the preeminent supplier of natural fibers reinforcements and fillers for the plastic and polymer composite industries. Our proprietary production processes ensure product consistency and our cutting edge surface functionalization chemistries yield fibers that are compatible with most major resin and manufacturing techniques.

Our Company

Prior to starting Sunstrand, Dr. Riddle founded a successful engineering services firm in an effort to supply innovative design, material evaluations, research and development services to meet the needs of a growing composites industry. Seeing a growing interest in biocomposites, the team to monitor and research the area. The real work began when the firm won a Small Business Innovative Research award from the prestigious National Science Foundation. This work pioneered the extraction of bamboo fiber from raw bamboo cane and the conversion of these fibers to forms compatible with polymer composites. During this work it became apparent that there was a need for a reliable supplier of biomaterials that understands the composites industry.

During the summer of 2014, Sunstrand was formed to meet the needs of an industry by providing biomaterials and processing services. The company was located in Louisville, Ky which is in close proximity to agricultural feedstock suppliers and customers. Sunstrand now works with a variety of feedstocks including bamboo, hemp, kenaf, flax and jute. Sunstrand utilizes a team consisting of Mechanical Engineers, Chemical Engineers, Mechanical Engineering Technologists, Material Scientists and Technicians. The team has highly specialized composites design, manufacturing and testing experience. We come from broad industries such as wind energy, paper, snowsports, biomass, automotive, academia and aerospace.

The Sunstrand Team
From L to R: Patrick Flaherty, Production Manager; Trey Riddle, CEO; Spring Cook-Riddle, Shop Technician; James Whaley, Intern; John Michael Smith, Shop Technician; Rachel Smith, Office Administrator; Josh Burton, Director of Special Projects
Center for Bioplastics & Biocomposites

Sunstrand is a Proud Member of the Center for Bioplastics & Biocomposites

Hemp Industries Association

Sunstrand is a Proud Member of the Hemp Industries Association

Sunstrand is a Proud Member of the Plastics Industry Trade Association

Sunstrand is a Proud Member of the Plastics Industry Trade Association

Management Team

CEO, Manager – Trey Riddle, PhD: Throughout the course of his career, Dr. Riddle has developed highly specialized design, analysis, manufacturing and testing experience in the field of composite materials. These tools have been honed in a wide variety of industries including wind energy, automotive, power distribution, composite manufacture, material sciences and hydronic heating. Prior to starting Sunstrand, Dr. Riddle founded a successful engineering services firm in an effort to supply innovative design, material evaluations, research and development services to meet the needs of a growing composites industry. He has authored and co-author numerous papers on the development of probabilistic reliability methods to evaluate variations in mechanical response of composite structures containing manufacturing defects. Dr. Riddle began his career in composites as a Mechanical Engineer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s National Wind Technology Center. He received his BS and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Montana State University and Masters of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University.

Principal Engineer – Jared Nelson, PhD: Dr. Nelson has extensive experience in the composites industry during the last 15 years. He has worked as a Composites Manufacturing Engineer to develop the first carbon fiber body panel to be painted in a General Motors plant for the Corvette. In addition, he has extensive experience with the composite manufacture of various sporting goods. His published research activities include work as an analyst working on cutting edge computational solutions for the wind industry. Complimentary to this, Dr. Nelson is currently assisting in development of a reduced testing protocol to assist in speeding up and reducing the cost of qualifying new CFRP materials. He received a BS in Philosophy from Bates College, a BS and a MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Utah, and a PhD from Montana State University.

Marketing Director – Eric Gunderson: Mr. Gunderson has been involved in the advertising/branding/marketing, one way or another, since 1994. He began his career in advertising as an account manager at one of the nation’s oldest firms, Doe-Anderson. Mr. Gunderson has worked in various industries with both business-to-business and business-to-consumer entities across the country.

Production Manager – Patrick Flaherty: Mr. Flaherty oversees all of Susntrand’s laboratory and testing activities. He has a diverse technical background that has included manufacturing, product development, and material testing. Most recently, he brings to Sunstrand several years of experience in manufacturing and testing for the MSU Composites Research Group while finishing his Mechanical Engineering degree.

Advisory Board

Doug Cairns, PhD: Dr. Doug Cairns is Co-Director of the Montana Wind Energy Consortium as well as Chief Scientist and Board Member for Radius Engineering. Prior to joining the Montana State University faculty he was Manager of Composites Technology at Hercules Materials Company. In addition to his research on composite materials development, manufacturing processes, design, analysis, and testing, he is an editor and contributor for CMH-17: Composite Materials Handbook. He has a B.S. and M.S. from the University of Wyoming, and a Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Roy Dodd, PhD. Dr. Dodd is a retired Clemson University professor and former consultant to major flax processing companies. He was at the forefront of huge efforts to grow and process flax as a winter crop in South Carolina. In this capacity has seen complications of trying to introduce a new industrial crop into the agro-economy.

Joe Hogue: Mr. Hogue is a retired executive with Schweitzer-Mauduit International (SWM). During his career with SWM he was in charge of purchasing and processing hundreds of thousands of tons of flax straw for fiber and biomaterial applications. Joe is a leader in promoting the usage of flax waste (shive/hurd) as a industrial bio-material.

Rick Vance: Rick Vance is Member (Partner) at Stites & Harbison. He is based in the Louisville, KY office. Mr. Vance is Kentucky state editor of House Law and is a member of the Governing Committee of the Conference on Consumer Finance Law. He began his career as a consumer protection investigator with the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C.

David Williams, PhD: Dr. Williams is a Professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Kentucky. In addition to teaching, Dr. Williams works in applied agronomic science on the optimization of industrial hemp production systems for fiber, grain, and cannabinoids. He received his MS and PhD from the University of KY and BS from Eastern Kentucky University.

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