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Local company finds niche in the movies

IF YOU GO

What: Georgia Manufacturing Expo

When: June 8, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: Gwinnett Center

More info: georgiamanufacturingexpo.com

Exhibitors

America's Mattress

NetworkingMFG

Merrill Lynch

Okabashi Brands, INC

Cu'i Watermelon Drink

Anita's Balm

Minuteman Press of Duluth

YSS Athletics

Strike Hold

Networking Works! business referral network

Georgia Grown

The Law Office of Ward Council LLC

Gwinnett Tech

R.N.C. Industries, Inc.

Demis Products, Inc

Arrow Adhesives Company

Southern Polytechnic State University

Society of Manufacturing Engineers

Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce

Technology Association of Georgia - Manufacturing

APICS Atlanta

WK Industrial Services

Southern Barter Club

Life Is My Movie Entertainment

Murray Plastics

KD Manufacturing, Inc.

Hydrocephalus Association

American Label

Mount Vernon Mills

GRG Design, Inc.

Peening Technologies

Uni-Grip Pro

Prince Precision Products

MAC

TSI Solutions

Atlanta Water Jet LLC

Georgia FIRST

Osborne Wood Products

MLC CAD Systems

BUFORD -- There's a scene in the movie "Fast Five" where actors Vin Diesel and Paul Walker drive a Corvette off a cliff. Unbeknownst to most moviegoers, the technology to propel the vehicle was courtesy of a local business.

Whether it's precision cuts or projects for movies, no day is the same for Jim Porter at Atlanta Waterjet.

The company, which Porter owns, has been in operation in Buford since 2004. It is one of many local and state businesses that will take part in the Georgia Manufacturing Expo June 8 at Gwinnett Center. The expo, which will feature more than 30 businesses ranging from mattress makers to lip balm, is designed to promote local manufacturers like Porter's company.

"I've always been interested in metals and technology," Porter said. "I came across water jet technology and thought it would be a good opportunity."

"Fast Five" isn't the only movie the company has been involved in. From "Anchorman 2" to "Footloose "2 to the new "Hunger Games: Catching Fire "(Nov. release), Atlanta Waterjet has been a part of multiple projects across the movie industry. In the "Hunger Games" sequel, Waterjet created the waves and in the other movies Porter's company fabricates parts for stunts, playing a crucial behind-the-scenes role.

"There's a lot that goes into making these movies that people don't know about," Porter said. "It's cool to know how it's done when you can't see it on the screen."

So, what goes into all of this?

"A lot of geometry and algebra," Porter said.

Big projects for the movies aren't the only thing the company can do. Atlanta Waterjet can also precisely align pre-machined parts for secondary machining, utilizing a precision optical locator for smaller companies and individuals.

"We also do a lot of projects for hobbyists, electrical engineers, artists and more," he said. "We're able to cut any material into a two-dimensional look. Whatever the (size or type) job, we can do it."

That thought is why Porter said it was important to have his company a part of the Georgia Manufacturing Expo.

"We can do all types of projects," he said. "We want to let other companies know we're out there to help them. It's important that we support other local companies."

Porter said the thing he enjoys the most is coming in each morning and scrolling through his inbox to see what customers are requesting from the company.

"No day is the same," Porter said. "There's always something new. Some days, all of the work is done quickly, while others take all day."

For more information on the company, go to atlantawaterjet.com.

"I appreciate local people searching us out for their needs and other businesses feel the same way," Porter said of the upcoming expo which will also feature a talk by Rep. Rob Woodall at 1 p.m. and VIP showings of "American Made Movie" at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.