U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt visited a SUMMA Technology plant in Cullman Tuesday morning, a company currently producing several items for the U.S. military.

SUMMA presented a plaque of appreciation to Aderholt, R-Haleyville, for his role in steering military contracts its way. Aderholt sits on the House Appropriations Committee, which oversees federal budgets.

Plant Manager Mike Quick led Aderholt on a tour of the plant, pointing out various stages of production for military hardware like the M3 Container Roll-in/Out Platform (CROP). Aderholt inquired about the manufacturing processes and shook hands with employees along the way.

SUMMA employees demonstrated the M3 CROP, used by the military to quickly load and unload supplies for troops on the battlefield. As Aderholt watched, a flatbed truck with the CROP system installed lowered 20,000 pounds of concrete from its bed to the ground without the driver ever leaving the cab.

SUMMA was awarded a $5.2 million contract in June 2005 to build M3 CROP systems, and in September, a $6.4 million contract to produce M1077 Flat Racks, which facilitate the movement of bulky materials, such as lumber, steel products and piping. The company has produced other items for the military in the past.

Aderholt, who was present when the Cullman plant was dedicated in 1998, said the visit allows him to know more about the projects he votes on as a member of the Appropriations Committee.

"Having a chance to see it firsthand and have it explained in detail is always very helpful," Aderholt said. "It's hard to appreciate the technology that goes into what they're building. It looks like a lot of welding metal, but it has to be so precise because it's for our troops to defend our country. I think a lot of people don't realize what we do here in Cullman goes to our troops in Iraq."

Ben Williams, corporate vice president of business development for SUMMA, said Aderholt has helped the Huntsville-based company many times in the past.

"We just appreciate him coming down," Williams said. "It's always nice to have his support and he showed it today. He's a good friend to SUMMA Technology."

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