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Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-NH, talks with Michael C. Karsonovich, vice president and general manager of the slides and specialty glass division of Thermo Fisher Scientific, after a tour of the company's Portsmouth facility on Monday. (GRETYL MACALASTER PHOTO)

Shea-Porter tours Portsmouth company

PORTSMOUTH - U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H., was at Thermo Fisher Scientific on Monday to talk with officials and learn more about how the manufacturing facility operates.

About 195 of the company's 300 Portsmouth-based employees manufacture more than 100 miles of custom glass slides each week and ship them around the world.

Shea-Porter learned about what is going well, and what the company's concerns are in the near future. At the top of the list is the Affordable Care Act.

Rick Jenkinson, director of government affairs for Thermo Fisher, said they see pros and cons in the act.

On the plus side, more testing means a need for more slides. On the negative side - a medical device tax that could impact the entire Thermo Fisher company by about $20 million, he said.

Shea-Porter said the hope is that the increase of people in the system will offset the tax, but she pledged to keep an eye on it.

"We want to make sure we are being fair," she said.

Shea-Porter also talked about the impact of sequestration on scientific research and the economy.

As a result of automatic budget cuts associated with sequestration, scientific research funded by the National Institutes of Health will be reduced by $1.6 billion.

Officials at Themo Fisher Scientific said they will be indirectly affected by the cuts because their customers will be impacted.

Thermo Fisher's facility in Portsmouth is one of the world's largest manufacturers of glass microscopic slides that are primarily manufacturing slides used in pathology, biomedical research and other applications.

Michael Karsonovich, vice-president and general manager of the slides and specialty glass division of Thermo Fisher Scientific, said the market for slides is relatively flat and that growth expectations are low in the coming year.

He said they would be pleased with single-digit growth.

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