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Two-Day TechFest Kicks Off December 9

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ERIE – Manufacturing Technology Days is a technically driven event focusing on advanced careers and opportunities within the manufacturing industry for youth and adults in Northwest Pennsylvania. This year, the two-day event will be held on December 9 and 10 at Erie’s Bayfront Convention Center. The first day is Industry Day with a focus on manufacturers. The following day will focus on students visiting from regional schools to learn about a variety of manufacturing careers.

Event highlights include two nationally recognized keynote speakers:

The Industry Day dinner for manufacturers features Will Knecht, president of Wendell August Forge in Grove City. This is America’s oldest and largest forge, producing hand-wrought ornamental giftware in aluminum and other metals since 1923. In March 2010, two days after receiving its largest order ever, a fire destroyed millions of dollars in equipment and materials, their offices and their flagship store. Instead of ceding to the devastation, Wendell August upped its workforce, struck distribution deals with 600 stores nationwide and broke ground on a new facility. As president of this multimillion-dollar company, Knecht has extensive, hands-on experience in the crucial aspects of a successful business — including manufacturing, distribution, retail, sales, marketing, information technology and finance.

On Student Day, participants will be energized over the lunch-hour with speaker Jeremy Bout, producer and host of the Edge Factor. Bout pushes the limits with his creative vision and digital expertise to create high-impact media. Edge Factor is changing the perception of manufacturing careers and engaging students through a TV Series, eduFactor, and large stage events.

Activities for each day include:

Industry Day: December 9 (10:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.)

· Machine and software technology trade show

· Breakout sessions focusing on technology innovation, human resources, and manufacturing IT

· Robotic demonstrations

· 3-D printing demonstrations

· Training and development information for new and incumbent workers

· Networking (4-6pm) and Dinner Event (6pm): Includes networking for manufacturers and Keynote Speaker, Will Knecht

Student Day & Industry Day: December 10 (9 a.m. – 3 p.m.)

· Machining, robotic and 3-D engineering demonstrations & trade show

· Hands on science and technology experiments

· Career exploration opportunities

· Representatives from regional educational institutions

· RoboBOTS demonstrations

· Breakout sessions featuring new technology

· Lunch Keynote Speaker: Jeremy Bout, host and executive producer of the Edge Factor.

Our region’s manufacturing community recognizes the importance of initiatives such as TechFest. “Manufacturing is a crucial element to our region and to grow we must build a continuously improving workforce. It is our responsibility to communicate what we need and then provide the training necessary to cultivate the manufacturing talent in our region. We can improve our workforce through cooperative manufacturing partnerships and the job training, but events such as TechFest expose a new pool of potential employees to great manufacturing careers,” said John Wingerter, operations manager at the Warren Company.

Major sponsors of TechFest include Northwestern PA National Tooling and Machining Association (NWPA NTMA), Advanced Diversified Manufacturing Industry Partnership (ADMIP), Northwest Industrial Resource Center (NWIRC), and Ainsworth Pet Nutrition.

For more information, visit www.madeinnwpa.org/techfest or email techfest@nwpa-ntma.com.