WESTEC to draw 20,000 manufacturers in challenging economy.

Press Release Summary:

SME will produce 2009 WESTEC Exposition from March 30 - April 2 at Los Angeles Convention Center. More than 280 new products and 500 exhibitors will be featured at the 46th annual event, with the theme, The Pulse of Manufacturing. According to John Catalano, preregistered attendance is up more than 30% over last year, the highest in 9 years. It will feature Back-to-Basics program, industry days, and participation by various educational institutions.

Original Press Release:

WESTEC Offers Solutions to Manufacturers During Tough Economic Times

LOS ANGELES, Calif., February 13, 2009 - More than 20,000 manufacturers looking for solutions during these uncertain economic times will be gathering at the 2009 WESTEC Exposition, March 30-April 2 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

The largest annual machine tools and advanced manufacturing event in North America, WESTEC is a launching ground for the latest trends, technologies and resources for manufacturers helping them improve efficiency, increase profitably and ensure their long-term success. This 46th annual event will feature more than 280 new products, 500 exhibitors, showcasing 6 million pounds of state-of-the-art equipment, representing more than 30 different technologies, such as advances in high speed machining, cutting and tooling, laser systems, welding robotics and automation, as well as manufacturing technology application and solutions. This year's theme is "The Pulse of Manufacturing.

"In this uncertain economy, it's more important than ever for manufacturers to attend an event like WESTEC," says John Catalano, Group Manager of Expositions and Operations for the non-profit Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) that produces WESTEC each year. "Whether they run a small job shop or a large production facility, manufacturers need to know what's available to them to help them succeed. WESTEC presents them with solutions."

Catalano reports that that pre-registered attendance for WESTEC is up more than 30 percent over last year. "This is the highest rate in nine years with many of these being first time attendees. It shows a great interest by businesses to stay competitive in today's economic climate."

Attendees for WESTEC are typically from a wide range of businesses and industries. Thirty-four percent identify themselves as business owners or executives; fifty-four percent are from small job shops; and forty-eight percent have equipment budgets in excess of $50,000.

"As the aerospace and defense, medical manufacturing and automotive aftermarket industries represent the strength of West Coast manufacturing, WESTEC will showcase these industries with specifically-dedicated 'Industry Days,'" adds Catalano. These new industry day presentations will be free to all attendees. The expo also addresses the energy, electronic and consumer products industries.

Jack Kyser, Founding Economist of the Kyser Center for Economic Research at the LAEDC, says, "Manufacturing in the six-county Southern California area experienced a difficult environment in 2008. Overall, manufacturing employment in the Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside/San Bernardino, Ventura and San Diego counties declined by 35,000 jobs from 2007 to 2008 to an annual average of 864,700 jobs. This still represents one of the largest concentrations of manufacturing activity of any where in the nation."

"Because Los Angeles employs more people in manufacturing than any other county in the entire United States," adds Catalano, "Southern California manufacturers count on WESTEC not just for the latest technology, but for professional advancement as well." WESTEC is offering free educational programs on workforce development, including sessions by the California Manufacturers & Technology Association (CMTA), the California Employment Training Panel (CA-ETP), and the Haas Technical Education Center (HTEC).

This year, WESTEC also brings back its Back-to-Basics program offering pathways to manufacturing careers. Back-to-Basics aims to attract and engage a diversified audience composed of women, new immigrants, displaced workers, non-college bound youth, and the existing workforce searching for re-training opportunities.

Alongside the workshops will be participation of various schools, community colleges, training centers and institutions in California offering courses and careers in manufacturing and engineering from which attendees will have the opportunity to explore a wide range of career pathways to manufacturing. The program will also include a career center for manufacturing companies and employers to conduct on-site interviews and job placements.

Manufacturing is so important in America, it was even mentioned in newly-elected President Obama's inaugural address, when he said, "We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. All this we will do."

For more information about the event, or to register online in advance for free, visit www.westeconline.com or call 800.733.4763.

About SME:

The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (www.sme.org) is the premier source for manufacturing knowledge, education and networking. Through its many programs, events and activities, SME connects manufacturing practitioners to each other, to the latest technology and the most up-to-date processes spanning all manufacturing industries and disciplines, plus the key areas of aerospace and defense, medical device, motor vehicles, including motorsports, and oil and gas.

A 501(c)3 organization, SME has members in more than 70 countries and is supported by a network of technical communities and chapters worldwide.


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