The Smart Factory Institute of Tennessee and the Chattanooga Regional Manufacturers Association (CRMA) hosted the largest convening of manufacturers to ever occur in Bradley County last Thursday. More than 350 manufacturing professionals, technology vendors, and elected officials attended the all-day event that featured both the “Smart Solutions for Smart Factories Expo” and the “CRMA Manufacturers Excellence Luncheon.”
It was also the inaugural event at the CONCLAVE within the new Partnerships in Industry and Education (PIE) Innovation Center, a first-of-its-kind regional education facility providing business, industry, secondary/postsecondary educational opportunities, and nonprofit services under one roof. The Smart Factory Institute moved its headquarters to the PIE Center in May, allowing the Institute to expand its offerings in the greater Chattanooga region.
The “Smart Solutions for Smart Factories Expo” featured leading manufacturing technology vendors showcasing smart technologies for improved productivity, quality, reliability, and responsiveness in factory production environments. The event drew attendees and exhibitors from across the nation, with industry professionals in attendance from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.
During the Expo, CRMA hosted its annual luncheon where Rusty McKee (pictured here), Senior Vice President of McKee Foods Corporation, delivered the keynote address. He discussed the evolution of advanced manufacturing in the food industry and how McKee Foods is able to maintain high employee retention rates by focusing on its most important asset – its people – and how they are engaged with the company’s culture of learning and innovation.