RAMP manufacturing conference, EXPO plans unveiled

RAMP 2015 ConferenceBy Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.

The second annual “RAMP Manufacturers’ Conference and EXPO” is set for October 5 and 6 at the Hilton Knoxville Airport Hotel.

The event begins with a cocktail reception the first day with opening remarks by Senator Doug Overbey and will continue on October 6 with a full-day of speakers, panels, and live demonstrations, according to Stephen Williams of Tech 2020.

“We had 400 attendees last year, and our goal is to have at least as many in 2015,” he said. The location was selected for ease of access for attendees.

RAMP stands for the Regional Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, an initiative initially funded under a federal grant that is currently transitioning into a membership-based entity.

“It is a working organization and collective resource for manufacturers in whatever ways they need,” Williams explained. “This is the type of work activity that other regions are doing.”

During the October conference, topics to be covered include quality, environment, lean manufacturing, workforce development and supply chain.

Williams used the latter topic to explain the value proposition for RAMP.

“We want to make connections for large companies seeking new suppliers,” he explained, while the goal for smaller manufacturers is to help them understand how to “navigate the waters so they can learn the needs of a large company.”

While the agenda is still a work in progress, Williams did say that the luncheon will feature Michael McIntyre, Director of the Professional MBA Program at the University of Tennessee (UT), interviewing well-known economist Matt Murray, Director of UT’s Howard H. Baker, Jr. Center for Public Policy.

Later, McIntyre will have a conversation with three manufacturers representing the full continuum in size – small, medium and large.

Williams noted that sponsorship opportunities are available. They range from the top tier of $15,000 (Platinum Sponsor) to a Contributor level of $1,000. There are also opportunities to exhibit. Those interested in either opportunity should contact Linda Nyholm at

Registration, which includes lunch on October 6, is $50 for RAMP members and $75 for non-members through October 2. To register, click here.

Meanwhile, Williams noted that RAMP is holding what he called monthly “design sessions” where a topic of interest to members is explored in great depth and where the collective input of many individuals brings added value.

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