Big hitters sign up for Oktoberfest 2012

THE head of a pioneering technology firm is to bring his business expertise to the North East's biggest annual engineering and manufacturing exhibition.

Dr Arnab Basu, chief executive of Sedgefield firm Kromek
Dr Arnab Basu, chief executive of Sedgefield firm Kromek

THE head of a pioneering technology firm is to bring his business expertise to the North East's biggest annual engineering and manufacturing exhibition.

Dr Arnab Basu, chief executive of Sedgefield firm Kromek, will talk at Oktoberfest 2012 about the North East’s rich engineering heritage and why the new generation of innovative manufacturing businesses still relies on the quality skills the region is famed for.

Under his directorship, the Sedgefield firm has developed a worldwide reputation for technology, working with the likes of the US government to check the safety of nuclear waste and with hospitals around the world to help detect cancer.

Dr Basu will praise the sector’s contribution to the North East economy and the roles North East Local Enterprise Partnership and Business Durham have played in promoting the region as an attractive high-tech engineering hub to outside investors.

He said: “We’re a manufacturing heartland and the confidence shown by Hitachi Rail Europe should give all manufacturing businesses based here a big boost of confidence.

“We need to maintain that momentum and encourage more businesses to set up here.”

Organisers of next month’s annual event – designed to showcase talent, open up new contacts and initiate business – are delighted it has been backed by firms including Hitachi Rail Europe and Merchant Place Developments.

In July, Hitachi won a £4.5bn contract to build Britain’s next generation of Intercity trains, which it will do from a new factory in Newton Aycliffe developed by Newcastle-based MPD.

Both companies took part in last year’s Oktoberfest for the first time and this year will have exhibitor stands in the auditorium as well as providing a much anticipated update on the project in an afternoon speaker slot.

John Lyle, of Oktoberfest 2012 organiser Engineering Clusters County Durham, said it was “ tremendous” that Hitachi and MPD are taking part.

“It is important that we continued to attract companies of their standing.”

More than 100 companies are expected to attend the fifth annual Oktoberfest, including Nissan who are sponsoring the event as well as attending as exhibitors.

Other guest speakers include Phil Handley, MD of Caterpillar who will participate in an ‘in conversation with…’ interview with David Baxter, of South Tyneside Business Network, as well as Councillor Neil Foster, Portfolio Holder for Economic Regeneration, Durham County Council.

There will also be a ‘meet the buyer’ programme which gives exhibiting firms one-on-one introductions to buyers and trade opportunities.

Oktoberfest 2012 takes place on Thursday, October 18, at the XCEL Centre, Newton Aycliffe.

More information can be found at www.durhamoktoberfest.org.uk

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