Durham Oktoberfest 2014: Firms urged to book their place for engineering and manufacturing network event

Last year's Durham Oktoberfest attracted more than 1,600 visitors and almost 120 exhibitors to the Xcel Centre in Newton Aycliffe

Coun Neil Foster, Pamela Petty and Darren Race
Coun Neil Foster, Pamela Petty and Darren Race

Engineering and manufacturing firms are being urged to book their place at the North East’s biggest and most high profile trading and networking event.

For the seventh year running, Durham Oktoberfest is being organised by engineering forums to encourage companies across the region to promote themselves and meet potential buyers, suppliers and customers.

Last year’s show attracted more than 1,600 visitors and almost 120 exhibitors to the Xcel Centre in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, which is set to be the venue for this year’s event.

Organisers have fixed October 23 as the date for the 2014 Oktoberfest and a line up of guest speakers will be unveiled over the coming weeks.

Potential exhibitors are already contacting planners to rebook their stand, viewing the one-day event as vital to push their products and attract new clients.

Darren Race, project leader for Durham Oktoberfest and chairman of South Durham Engineering and Manufacturing Forum, said: “The North East is home to some of the country’s most successful engineering and manufacturing companies and this event is all about showcasing them and promoting our world class capabilities and strengths.

“And as it’s the only event of its kind in the region, it also gives smaller businesses the opportunity to put themselves on the radars of those bigger companies, their potential customers, and gain from them an invaluable insight into what it takes to elevate their business to the next level.

“Every year Durham Oktoberfest gets bigger and more successful and we’ve already had a great deal of interest from companies who want to exhibit.”

Business Durham has been confirmed as the event’s first Gold sponsor and 20 businesses, including Hiatco, Bignall Group, Dyer, Eastern Seals and Microbac Ltd, have already booked their exhibition space.

In addition, over 20 regional and national companies such as BAE Systems, Parker Hannifin and Seaward Electronic, will be involved in the Meet the Buyer event, which allows participants to meet potential new suppliers in a series of one to one meetings.

Last year’s show featured some of the region’s most prominent firms including Ebac, Heerema Fabrication Group, Calsonic Kansei and NEPIC all participating in the Meet the Buyer, while exhibitors included Hitachi, Shepherd Construction, DJ Franks Renewables and Pearson Engineering Services.

Inspection and Engineering Services, based in Newton Aycliffe, are expanding their presence to take three stands.

Trevor Forsyth, managing director, said: “Durham Oktoberfest is perfect for us as it gives us the chance to meet companies within the manufacturing and engineering sectors and put our business on their radar.

“Often companies within these industries have used the same suppliers for a number of years so it’s difficult to get in front of them, but through this event we can.

“It is a great way for us to promote ourselves and because of the positive response we got during and following last year’s event, this year we’ll be taking three stands.”

Helen Parkins, procurement and supply chain manager at Heerema Fabrication Group, said: “We participate in a number of events in the region but for us, Durham Oktoberfest is the most fruitful because we can meet suppliers which are best suited to what we need. We can see in advance who has registered and decide which ones provide services we’re interested in, so I would definitely recommend it.”

As well as engineering and manufacturing companies, Durham Oktoberfest is also open to support organisations, education facilities and financial institutions which want to promote the services they offer to the business community.

Darren Race added: “We want our region to be the best and if we’re not afraid to shout about the strength of these sectors, other businesses elsewhere in this country and even further afield will sit up and take notice. Success breeds success and that’s why this event is so important in the regional business calendar.”

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