Durham Oktoberfest guest speakers line-up confirmed

The final line-up of speakers is confirmed for Durham Oktoberfest, the region's biggest engineering and manufacturing event

Ian McClelland Photography Mike Matthews of Nifco
Mike Matthews of Nifco

Economic regeneration will be a key theme at Durham Oktoberfest, the region’s biggest engineering and manufacturing event, as the full line of guest speakers is announced.

Keynote speaker Nifco UK boss Mike Matthews will be joined by Coun Neil Foster, portfolio holder for economic regeneration at Durham County Council, Dr Simon Goon, managing director of Business Durham and Paul Watts, joint managing director of newly-founded clothing manufacturing firm The AMA Group.

The group of speakers will address the audience of more than 1,500 delegates who are expected to attend this year’s event, being held at the Xcel Centre in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, on October 23.

Dr Goon said: “Durham Oktoberfest is one of the region’s biggest and most high profile events and gives the North East the opportunity to showcase the strength and depth of our world class manufacturing and engineering sectors.

Simon Goon, Managing Director, Business Durham, Durham
Simon Goon, Managing Director, Business Durham, Durham

“It’s the perfect shop window for every company out there that wants to grow and meet potential new clients and that’s why year after year it gets better and more successful.

“Business Durham has been a supporter and key partner of Durham Oktoberfest since the inaugural event back in 2008 so I’m personally delighted to be asked to be a speaker and to have the chance to talk about the many great things happening in the region, particularly in County Durham which, thanks to millions of pounds of public and private sector investment, is undergoing significant redevelopment to change the landscape of the county for the better.”

More than 100 businesses are attending this year’s event, with exhibitors including Hiatco, Bignall Group, Ferschl Group, Dyer Engineering, Eastern Seals, Altec Engineering, Inspection and Engineering Services, Johnson Partners, Microbac Ltd and Emirates.

Paul Watts and Julie Price of the AMA Group in Peterlee
Paul Watts and Julie Price of the AMA Group in Peterlee

The Meet the Buyer element of Durham Oktoberfest will feature the likes of Nifco, Ebac, Heerema, Faurecia and Parker Hannifin.

Paul Watts from The AMA Group, the company that has brought clothing manufacturing back to East Durham, creating over 200 jobs in the area, said: “The response we’ve had since we announced our plans earlier this year has been phenomenal and now production is under way, we’re receiving enquiries from retailers not only up and down the country but overseas as well.

“There’s a real appetite to bring manufacturing back to the UK which can only be a good thing for the region’s businesses.”

Durham Oktoberfest is being delivered by the North, East and South Durham Engineering Forums in partnership with Business Durham, NEPIC, the Advanced Manufacturing Forum, NOF Energy, Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) and the BE Group.

Business Durham and manufacturing company Durham Box have been confirmed as gold sponsors of the event.


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