The Southern Colorado Manufacturing Partnership’s (SCMP) first event – the SOCOM Expo 2014 draws nearly 2,000 students into manufacturing
During National Manufacturing Week, nearly 2,000 students and other Colorado Springs residents came to the Freedom Financial Services Expo Center to learn more about the growing manufacturing sector and the opportunities it brings. On Tuesday, September 30th and Wednesday, October 1st, over 60 exhibitors showed sample products or gave demos at the free open-to-the-public show. Born out of a desire to raise awareness in the community, both to the burgeoning workforce and to other local businesses, the Southern Colorado Manufacturing Expo (SOCOM) was the first of many events by a newer group, the Southern Colorado Manufacturing Partnership (SCMP). Comprised of leaders in manufacturing companies from Pueblo to South Denver, the partnership is an open membership network of companies wanting to make a difference in their community through education, awareness and workforce development, among other initiatives. This first event was designed to make manufacturing cool and available as an option to students who might never have considered it before. Diversified Machine Systems (DMS) and subsidiary brand, Freedom Machine Tool committed to a 10′ x 20′ booth so as to feature two machines to students – the Orthorout 4×4 and the Office Machining Center.
“It was exciting to be able to run demos on the new Office Machining Center,” says Director of Marketing, Courtney Thurman. “CEO Patrick Bollar and Marketing Assistant Christine were cutting custom name plates for students, which was a huge hit. Next to the Office Machining Center, students could see a sample of the hard orthotics made by the Orthorout, which related to many of the students who might have had similar insoles or orthotics themselves. It made this kind of manufacturing very real to them.”
The SOCOM Expo also featured a Conference and Award Ceremony – where DMS was honored to receive the Best Exhibit Award. A special thanks goes out to Tracy Watters at Springs Fabrication, who almost single-handedly made this whole event possible. She was honored with a special award of her own for her tireless work to take this event from concept to exhibition. While some Colorado Springs companies who weren’t exhibiting and local residents stopped by, the majority of the attendees were students from Pueblo and Colorado Springs. Many had never seen a CNC router or considered manufacturing as a viable career choice. Even DMS Intern, Josh Rotunda remarked how the event raised his awareness about the sector’s opportunities.
“As someone changing careers into graphic design, I found the SOCOM Expo informative and eye-opening as to the needs of the manufacturing industry and how I could find a place within it as I learn new skills. It’s also exciting to see the synergy between students, the future workforce, and the industry as it currently stands, which is continuing to make innovations and stay relevant to our adapting culture and technologies,” Josh explains.
The SOCOM Expo is already making plans to expand with a 2015 event. Stay plugged into new announcements for next year at SOCOMExpo.com. Click on any of the photos below to enlarge and scroll through the SOCOM Expo 2014 Gallery. Don’t stop reading now. Check out our DMS Blog or our CNC News. Post By Ed Hilligrass.