SOUTH-TEC, a Southeastern U.S. advanced manufacturing event produced by SME, brings together manufacturing suppliers, distributors and equipment builders from around the world to showcase the latest technologies and tools to address industry challenges. In 2013, the biennial show drew more than 4,900 attendees and 318 exhibiting companies.
As the Southeast region of the U.S. experiences growth in critical areas like automotive and aerospace, SOUTH-TEC 2015 is a leading resource for manufacturing solutions from development to final production.
Charlotte Convention Center
501 S. College Street
Charlotte, North Carolina USA
October 27-29, 2015
We caught up with Cathy Kowalewicz, SOUTH-TEC Event Manager to learn about SOUTH-TEC® in an exclusive AMazing® Q&A conversation.
AMazing®: Cathy, thank you for your participation. The SOUTH-TEC keynote presentation titled “An Economic Forecast for 2016 for the Southeast” sounds like a must-attend event. How would you assess the level of growth in the southeast United States in critical sectors like automotive and aerospace? What are some other notable industries that will be represented at SOUTH-TEC? In addition to the presentation, what other opportunities will SOUTH-TEC offer to help attendees identify the latest trends and innovations to capture new business opportunities in this dynamic region?
Cathy Kowalewicz: The Southeast region has become a strong manufacturing hub, seeing significant year-over-year growth – according to the North Carolina Department of Commerce – thanks to its highly-skilled workforce, moderate cost of living, plentiful land and pro-business laws. Manufacturers in the region are connected to more than 170 million U.S. and Canadian consumers, as well as global markets, by the area’s transportation infrastructure of modern ports, railroads, airports, waterways, interstates and highways.
Attendees to SOUTH-TEC will have the opportunity to see firsthand some of the latest advancements and technology in aerospace, motorized vehicles, defense, energy and shipbuilding. All while benefiting from our complementary presentations covering design for manufacturability (DFM), talent challenges and solutions, emerging trends and technologies in industrial robotics and building for the future through additive manufacturing.
AMazing®: As we understand, more than half of all attendees at SOUTH-TEC 2013 were associated with companies with less than 100 employees. What are some common interests from small and mid-size businesses? What types of conference features and/or events would be particularly beneficial for small and mid-size companies?
Cathy Kowalewicz: Talent acquisition and retention, efficiency, cost savings and remaining competitive with foreign and larger companies are very common threads among small and mid-size businesses. SOUTH-TEC not only gives these companies an opportunity to see and experience the latest technology that can give them a competitive edge, but also is featuring free educational presentations on workforce development and talent challenges and solutions with industry-leading experts.
AMazing®: New products and innovation are essential for a thriving industry. How many new products will be introduced at SOUTH-TEC 2015?
Cathy Kowalewicz: Attendees will have the opportunity to see more than 130 new products from over 70 exhibitors. A full list of new products at SOUTH-TEC can be viewed at southteconline.com.
AMazing®: The additive manufacturing industry is rapidly evolving? How has interest in additive manufacturing grown and evolved at SOUTH-TEC? Will there be any special sessions to help businesses with commercialization of medical additive technologies?
Cathy Kowalewicz: Additive manufacturing continues to be a key and growing technology for manufacturers around the world. As opportunities for this technology has grown, so has its representation at SOUTH-TEC. Attendees have the opportunity to connect with additive manufacturing exhibitors including, but not limited to, Stratasys, Delcam and Strategic 3D Solutions. Bright Minds, a SME developed program to reinforce the value of manufacturing education with high school and postsecondary students, will feature a keynote by Stratasys on careers in additive manufacturing.
AMazing®: As we understand, there are several planned Special Presentations for this year’s SOUTH-TEC. One of the events is titled ‘STEM Gap? What STEM Gap? – Technical Manufacturing Talent Challenges and Solutions’. What opportunities will be featured at SOUTH-TEC for job seekers, those-in-transition, and students interested in manufacturing as a career pathway?
Cathy Kowalewicz: SOUTH-TEC will bring together more than 5,000 manufacturing professionals and practitioners, creating one of the best networking opportunities in the Southeast. With estimates that up to 80 percent of jobs are never posted, connections made during the show can lead to new job opportunities. Meanwhile, the Bright Minds program is all about promoting the opportunities of manufacturing careers to high school and postsecondary students.
AMazing®: What hints, tips and strategies would you suggest to SOUTH-TEC 2015 attendees to explore the rich, diverse network of industries and maximize their conference experience?
Cathy Kowalewicz: Visit southteconline.com and click on the interactive exhibitor list which allows them to search by company name and technology as well as lets them build their own SOUTH-TEC agenda. They can also examine the Event-at-a-Glance to decide what keynotes, presentations and workshops would be the most beneficial to attend.
This concludes our interview. Thank you very much Cathy for your participation. We are very grateful for the opportunity to learn about this year’s SOUTH-TEC event and continued commitment to advanced manufacturing technology.
About Cathy Kowalewicz
Cathy Kowalewicz joined SME in 2011 and is currently the event manager for the HOUSTEX and SOUTH-TEC events. She has over 30 years serving the manufacturing industry, with an extensive background in automotive and heavy vehicles. Cathy is responsible for ensuring that the SME mandate to advance and educate the manufacturing industry is met at every event she produces. Cathy is an active member of the Automotive Womens Alliance Foundation (AWAF).
SOUTH-TEC draws manufacturing suppliers, distributors and equipment builders from across North America and around the world – bringing them together in Charlotte, North Carolina. With more than 400 exhibiting companies, attendees can find all the latest technologies and services – plus the experts who built them – ready to demonstrate solutions that can help them grow their business. Visitors can make side-by-side comparisons, discover integrated equipment, hear about industry trends and forecasts, and leverage their purchasing power. SOUTH-TEC is the single best source to discover the next evolution of manufacturing!
The full schedule of the conference can be found here: http://www.southteconline.com/attend/show-days-hours
SME connects all those who are passionate about making things that improve our world. As a nonprofit organization, SME has served practitioners, companies, educators, government and communities across the manufacturing spectrum for more than 80 years. Through its strategic areas of events, media, membership, training and development, and the SME Education Foundation, SME is uniquely dedicated to the advancement of manufacturing by addressing both knowledge and skills needed for the industry.