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Aerospace, automotive summits heading to Birmingham this week

 Birmingham is hosting a pair of business summits this week that showcase Alabama’s growing automotive and manufacturing industries, providing participants with high-level networking opportunities and one-on-one meetings.

The conferences are the Aerospace Innovative Technology Summit (AITS), held May 7-9, and the Automotive Advanced Technology Summit (AATS), held May 8-9. Both events are taking place at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex, with 200 companies expected to participate.

The Alabama Department of Commerce is among the sponsors of the summits, which feature workshops, presentations, and business-to-business meetings

“The automotive and aerospace industries are major drivers of economic growth in Alabama, and these business conventions in Birmingham offer a pathway for companies from across the country and around the world to seek new opportunities and understand how their peers are utilizing and advancing the latest technologies,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“Besides companies from Alabama and multiple U.S. states, an international presence representing 11 different countries are here to participate,” he added. “These summits bring a focus on innovation, which is critical to growing and sustaining these manufacturing sectors and placing Alabama in a leading role for the latest technologies.”

Honda Alabama
Alabama’s growing automotive industry is the focus of a business summit taking place in Birmingham, May 8-9, 2019. (Image: Honda)


The Aerospace Innovative Technology Summit targets the aerospace, space and defense industries, all with a significant presence in Alabama.

With a focus on new technologies being deployed in the sector such as 3D metal printing, digitalization of  manufacturing and cyber security, the event aims to connect leading companies and participants in the sharing of ideas in the application and development of these innovations in their businesses.

To kick off the aerospace conference, Secretary Canfield will provide an overview of the industry sector in the state. Other scheduled speakers include R.G. “Corky” Clinton Jr. of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Nick Bowman of GKN Aerospace, and Jeff Chang of Lockheed Martin.

The Automotive Advanced Technology Summit will focus on advanced manufacturing and new technologies at use within an industry growing rapidly in Alabama.

Scheduled speakers include Mark Brazeal of Mazda Toyota Manufacturing USA, Tom Shoupe of Honda of America Manufacturing, and Brad Newman of ZF Chassis Systems in Tuscaloosa.

Also speaking is Chuck Ernst, a former Honda Alabama executive who now serves as manager of the Alabama Robotics Technology Park, a unique training facility in Decatur.

Alabama Greg Canfield
Greg Canfield is Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“It is an honor to have Birmingham chosen as the site for both of these conventions,” said Brian Jennings, vice president of economic development for the Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA).

“It speaks to Alabama’s prominence in both the aerospace and automotive industries, and we look forward to bringing so many people together to foster continued growth of both industries.”

Joining the BBA and Commerce in supporting the business conferences are the City of Birmingham, Jefferson County, the Birmingham Airport Authority, the Alabama Automobile Manufacturers Association, and the Alabama Community College System.

Mayor Randall Woodfin said Birmingham is the ideal location for the events.

“Now, more than ever, Birmingham is focused on bringing high-quality technology jobs to our city. The summit gives a great chance to identify innovative partners that share our commitment to the next generation of manufacturing in the aerospace and automotive industries,” Woodfin said.


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