Manufacturing Sector Helps Atlanta Secure Major Meeting

Based on the city's reputation as a manufacturing hub, FABTECH, the world's largest metal forming, fabricating, finishing and welding event, has selected Atlanta as the site for its 2014 and 2018 events, creating a four-year rotation with the city, the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB) announced yesterday.

The conference — co-sponsored by the American Welding Society (AWS), Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International (FMA), the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) and Chemical Coaters Association International (CCAI) — was first located in Atlanta in 2006, and most recently in 2010. Last year's event, which drew 22,000 attendees from more than 50 countries, saw 12 percent and 23 percent increases in attendance and exhibitor space, respectively, over 2006.

FABTECH organizers said they decided to return to Atlanta because of the continued growth and expansion in metal fabricating, manufacturing and infrastructure in the Southeast.

"Atlanta serves as a hub for the manufacturing industry, with 40 percent of North American manufacturing and distribution locations within a 500 mile radius of the city," said ACVB President and CEO William Pate. "Atlanta is a natural fit for conventions like FABTECH and we look forward to welcoming them back in 2014 and 2018."

According to ACVB, the manufacturing sector is a vital part of Georgia's economy, employing 9.1 percent of the state's workforce and contributing to 11 percent of the state's GDP. This sector is also showing signs of a rebound from the recent recession, with 6.4 percent growth in Georgia's GDP between 2009 and 2010.