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International connections - Bonnie Gurney visits key partners in the U.K.

AMT and IMTS have a history of building a network of strategic partners to bring the best value to our members and events. A prime example is our relationship with the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) in South...
by Peter R. Eelman
Apr 09, 2019

AMT and IMTS have a history of building a network of strategic partners to bring the best value to our members and events. A prime example is our relationship with the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) in South Yorkshire, England, (a region referred to as England’s Silicon Valley) and the Manufacturing Technology Association (MTA), AMT’s equivalent in the U.K.

As AMT Director – Industry Partnerships, Bonnie Gurney finds ways to build partnerships with strategic organizations in the United States and abroad. These relationships build a strong foundation for participation in IMTS, AMT meetings and conferences and the type of connections that our members can leverage. Her recent trip to the U.K. was no exception.

In March, she travelled to England to meet with Adrian Allen, AMRC executive director and longtime MTA member, and Phil Spiers, head of AMRC structural integrity,  for a tour of the Sheffield campus and to attend MTA’s 100th Anniversary Dinner.

Rick Kline, Jr., president of Gardner Business Media, and Don Kline, CEO of Map Your Show, joined Bonnie on her adventure. (Don Kline introduced AMT to Adrian Allen and the AMRC when Gardner Business Media featured a Boeing Dreamliner fuselage in their display at IMTS 2008.)

Stop one: University of Sheffield AMRC, South Yorkshire, England

Adrian and Phil hosted Bonnie, Rick and Don with a tour of the University of Sheffield AMRC, which features several architecturally striking modern buildings including the state-of-the-art AMRC Factory 2050, Design & Prototyping Centre, and the AMRC Training Centre. Working with employers, the Training Centre identifies and provides the skills required to meet manufacturing companies’ needs to compete globally. Training encompasses apprenticeship through degree level curriculum.

In addition to fostering academic growth and skills in manufacturing technology, AMRC carries out research for advanced manufacturing techniques for industrial companies. AMRC has more than 100 industrial partners ranging from global giants like Boeing, Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems and Airbus to small, specialized companies. AMRC also aims to inspire and educate the next generation’s manufacturing smartforce.

Adrian, along with AMRC Professor Keith Ridgway, were instrumental in establishing the AMRC. They worked with Boeing to apply Sheffield’s centuries-long history of metalworking expertise to a new modern manufacturing center. The AMRC was established in 2001 as a £15 million collaboration between the University of Sheffield and aerospace giant Boeing, with support from Yorkshire Forward and the European Regional Development Fund.

Bonnie noticed two new impressive buildings by AMRC partners: Boeing and McLaren, both bustling with visitors, adjacent to the Sheffield campus.

A highlight of her visit was meeting 16-year-old Sean Delaney, who was granted the new three-year apprenticeship sponsored by IMTS. A Sheffield native, Sean expressed his gratitude to AMT and IMTS as the sponsorship is allowing him a promising career opportunity in a field he truly enjoys. Sean will pursue machining skills and studies in the AMRC Advanced Structural Testing Centre, he will also further develop MTConnect®, the open connectivity standard for manufacturers.

Sean begins the apprenticeship in September and will document his journey with a video diary report for IMTS Network, AMT News, and various social media channels, as well as participate in the Smartforce Student Summit at IMTS 2020.

Stop two: Hawksmoor Seven Dials Restaurant, London

At the end of the day, the ever-gracious host Adrian treated Bonnie and Rick to authentic Yorshire pudding, and specialty meats at a 200-year-old restaurant, Hawksmoor Seven Dials. Located in the old Watney-Combe brewery, the eatery is known for serving fresh cuts of meat that were hand-selected the same day from the nearby morning market. Hawksmoor is a short walk from Covent Garden, but very hard to find. If you’re ever thinking of going, contact Bonnie.

Stop three: Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel, London

To top off the week, Bonnie, along with more than 500 guests, attended MTA’s 100th Anniversary Dinner, a formal affair at the prestigious Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel in London. At the centenary dinner, MTA honored four champions of advanced manufacturing. Recipients of the Outstanding Contribution to U.K. Industry Award included:

  • Sir David McMurtry, executive chairman of Renishaw

  • John Deer, deputy chairman of Renishaw

  • Professor Keith Ridgway CBE, executive dean, AMRC Group

  • Juergen Maier CBE, chief executive of Siemens U.K.

Bonnie noted familiar themes in the evening’s speeches: put manufacturing at the heart of the national agenda, motivate the next generation to pursue careers in advanced manufacturing, and influence the government to invest in people and technologies.

Opportunities for you!

Members looking to grow their businesses may be interested to know Bonnie is learning more about AMRC’s role in advising Panama City, Fla., on its manufacturing revitalization plan. (Panama City was devastated by Hurricane Michael.) There is talk about building an advanced training center to create a skilled workforce. More details to come!

As Bonnie continues to build bridges with partners, she is also looking for opportunities for AMT member businesses. Since Bonnie loves to travel, we know we’ll hear more from her soon.

Peter R. Eelman
Vice President & Chief Exhibitions Officer
Peter Eelman’s business career has always been centered around IMTS. Peter entered the manufacturing technology industry in 1980, working for an exhib ...
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