Making Connections, Fostering Community

Last Wednesday marked the 25th anniversary of a very regional and important industry event called the SPI Mike Koebel Western Moldmakers Trade Fair.

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Last Wednesday marked the 25th anniversary of a very regional and important industry event called the SPI Mike Koebel Western Moldmakers Trade Fair. Folks from throughout the mold building and molding industries gather each year in Pomona, California, to exhibit their products and services for a mere four hours. I call this event important because, more than just exhibiting wares, it’s about making connections and fostering community.

While most of the attendees at the MoldMakers Trade Fair represent companies from Western states and in particular California, there are several who make the pilgrimage every year to be in this room because they know this event may be small, but the ROI in networking, camaraderie and the unified purpose of furthering the industry is mighty.

For example, as I helped manage a tabletop exhibit for the SPE’s Mold Technologies Division, which jointly sponsors a new Technical Workshop at the trade fair with MoldMaking Technology Magazine, I met a gentleman who mentioned that he was seeking new teaching opportunities in mold building and he asked if the SPE could help him locate schools with a need. I told him we could assist, and not ten minutes later a gentleman from Cerritos College approached and told me his school is looking to ramp its mold manufacturing curriculum back up. I immediately helped them connect.

Students from Cal Poly Pomona (short for California State Polytechnic University, Pomona) stopped by to enquire about how to take products they designed and developed to market. These enterprising youths saw the trade fair as a promising avenue to realizing their entrepreneurial dreams and they, too, made connections with attendees who could provide guidance.

I never cease to be amazed at the ways our industry and the people in it are connected. Events large and small underscore what a small world mold manufacturing is and they provide ways in which we can come together to further advance our skills, hone our competitiveness and build our community.

Congratulations to the SPI on 25 years of success.

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