A decade of growth for Oktoberfest founding firms

Engineering companies who have exhibited at Durham Oktoberfest every year since its launch a decade ago have been reflecting on 10 years of business growth.

Since the inaugural event in 2008, Durham Oktoberfest has become the region’s leading engineering and manufacturing event, providing the perfect platform for companies to meet potential customers and suppliers.

Now, three of the firms who were pivotal in the event’s creation, and have exhibited each year since, have been looking back on how the event has facilitated their growth.

Dyer Engineering and Hiatco who are based in Stanley along with Bignall Group, who are based at Shildon, have all seen their companies grow. Durham Oktoberfest has provided a platform for companies to showcase their capabilities and enabled business to engage and benefit from the fast-growing engineering and manufacturing sectors.

Richard Bradley from Dyer Engineering, which makes parts for the oil and gas and aerospace industries, said: “We helped support the creation of Durham Oktoberfest because we believed the county needed a platform for our employers to promote their services and meet other businesses who they could work with.

“Every year we have exhibited and every year we have come away with new contacts, which in some cases have resulted in us winning new work or awarding contracts to suppliers.”

Paul Sun, Managing Director of Hiatco, whose products including platforms for power line maintenance are supplied to industries globally, said: “Durham Oktoberfest enables us to showcase our capabilities to a new audience of potential clients, and the beauty of it is that attendees are from the industries we supply to.

“There’s no doubt over the last ten years we have secured business on the back of attending, complementing organic business growth, and that’s what it’s all about.”

John Bignall, from the Bignall Group, said: “There’s such a high calibre of decision makers who attend because the event is held in such high regard within the engineering and manufacturing industries. We come back every year because the event means something to us and we know we’ll make connections which can and have led to new business.”

Gold sponsor Business Durham has also been involved from the outset, and has seen the event grow year on year. Business Development Manager Andrea McGuigan said: “When we helped launch the event back in 2008 we didn’t know what to expect, and here we are now preparing for our ten-year milestone.

“What’s absolutely clear is that businesses who attend, either as exhibitors or attendees, win work as a result. Just a couple of months ago we profiled Stiller Logistics, who have secured a six-figure contract with Marmax Products following a meeting at Oktoberfest. That’s exactly what the event is all about and why it’s become the leading event within the engineering and manufacturing calendar.”

David Land, Chairman of County Durham Engineering and Manufacturing Network (CDEMN) which organises Durham Oktoberfest, expressed a big thank you for the long-term support from Hiatco, Dyer and the Bignall Group and said “They have been ever present since day one and are all advocates for just why our event is so important to the growth of the engineering and manufacturing sectors here in the North East.”

This year’s Durham Oktoberfest is being held at the Xcel Centre in Newton Aycliffe on Thursday, October 19.

As well as general networking opportunities, there will also be themed sessions with the Rail Alliance and the University of Sunderland’s AMAP North East Maintenance Forum; an Education Zone for budding engineers to showcase their work and meet employers; while in the exhibition hall there will be an Incubation Zone for micro firms with links to the engineering and manufacturing sectors.

In addition to Business Durham, global rail manufacturer Stadler has also come on board as a gold sponsor, and Nigel Wright Recruitment is an associate partner.

Durham Oktoberfest is also pleased to announce that on the evening of the event the regional Made in the North East awards hosted by Insider Media will be held at Redworth Hall Hotel. Businesses attending Oktoberfest are actively encouraged to get involved and promote their success by registering for one of the awards on offer. For more information visit https://www.insidermedia.com/event/made-in-the-north-east-awards-20.

To find out more visit the website: durhamoktoberfest.org.uk.

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