More than 100 attend Nevada Manufacturing and Tech Forum launch

RENO, Nev. — Automation, robotics, artificial intelligence, IoT, blockchain and cybersecurity are among the technologies that are both disrupting and advancing manufacturing.

With that in mind, Nevada Industry Excellence recently launched the Nevada Manufacturing and Tech Forum to provide a platform to help industry forecast, prepare for and build on these disruptions and prepare for what's being called Industry 4.0.

With more than 100 participants, attendance at the Nov. 19, forum exceeded expectations.

While there might be the loss of jobs due to advancements in robotics and automation, NVIE Director Mark Anderson is quick to note that for every job lost, is it projected that another 1.7 new, higher-paying jobs requiring higher level skills will be created.

“That's good news for Nevadans,” said Anderson, “but only if we upgrade their skills to take advantage of these opportunities.”

Helping Nevadans prepare for these advanced-manufacturing jobs and careers and helping Nevada industry lead this effort is at the heart of the Nevada Manufacturing and Tech Forum.

Riding this curve or getting ahead of it, added Anderson, will position Nevada to be a destination state for the development and expansion of advanced manufacturing. The ultimate impact is improved economic stability for the whole state.

The Nov. 19 gathering was hosted by Lincoln Electric, the Reno-based world leader in automated welding and cutting systems. There, Anderson outlined five concepts for the Nevada Manufacturing and Tech Forum:

  • Meet current and future industry needs in areas such as workforce development and operational effectiveness.
  • Network, share and collaborate.
  • Gather data that can be used to inform policymakers.
  • Develop industry-led training and education.
  • Build a strong industry community and voice.

Beyond that, Anderson advised that Nevada Industry Excellence is “not coming in with too many prescriptions.”

“What we want is for this to be is your forum, your group, your interests,” he continued, noting that input from and surveys with industry representatives would help shape the forum.

The forum featured a focus on cybersecurity that built on the sobering statistic that roughly half of all cyber-attacks are directed toward manufacturing companies.

Shaun Rahmeyer of the Nevada Department of Public Safety's Office of Cyber Defense and Brian Wilson of BlackRidge Technology presented.

Workforce development again emerged as a topic, this time as it relates to information technology. Another topic was the emergence of cyber-hygiene standards to mitigate threats.

It was noted that the National Institute for Standards and Technology makes resources available online to help businesses, including a cybersecurity risk assessment.

NVIE is a statewide service with numerous partnerships in place across the state and across the institutions of the Nevada System of Higher Education.

NVIE offers services and solutions for Nevada industry and manufacturers, and is Nevada's official connection to the Manufacturing Extension Program National Network. NVIE is hosted administratively through the University's Research & Innovation division.

Jane Tors is Research Communications Director for the University of Nevada, Reno. This article first published on Nov. 21 at NEVADA Today and is republished here with permission.


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