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Next Generation Rail Forums Head to Kansas City and Orlando

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) will host two forums next month designed to connect manufacturers with more than 34,000 domestic suppliers for an upcoming passenger rail car procurement. The two forums, which will be held May 3, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo., and May 8 in Orlando, Fla., will help identify a broader domestic supply base of potential suppliers for the procurement, with the goal of stimulating interest among domestic suppliers to compete for 100 percent domestic content in the rail cars.

The one-day forums will include representatives from federal and state agencies, local economic development agencies, rail car builders and associated original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and U.S. manufacturers who potentially could be suppliers.

For the Kansas City event, NIST's Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) and DOT's Federal Railroad Administration are partnering with the Kansas and Missouri MEP affiliates Mid-America Manufacturing Technology Center (MAMTC) and Missouri Enterprise. They will be joined by several additional partnering organizations to sponsor the event using a grant received through a multi-agency Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Grant program.

NIST's MEP and DOT's Federal Railroad Administration are working with the Florida Manufacturing Extension Partnership and the other MEP Centers located in every U.S. state and Puerto Rico to host the Orlando Next Generation Rail forum at Manufacturing Innovation 2012, the MEP national conference.

In February 2012, the first two forums were held in Sacramento and Chicago, with total attendance of more than 400 representatives of U.S. manufacturing. The prospective suppliers came from 24 U.S. states to connect with 12 OEMs and tier-one suppliers (direct suppliers to OEMs) in more than 300 one-on-one meetings.

"The forums in Sacramento and Chicago provided U.S. manufacturers with information on upcoming procurement opportunities that may provide a path for growing their business through expansion into an emerging market," said Aimee Dobrzeniecki, deputy director of NIST MEP.

The forums are the outgrowth of a partnership* formed in October 2011 between the U.S. Department of Commerce and DOT to leverage agency capabilities to ensure development of a domestic supply base to support transportation in the United States.

Visit our Forums page to learn more about the Next Generation Rail Supply Chain Connectivity initiative, to register for upcoming forums, and to access summaries from past forums and the latest information about the rail industry supplier opportunities.

* Read the blog entry, "Commerce and Transportation Departments Forge Partnership to Boost Domestic Manufacturing Across America."

Released April 27, 2012, Updated January 25, 2023