Montana State University

Registration now open for October conference for manufacturers and suppliers

July 18, 2016 -- MSU News Service

Registration is now open for “Compete Smart - 20 Years of Making It Happen Under The Big Sky,” a conference for manufacturers and suppliers, to be held Oct 5-7, at Fairmont Hot Springs.

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Tel: (406) 994-4571

BOZEMAN – Registration is now open for a conference, “Compete Smart - 20 Years of Making It Happen Under The Big Sky,” to be held at the newly renovated Fairmont Hot Springs hotel and conference center, Oct. 5-7. 

Compete Smart, presented by Montana State University’s Montana Manufacturing Extension Center and co-hosted by Rocky Mountain Bank, is an opportunity for manufacturers, suppliers and advocates to strengthen skills, grow networks and enhance opportunities for manufacturing business. The conference will feature distinguished speakers and local plant tours as well as direct access to business experts, seasoned entrepreneurs, peers and allies.

The conference will start on Wednesday, Oct. 5, with a manufacturing networking day, including the first Compete Smart biennial golf tournament at the Fairmont golf course, followed by an opening reception. 

Thursday, Oct. 6, begins with multi-plant tours in Butte, Deer Lodge and Anaconda, where participants can see how some of Montana’s leading manufacturing plants work.

Lunch will include the keynote address given by Janyce Fadden, who will speak on engaging talent in a digital age, what it takes to be a leader in talent engagement, and why it is important to Montana manufacturers and economic development partners.

Fadden is executive-in-residence for the College of Business at the University of North Alabama. Previously, Fadden served in various capacities as president, vice president and general manager for major multinational corporations including Honeywell, General Signal, Applied Power, Pacific Scientific and Danaher. Her current role includes guiding a leadership team from the University of North Alabama, Shoals Chamber of Commerce, the Shoals Entrepreneurial Center, Alabama Technology Network, private sector companies and governmental organizations to identify and implement pathfinder projects that advance the region’s competitiveness using Strategic Doing. In her eight years as president at the Rockford Area Economic Development Council, the results of her collaborative work resulted in the retention or creation of 18,700 jobs, $1.3 billion of capital investment and occupation of 13 million square feet of development, according to Fadden. Currently, Strategic Doing pathfinder projects are underway for building a digital economy and enhancing the competitiveness of a rural community.

A variety of sessions will be offered covering winning strategies, advanced technology, marketing, finance and performance excellence. Experienced business executives and resources providers will offer success stories on ramping up business through marketing, investors or optimizing financial performance. Other sessions include technology trends, robotics in the modern workplace and 3D printing, as well as empowering the workforce through on-line education, skills development and how to hire and retain the right employees. A legislator panel will discuss current legislation that has direct impact on Montana manufacturing. There will also be specific sessions outlining how to prepare for the mandatory regulatory changes of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

Thursday evening, MMEC will celebrate its 20th anniversary and National Manufacturing Day at the evening reception. Hors d’oeuvres will be served. 

The conference, about and for Montana manufacturers, will showcase Montana-manufactured products displayed in the Montana Product Showcase (free marketing space is available for Montana manufacturers). Door prizes, provided by the companies whose goods are displayed, will be offered. More than 30 exhibitors (suppliers and advocates) are available throughout the conference.         

Registration is $250 with discounts offered for teams of three or more and to members of the Montana Manufacturing Council and/or the Montana Chamber of Commerce. Pre-registration is required. For more information, see: or call Jenni West, (406) 994-3876.

This event is supported by many sponsors and exhibitors.

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center is a statewide manufacturing outreach and assistance center staffed by full-time professionals with extensive education and experience in manufacturing and business in a variety of industries. MMEC assesses manufacturing business operations and helps develop strategies to advance healthy growth.    

Contact: Jenni West, MMEC, (406) 994-3876 or