MIKE Matthews, European Operations Officer for car parts manufacturer Nifco will be keynote speaker at this year's Durham Oktoberfest.
Mr Matthews, who started at the company as an apprentice after leaving school, has worked his way up through the business, playing an important role in Nifco's transformation from one which, just 10 years ago, was operating at a loss to the success story it is today.
He will talk about the challenges he has faced in turning the business around and some of the highs and lows he's experienced in his 30 years.
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He said: "I am delighted to be invited to be keynote speaker at this year's Durham Oktoberfest. The event is all about promoting the region's strengths within the fields of engineering and manufacturing and part of that process is to give our firms the chance to hear from people like me, who have experienced first hand the highs and lows of running a business.
"Nothing in life comes easy; I know that better than anyone. Just 10 years ago Nifco was operating at a loss and struggling to retain clients. Today it's a completely different story. We're an award-winning business supplying some of the world's leading automotive specialists including Nissan, Honda, Toyota and Ford. It's a remarkable turnaround and one that, without belief, wouldn't have been possible."
Nifco UK, which manufactures plastic components, moved to £8.5m premises in 2012, and opened a second facility in April 2014 on land adjacent to its main headquarters. This enabled the business to increase capacity and grow its research and development arm.
Nifco has also been confirmed as one of this year's Meet the Buyer participants, joining the likes of Heerema, AKS Precision Ball, Northumbrian Water and Parker Hannifin.
This year's Durham Oktoberfest, which is being delivered by the North, East and South Durham Engineering Forums in partnership with NEPIC, the Advanced Manufacturing Forum, NOF Energy, Business Durham and the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS), takes place on Thursday, October 23, at the Xcel Centre in Newton Aycliffe.
Business Durham has been confirmed as one of the gold sponsors of the event and other packages are still available.
To find out more about Durham Oktoberfest and how you can get involved, either as a Meet the Buyer participant, exhibitor or sponsor, visit www.durhamoktoberfest.org.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0191 3037772.