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Chattanooga is the new home of international technology institute, first in U.S.

Ceremony on Volkswagen campus kicks off manufacturing month in Tennessee

Chattanooga, TN, October 1, 2021: Peak Performance Inc., a Chattanooga company hosted the ribbon cutting at the Volkswagen Academy for the Smart Factory Institute, the first of its kind in the United States. Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger led the ribbon cutting along with Peak Performance President & CEO, Denise Rice, Tennessee Manufacturers Association President & CEO, Bradley Jackson, Volkswagen CEO, Thomas du Plessis, and UTC Chancellor, Dr. Steven Angle.

Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger was joined on stage by Bradley Jackson, Tom du Plessis, Denise Rice and Dr. Steven Angle for the official ribbon cutting of the Smart Factory Institute.

Speeches were made by Tennessee Governor, Bill Lee and Deputy Prime Minister of Lower Saxony, Dr. Bernd Althusmann. Speakers acknowledged their excitement for international cooperation, Authusmann said, “We are proud that Deutsche Messe Technology Academy together with our partners, Volkswagen and Peak Performance has succeeded in launching this project as part of an international academy network in the USA.” Governor Lee added, “Manufacturing is a key driver in Tennessee’s economy, and it plays a key role in employing Tennesseans all across our state. I look forward to seeing Tennesseans across the region thrive because of this impactful partnership.”

The Chattanooga Smart Factory Institute is a business-driven effort guided by the Tennessee Manufacturers Association and will enhance the manufacturing climate in the state, making Tennessee a leader in manufacturing, innovation, and collaboration while providing rich learning and training opportunities for the workforce through new manufacturing technology. The institute is part of a global network of academies by Deutsche Messe located in Germany, China and South Africa.

On its opening day, Smart Factory Institute signed on their first technology partner, Senswork Inc. before the ribbon was cut. Senswork Inc. of Johnson City, TN will now be part of the international technology alliance. Today was dubbed a “historic day” by Thomas Rilke, CEO of Deutsche Messe Technology Academy. Denise Rice, President & CEO, Peak Performance stated, “With its global reach to technology partners, the Smart Factory Institute will enable access and ease the transition to newer technologies for our workforce.”

Peak Performance’s Mary Beth Hudson, Executive Director of Smart Factory Institute, opened the ceremony by saying, “The Smart Factory Institute will promote collaboration between suppliers and users of new technology to strengthen manufacturing in our region. We will provide training on this latest technology with live equipment demonstrations to create a skilled workforce available to meet the demands of Industry 4.0.”

Thomas du Plessis, CEO of Volkswagen Chattanooga Operations, explained how The Smart Factory Institute will aid manufacturers and the workforce with the adoption of Industry 4.0. “Today’s ribbon cutting marks the end of an intensive preparation phase and the beginning of tremendous opportunities for manufacturers, not only for us, but for all manufacturers.” He goes on to say, “The industry is changing and adapting fast, our transition to electric vehicles is one example […] the car, in the USA is really part of our lifestyle and this car is going through a transformation with electrification, autonomous driving and increased connectivity, pushing the limits of what one would have seen a few years ago.”

Additional attendees included Tennessee State Senators, Mike Bell, and Todd Gardenhire, Tennessee State Representatives Robin Smith, Esther Helton, and Yusuf Hakeem, and Tennessee State Commissioner Jeff McCord. Deutsche Messe Technology Academy CEO Thomas Rilke, attended through Zoom. Video messages were received by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn and Bill Haggerty, Deutsche Messe CEO, Dr. Jochen Köckler, and Deputy Prime Minister of Lower Saxony, Dr. Bernd Althusmann.

Due to COVID-19 protocols, the event was open to 25 in-person guests. The event was live streamed by Peak Performance and Mix 104.1.

For more information on the Smart Factory Institute, join us for an information session on October 8th from 12:00 - 12:30pm (ET).

Download official press release below.

Chattanooga site of International Institute
Download PDF • 244KB

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