It was a perfect 76 degree sunny day when the Rock Island Arsenal hosted its third annual Industry Day August 6.

The purpose of the event was to provide a forum for networking and visibility to businesses interested in partnering with us and the Army. The event was attended by more than 146 vendors, and 800 visitors from industry leaders and the community.

"This was by far the largest type of event that I have ever participated in during my 25 years in the service," said Rock Island Arsenal Commander, Col. Craig S. Cotter. "We had an absolutely perfect day."

The vendors included industry leaders representing the Army's Industrial Base. Large companies that provide vehicles and equipment for Soldiers to small local businesses that provide nuts and bolts were all on hand. Educational partners from both the community colleges and local universities were also represented.

"We had a great mixture of people here today," Cotter said. "This just goes to show that no matter how big or small you are... you can play a part in supporting that Warfighter downrange."

Cotter, during his opening remarks spoke about the importance of partnering with businesses.

"We don't do anything here in the factory by ourselves," Cotter explained. "We must leverage the expertise from the private industry so that we can provide the best equipment to America's sons and daughters."

Maj. Gen. Scott G. West, TACOM Life Cycle Management Command, commanding general was the keynote speaker at the event.

"Rock Island Arsenal is a very special place," West said. "You are our link to the past as well as our window to the future."

West said he was also impressed on how much Industry Day grew from the previous year.

"The participation here at Rock Island Arsenal is double the size it was last year," West said. "By bringing industry in, we hope to entice more work and partnerships into the Arsenal."

Local city mayors from Moline and East Moline, Ill. attended the event. They see the Arsenal as a rock during a questionable economy.
"When the economy starts getting a little soft, businesses need new clients," said East Moline Mayor John Thodos. "This is a great place to take a look and see how they can merge what they make along with the Island."

Many people from the community came to Industry Day curious to see what RIA is producing for Soldiers. Some were former employees who were curious to see what has changed while others used it as an educational opportunity for their families.

The Rock Island Arsenal is the only fully integrated metal manufacture in the Department of Defense.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16