Jeffery J. Souza (C), NITCO vice president of the Middleboro branch, spoke to his customers from Clean Harbors.
As this past football season showed, it is generally agreed that among the NFL elite, the New England Patriots can handle just about anything the league or opponents may throw at them.
On a pristine October day, with Gillette Stadium — the home of the Patriots — looming as a background, NITCO, an industrial/construction equipment giant that covers New England, as well, also showed nearly 300 clients and guests how to handle anything.
Guests filled the Cross Insurance Pavilion at Gillette, 1 Patriot Place, for an all-day materials handling open house that showed how the company and its sponsors just might change their industry.
This is the fifth time that NITCO and its subsidiary Northland JCB held its annual event in Foxboro — part exhibition, part demonstration, part conference and part field day.
Running from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., NITCO representatives showed hundreds of guests the latest insight into innovation in materials handling, along with tours of the four-time Super Bowl champions facility, and a visit from the Patriots cheerleaders.
The gridiron backdrop served as an effective setting for NITCO and industry partners to showcase new innovations involving robotics, materials handling automation, hydrogen fuel technology and advanced storage and handling systems.
“We're a partner with Gillette and, over the last five years, this event, held in such a marvelous place, has great advantages,” said NITCO COO Alan Hammersly. “It is centrally located in New England and because it is such an attractive venue, it can draw two to three times as many people to our event.”
Beyond materials handling, Hammersly said that this year's show emphasized optimizing production and efficiency through a variety of modern technology.
“We have everything in the Pavilion from robotics, to automation, to the latest in battery-powered innovations,” said Hammersly. “Along with the experts who can speak on anything in materials handling that is new and unique.”
Construction Manager Mark Silva echoed Hammersly's words.
“This is such a tremendous venue that people really appreciate having it held here. It is just a really great spot,” he said. “Next year's event, our sixth year here, will bring the focus over to the construction area of our companies.”
“Yes,” added Hammersly. “Next year, there is a very good chance that in this facility, we will offer an all-construction event, but with same vision — the most innovative and new technology in the industry.”
Each year, NITCO invites high-level guest speakers to share their insight and expertise with attendees – some 280 of whom reserved a space from all six New England states to hear them.
This year's speakers were:
• Mark Dickinson — senior manager of software systems of SSI Schaefer Systems, one of the world's leading materials handling companies. His team of supply chain professionals is tasked with specifying and implementing software solutions throughout North America. He spoke about automation concepts.
• Sarah Watt House — economist and vice president with Wells Fargo Securities, who covers the U.S. macroeconomy, including the labor market, manufacturing sector and economic trends. She frequently speaks about the economy to the national media, including Bloomberg News and National Public Radio.
Premier partners who teamed with NITCO for the event included Yale, Hyster, Nuvera, SSI Schaefer, Orion, Wells Fargo, EnerSys, Steel King, Task Forklifts USA, Starrco, Balyo, Advance, Cubic Designs and WPI.