2013 Smartmap Expo in Pasco

<p>Justin McBride</p>

Justin McBride

<p>Smartmap Expo 2013</p>

Smartmap Expo 2013

Hundreds turn out today at the TRAC Center in Pasco for the 11th Annual Smartmap Expo 2013, one of the best known trade shows in our area.

The theme this year is the Magic of Manufacturing, and organizers say it's not just about innovation in technology, but also about how manufacturing impacts people's lives.

145 local, national and international companies displayed their wares and latest technology at the TRAC Center.    

From gadgets to sharing information and networking, companies throughout the area got a chance to show what they're the best at.

Other displays included the STEM electric guitar, the Tri-Tech Skills Center and the PNNL inventor's pavilion.

While big companies like Lockheed Martin showcased their Snake Works building in Richland, welding students like Tri-Tech's Justin McBride was at the Expo to network.

He said he'sattending the event in hopes of getting contacts for a job when he graduates. "Being here, we get a to meet a lot of employers that are offering a lot of kids jobs right out of high school for welding."

Columbia Basin College educator, Jerry Hombel, said, "I'm very pleased. It's a great program, and gives young people some definite advantages. I'm glad they have it, and they've done a fantastic job of putting it together. There are great presenters here, and so I'm just very happy that they have it in the Tri-Cities each year."

A new addition this year, and a big hit, was the wine and food tasting areas. 13 local food companies and seven wineries took part. 

Organizers said the epicurian part of the event is here to stay, and they are discussing whether to make the event longer than just one day.