Nearly 2,000 People Expected to Attend U.S. Manufacturing Summit

Walmart suppliers and potential Walmart suppliers will attend about 600 face-to-face meetings with buyers at next week's U.S. Manufacturing Summit in Northwest Arkansas.

Called “Investing in American Jobs,” the summit in Bentonville is put on by Walmart and will be attended by about 2,000 invitees. It starts Tuesday. Wednesday’s 8 a.m. general session will be available for viewing via a live web stream.

The summit is one aspect of Walmart’s incredible commitment announced in 2013 that it would dramatically increase its purchasing of goods manufactured in the U.S. That promise, which means the company will buy an additional $250 billion in U.S. products by 2023, is boosting American manufacturing and creating jobs.

Next week’s two-day gathering takes the best features of Walmart’s previous manufacturing summits and open calls and combines them into an single event.

Those invited to next week’s summit to hear top Walmart executives talk about the company’s commitment to U.S. manufacturing will include current Walmart suppliers interested in making products in the U.S. as well as current suppliers with new products to pitch. Other attendees will be representatives of companies interested in establishing a relationship with Walmart, the world’s largest retailer based in Bentonville.

Speakers at Tuesday and Wednesday opening sessions will include U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker; Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe; Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson; Greg Foran, CEO of Walmart U.S.; and Michelle Gloeckler, Walmart’s executive vice president of U.S. manufacturing.

Supplier academies will be conducted both days, providing Walmart’s suppliers and potential suppliers with information about Walmart’s customers, U.S. manufacturing trends, corporate responsibility, supply chain and doing business with Walmart.

Walmart held its first manufacturing summit in August 2013 in Orlando, and following it up with a 2014 summit in Denver. It held an open call event last year in Bentonville.

Pritzker, the commerce secretary, praised Walmart in 2013 for organizing the first summit focused on U.S. manufacturing.

“I applaud Walmart for convening this summit and all of the participating companies for the commitment they’ve made to expand their manufacturing activities in our country,” Pritzker said at the time. “Right now, companies in America are making and selling products around the world at an all-time record pace, and the incentives to make things here and hire American workers is only getting stronger. A summit like this one, which brings multiple organizations from the public and private sectors together, is exactly the type of cooperation that’s needed to grow businesses, create jobs and keep America competitive.”