Miles for Manufacturing 5K Benefits School STEM Programs

The Miles for Manufacturing 5K attracts more than 300 runners and walkers from IMTS. All proceeds benefit school STEM programs in underserved communities.


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The Miles for Manufacturing 5K (M4M) kicks off at 7 a.m. September 12 at DuSable Harbor, as part of IMTS 2018. According to Bill Herman, director of international exhibitions and sponsorship at AMT – The Association for Manufacturing Technology, more than 300 runners and walkers are expected to participate. After this race, total funds raised are expected to top $85,000 since the organization’s start in 2014.

The race operating costs are covered by IMTS 2018, so all proceeds from sponsors and race participants directly support middle school, high school and technical college programs that promote careers in manufacturing.

According to Greg Jones, vice president of Smartforce development at AMT, the STEM programs supported by M4M are chosen from underserved, underrepresented communities around the United States. In the past, selected programs have received either cash donations or MakerGear 3D printers and filament. Donations have also benefited FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics teams and organizations near Chicago. 

The inaugural M4M race took place at IMTS 2014, although the idea had been conceived at IMTS 2012 when Mike DiFranco, group publisher of the industrial group at GIE Media, organized an informal run one morning with a few colleagues who were also at IMTS. He realized that there were probably even more runners at the show and decided to try to bring those people together to run for a good cause.

DiFranco and Peter Eelman, vice president of exhibitions and business development at AMT, developed DiFranco’s idea into what is now Miles for Manufacturing.

This year’s race is the eighth 5K event. The others have been held at the previous two IMTS shows along with AMT meetings.

Going forward, we’re open to running M4M’s at events in which we partner with other organizations, such as our Smart Manufacturing Experience, co-produced with SME, or other regional events,” Herman says. “We’ve also begun to explore ways to grow the integration of the M4M, such as using it as a fun promotional tool to call attention to specific aspects of IMTS and of manufacturing.”