Officials with Fabtech are donating $10,000 to jumpstart a campaign to aid victims of the tornados that hit Illinois right before the start of this week’s show.

SME, formerly the Society for Manufacturing Engineers; the American Welding Society, Fabricators and Manufacturers Association International; the Precision Metalforming Association; and the Chemical Coaters Association International made the announcement Wednesday during the event, which took place at McCormick Place convention center in Chicago. Despite the weather, organizers said they still expected more than 35,000 to attend the Nov. 18-21 show.

 “There are many people in our host state who are struggling to recover from the physical and economic damage caused by these storms that hit on a set-up day for Fabtech 2013,” said Bill Gaskin, president of the Precision Metalforming Association. “Some of our exhibitors and attendees were directly impacted by the storm, and we wanted to show the victims of this tragedy that the manufacturing community stands with them in their time of need.”

An online donation page has been set up at