LOS ANGELES-While L.A. Lakers’ star Kobe Bryant was putting together a consecutive series of 50-point games and attracting thousands to the Staples Center to watch him simply shoot warm-up baskets, thousands more were checking out the latest in measurement and manufacturing equipment next door at the L.A. Convention Center. From March 26 to 29, Los Angeles was the site of WESTEC 2007, whose theme of “Solid” seemed to show up in the increased number of exhibitors and floor space, filling up two halls. Likewise, many of this year’s attendees reported strong interest in new equipment software and services. Educational seminars also ran during the show hours, with a number of events also focused on pairing manufacturers and educators together. In addition, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers recognized several manufacturing leaders for their contributions at its awards ceremony on Monday, March 26. Among the honorees were Manfred Weck of Aachen, Germany, Daniel Ariens of Ariens Co., Richard McDermott of FormTech Industries, Charles Cox of Southern Manufacturing, Yoram Koren of the University of Michigan and Warren DeVries of the University of Maryland.