By now, most people know that the manufacturing industry has changed significantly. As a result, the look, feel, and daily operations of manufacturing facilities no longer resemble what is perhaps the traditional “stereotype.” In response, the way we serve our nation’s small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) must continue to keep pace with industry needs.
To accelerate US advanced manufacturing, multiple government agencies have implemented and expanded the Manufacturing USA (MUSA) Institutes. The goal of the 14 Institutes is to secure the future of manufacturing in the US through innovation, education, and collaboration. Collaboration with the national network of National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Centers is crucial if the Institutes expect to transfer their technologies and innovations to the factory floor; the Centers serve as the bridge to the SMMs they work with every single day. Without that connection, the Institutes are simply not equipped to engage SMMs without the help of MEP Centers.
Now, more than ever, NIST MEP recognizes the need to focus its attention on the connectivity between and among its MEP Centers and the MUSA Institutes. In 2016, they began to fill needs gaps by piloting a program that embedded MEP staff members into the Institutes so that the MEP Centers couple learn more about the Institute’s’ unique technological concentrations while the Institutes learned more about SMMs that could benefit from those technologies. Today, NIST has invested $17M in embedding MEP staff members into 14 MUSA Institutes to further expand and strengthen the national network.
This network is now positioned to seek partnership opportunities on a national scale and work together to reach hundreds, if not thousands of US SMMs each year. This is why the partnership between MEP Centers and MUSAs makes sense. The model is delivering best practices that enhance the productivity and technological performance of US Manufacturing.
ABOUT PHIL MINTZ
As Director of the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership Phil drives outreach to NC manufacturers, builds relationships with federal and state leaders and coordinates efforts to drive profitable manufacturing growth in the state. Phil has 25 years of manufacturing and engineering experience, including 10 years at NC State Industry Expansion Solutions as an IES Regional Manager and specialist in quality management and Lean Six Sigma services. Before joining IES, he held posts as an industrial and systems engineer and engineering cost specialist for clients including the US Navy Procurement Office in Norfolk, VA; Lockheed-Martin Engineering and Sciences Company at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA; and Westinghouse Electric Corporation’s Electronic Systems Division in Baltimore, MD. Phil has a B.S. degree in engineering operations from North Carolina State University and an MS in industrial engineering from North Carolina A&T State University.