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  About MEP

Leadership Biographies


Phillip Singerman, Acting Director

phil_singermanDr. Singerman serves as the Acting Director for the Program.  In addition, he serves as the Associate Director for Innovation and Industry Services at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). In this capacity he is responsible for the NIST suite of external partnership programs, including the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, NIST technology transfer and small business innovation research awards, economic analysis, and technology innovation. 

Dr. Singerman has more than 30 years of experience in tech based economic development; he was the first chief executive of two of the best known public-private partnerships, the Ben Franklin Technology Center of Southeastern Pennsylvania and the Maryland Technology Development Corporation. During the Clinton Administration he served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, a Presidential appointment requiring Senate confirmation. Dr. Singerman received his Bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College and holds a doctorate from Yale University. He has taught at Yale College, Barnard College (Columbia University), and the Fels Institute of Government (University of Pennsylvania). After graduating from college he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia, South America, working in rural community development projects.


Ron Gan, Chief of Staff and Administrative and Financial Management Officer/CFO

Administrative and Financial Management Officer: Ron GanMr. Gan joined MEP in April 2007 to oversee all aspects of MEP administration and finances, and has been the MEP Chief of Staff since August 2014. He also is responsible for the management of the MEP Center Panel Review process and has chaired numerous panel reviews.

Mr. Gan graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT in 1979 and earned his MBA in Finance from the University of California-Berkeley in 1988.  He retired from active duty in 1999. Since returning to the federal government, he has held civilian positions in the Department of Homeland Security working for the Coast Guard and Transportation Security Administration; and in the Department of Treasury.  Prior to joining MEP, he spent two years in the NIST Budget Division and was responsible for financial oversight of both the NIST intramural laboratory programs and extramural/industry programs.


William Kinser, Center Operations Director

kinserMr. Kinser is the Center Operations Director where he leads the team of Federal Program Officers (FPOs) responsible for providing financial and programmatic oversight for all Federal funding awarded to support the MEP mission.  Mr. Kinser and the Center Operations Team work closely with MEP Centers to provide cooperative agreement and operational assistance and guidance. The Center Operations Group works closely with NIST MEP’s cadre of Regional Managers and the NIST Grants Management Division (GMD) in supporting the MEP System of Centers.

Mr. Kinser has held progressively responsible, cross-functional leadership roles in grants administration with NIST’s Grants Management Division (GMD) and during his seven-year tenure with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In these roles, William provided direct oversight of grants and cooperative agreements and led the development and implementation of national grants policies, procedures, and best practices. In addition to his broad grants administration experience, William previously served as the Director of Business Operations, Office of Emergency Communications, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and as a Financial Institution Examiner with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).


Kari Reidy, Acting Manager of Communications

kari_reidy_webMs. Reidy leads the Communication team. This team oversees the messaging and outreach efforts focused on highlighting MEP accomplishments and positioning the program as a resource for manufacturers. The Communication team’s responsibilities cover both external communications as well as responding to inquiries from stakeholders such as OMB, Congress and the general public. Ms. Reidy is also responsible for the management and oversight of the Congressionally mandated MEP Advisory Board.

Ms. Reidy joined the NIST organization in 1995 and has worked in the MEP program since 2000.  Ms. Reidy has served as the program manager for Growth and Innovation Services and in particular, managed the ExporTech initiative that was developed in partnership with the International Trade Administration’s U.S. Commercial Service.  Ms. Reidy received her Masters Degree in Business Administration in 2004 and Bachelors Degree in Management in 1998 from Hood College.


Mike Simpson, System Operations Director

System Operations Director: Mike SimpsonMr. Simpson is the Director of System Operations.  As the leader of System Operations, he and his team are responsible for engaging the Leadership and Staff of the MEP System of Centers in a strategic dialog as it relates to improving the competitiveness of U.S. Manufacturers.   His team engages regularly with MEP Center Leadership, including the Boards of Directors, providing them with knowledge and manufacturing best practices.  Also, his team is responsible for deploying key strategic manufacturing competitiveness initiatives in areas such as Top Line Growth (e.g. ExporTech), Sustainability (e.g. E3 and GSN), Continuous Improvement (e.g. Lean and Quality) and Financing.   Many of these initiatives are developed and deployed collaboratively with other public, private, and not-for-profit organizations.

Since Joining MEP in 1994, Mr. Simpson has led several other divisions in MEP, including Information Systems and Center Operations.  Prior to joining the Department of Commerce, he was an Engineer and Information Technology consultant to the nuclear power industry, working with U.S. energy companies to develop systems to reconstitute the design basis of existing nuclear power plants as well as preparing documentation to relicense existing operations. Prior to that he served as an officer on-board the nuclear submarine USS John Adams, which was home based in Charleston, South Carolina. Mr. Simpson received an MBA focused on the Management of Innovation, Science and Technology in 1995 from The George Washington University and a BS in Chemical Engineering from Pennsylvania State University in 1984.


Mark Troppe, Manager of Strategic Partnerships and Program Development

mark_troppe_webMr. Troppe is the Manager of Strategic Partnerships where he leads a team that is responsible for developing and nurturing MEPs relationships with other Federal agencies, Governors and state agencies, industry trade associations, and other partners. He plays an important role in MEP’s collaborations with other federal, state, and private programs to provide leverage for transforming small manufacturers and aligning with state strategies.

Mr. Troppe has held a variety of positions in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. In 2009-2010, Mr. Troppe was assigned to the White House Council on Automotive Communities and Workers. From 2000-2007, he worked at the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) as Director of Economic and Workforce Development where he wrote about, developed courses, and delivered training on the nature of and opportunities for effective relationships between workforce and economic development organizations. Prior jobs included Director of Training for US Web’s internet hosting division, director of a nonprofit program (Kids and the Power of Work, or KAPOW) that promoted career awareness with elementary school youth. Mr. Troppe started his career working a decade with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration.


Gary Yakimov, Manager of Policy and Research

Gary YakimovMr. Yakimov is the Manager for Policy and Research where he is responsible for MEP’s policy and research agenda as well as system and center performance and evaluation.  This includes but is not limited to leadership and management of client and project reporting, client surveys and impact metrics, research and economic studies, and the enterprise information system with over 1,500 users. In addition Mr. Yakimov manages a multitude of special projects for the Director of MEP, including coordination of the recently completed MEP System Strategic Plan. Mr. Yakimov is currently on part-time assignment to the Office of the United States Secretary of Commerce, where he reports to the Senior Advisor in serving as Project Manager for the Department’s Skills Initiative.

Previously Mr. Yakimov has served as Director of Business and Industry Strategies for the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce (CSW) where he directed the project and development portfolio for CSW’s business and industry initiatives, including sector and cluster related work with nearly 30 states and regions.  He has served as faculty on numerous Policy Academies for the National Governors Association to help cohorts of state develop and implement new policies and programs.  Mr. Yakimov has also served in leadership positions for the Maryland Governors Workforce Investment Board and the Delaware Office of Labor Market Information.