Ernest Frederick "Fritz" Hollings (born January 1, 1922) was a Democratic United States Senator from South Carolina from 1966 to January 3, 2005. He was Chair, Committee on the Budget 96th Congress, Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation 100th-103rd Congresses, and 107th Congress.
Senator Hollings was a strong supporter of technology and US industrial competitiveness issues. The Senator introduced the Technology Competitiveness Act of 1988, which became part of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act. From this legislation, that set up the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program, Senator Hollings became known as the "Father" of MEP. He maintained his support for the MEP program through his retirement in 2005. Upon his retirement, the program was re-designated the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership* in his honor.
The NIST Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership started in 1989 with centers in three states - South Carolina, Ohio, and New York. Today, NIST Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership is a national network of affiliated manufacturing extension centers and field offices serving small manufacturers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. NIST Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership centers are independent, non-profit entities, including corporations, universities, community colleges, or state governments.