Ms. Carroll A. Thomas was selected as the Director of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) in April 2015. In her role as Director, Ms. Thomas is responsible for a nationwide network of centers to help U.S. manufacturers compete globally, supporting greater supply chain integration and providing access to technology. MEP is a $300 million public-private partnership program leveraging federal support by teaming with industry as well as state and local organizations. With over 400 manufacturing extension offices located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, MEP provides companies with services and access to resources that enhance growth, improve productivity and expand capacity.
Prior to being selected as the MEP Director, Ms. Thomas was appointed as the Associate Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) Office of Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) in November 2012. At SBA, Ms. Thomas was responsible for program and policy development, implementation and oversight of the $113 million grants program that funds the Small Business Development Centers located in every state plus the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands in more than 900 service locations.
From 2000 – 2012, Ms. Thomas served as Program Manager for Supplier Scouting and as Partnership Catalyst at MEP. She implemented pilots to support Buy America procurement provisions by matching U.S. manufacturers with opportunities from publically-funded projects and co-founded the Interagency Network of Enterprise Assistance Providers. Earlier in her career, Ms. Thomas was a small business retail franchise owner; negotiated product deals with over 23,000 U.S. inventors and small manufacturers for electronic retailer QVC and managed marketing efforts for the National Gallery of Art's vast reproduction portfolio.
With more than 30 years of entrepreneurial and small business development experience, her accomplished public/private sector career demonstrate her leadership expertise as a catalyst for creating innovative partnerships and advocating economic development by supporting dynamic small business ecosystems.
Ms. Thomas is a graduate of Leadership Washington and a former Regional Director of the Fashion Group International of Greater Washington, DC. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Drexel University and a Master of Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University.