Statement of Expenses for Manufacturing Innovation 2012 Event
July 13, 2012
The Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has held its Innovation Event in Orlando, Florida, at the Orlando World Center Marriott annually since 2006 in order to provide workshops and training for employees of the 400 non-profit MEP affiliated centers across the country, as well as education and networking for manufacturers and industry experts. The event helps smaller manufacturers compete in the global market to create American jobs.
This was not an event for federal workers. About 90 percent of the attendees were from private sector organizations. NIST/MEP federal employees who attended were there to help staff the 75 different substantive workshops, panel discussions, and expert talks at the event, including sessions to match smaller manufacturers with specific new business opportunities.
No federal funds were spent on catering, entertainment, or alcohol. Any reception and entertainment costs associated with this conference were paid for entirely by funds from private sector sponsors.
Keeping costs down is always a priority for such events. The venue was chosen because of the affordability of airfare and accommodations.
The total amount of MEP federal funds spent for its May 2012 Manufacturing Innovation Event was $670,845. The MEP federal funds for the conference covered such expenses as travel, event programming, hotel conference rooms, and event infrastructure.
Employees from the non-profit centers affiliated with MEP come to the meeting because they gain valuable training and contacts. Contrary to erroneous reports, there is no contractual requirement for the MEP affiliated centers to attend this meeting. In recent years, MEP has expanded the number of workshops offered and many manufacturers now also attend because the meeting programs and events help their companies learn practical innovation and competitiveness strategies. Private sector attendance at the meeting has also increased significantly this year due to the expanded program.
The meeting is a key component of MEP's efforts to help small- and mid-sized manufacturers improve and expand their operations, innovate and create jobs. It also helps fulfill the program's statutory requirements, particularly: "active dissemination of scientific, engineering, technical, and management information about manufacturing to industrial firms, including small- and medium-sized manufacturing companies."
Studies have estimated that for every one dollar of federal investment, the MEP generates around $30 in new sales growth. This translates into $3.6 billion in new sales annually. For every $1,570 of federal investment, MEP creates or retains one manufacturing job.
About the Manufacturing Extension Partnership
The National Institute of Standards and Technology's Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) works with small and mid-sized U.S. manufacturers to help them create and retain jobs, increase profits, and save time and money. The nationwide network provides a variety of services, from innovation strategies to process improvements to green manufacturing. MEP also works with partners at the state and federal levels on programs that put manufacturers in position to develop new customers, expand into new markets and create new products.
"The conference was an amazing value for a small company like ours. The seminars were directly related to what we're doing. The Business Matchmaking was extremely well-run and connected me with the exact types of businesses we want to interact with. I had the opportunity to speak with companies I wouldn't normally feel I had access to, and these contacts will give us the chance to diversify into new industries such as wind energy and rail. I had never been to an event like this, where I came home with a fistful of useful contact names for new business. In all, we made so many beneficial contacts that I believe this was THE BEST use of our marketing budget in lean times."
Erin Dyer, quality control manager
Accurate Dial & Nameplate, Inc.
(small manufacturer in Glendale, CA)
"As a small manufacturer you tend not be aware of all the breadth of programs available. At the MEP meeting you get access to SBA, export assistance, banks, trade organizations, and so many other kinds of resources that can help you grow your business. There is so much available and you want to go to as many sessions as possible. It is work from start to finish.
MEP is one of the only large public-private partnerships you can find in manufacturing. The meeting works because it is a real mixture of public and private experts. In the last two years it has really grown to a much broader audience and that growth tells you that companies find it valuable. They can't afford to waste money. It's got to result in new business or an important improvement to a process or some other tangible benefit."
Mark Rice, President
MAPC (small manufacturer in Baltimore,
and member of the MEP Advisory Board)
"The unique thing about this meeting for manufacturers is that it gives them access to great content and at the same time to be able to collaborate and communicate with people who run the MEP centers across the country. The MEP centers are a key component in the U.S. manufacturing infrastructure. These are the people guiding and instructing U.S. companies on how to excel at manufacturing. Between the speakers, attendees and NIST/MEP staff you can meet some of the brightest people in the industry. What's invaluable is that you can get all this information and these contacts in one place at one time."
Douglas K. Woods, President
Association for Manufacturing Technology
(AMT was one of several sponsors for