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NIST Names Advisory Board For Manufacturing Extension Partnership

Nine prominent industry and economic development leaders have been appointed to serve on the newly created Manufacturing Extension Partnership National Advisory Board. The appointments were made by Robert Hebner, acting director of the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology, which manages the MEP.

The board members are:

  • Jay Brandinger; Trenton, N.J.; executive director of the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology;
  • Maria Estela de Rios, executive vice president of corporate affairs, ORION International Technologies, Inc.;
  • Roxi Downing; Des Moines, Iowa; chief executive officer, Qualis Inc.;
  • Irwin Feller; University Park, Pa.; director, Institute for Policy Research and Evaluation and professor of economics at Pennsylvania State University;
  • Maurice Lee; Boley, Okla.; president of Smokaroma Inc.;
  • Ed Noha; Chicago, Ill.; chairman of the board of CNA Financial Corp.;
  • James Quillin; Alamo, Calif.; senior advisor, Economic Development, California Conference of Machinists;
  • Lawrence Rhoades; Irwin, Pa.; president of Extrude Hone Corp.; and
  • William Webber; Greensboro, N.C.; interim director, PT CAM.

Members were selected for their expertise in the area of manufacturing and industrial extension and for their work on behalf of small manufacturers. Meeting three times a year, the board will provide advice on MEP programs, plans and policies. The board will summarize its findings and recommendations to the Secretary of Commerce in an annual report.

The NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership is a nationwide network of centers offering technical and business assistance to smaller manufacturers. Results of ongoing surveys confirm that MEP services-delivered to almost 56,000 firms since 1989-are yielding sizable benefits. For example, a recent sample of 2,071 client companies reported that, as a result of MEP services, they:

  • Created or retained 3,257 jobs, which translated into an estimated $218 million increase in total customer value added.
  • Invested $72 million in capital improvements.

A non-regulatory agency of the Commerce Department's Technology Administration, NIST promotes U.S. economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards.

News and general information on NIST ( and the MEP ( are available on the Internet's World Wide Web. Smaller manufacturers can call 1-800-MEP-4MFG to reach the MEP center serving their area.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Biographical sketches of the board members are available by contacting Janice Kosko, (301) 975-2767

Released September 18, 1997, Updated November 27, 2017