Carroll Thomas has been appointed director of the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). In partnership with local nonprofits, the MEP provides support to small and medium-size U.S. manufacturers through a network of centers in every state and Puerto Rico.
"Carroll brings relevant experience from the federal, private and nonprofit sectors, as well as nearly 12 years at MEP," said NIST Acting Director and Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology Willie May. "She understands the value of collaboration and creating strong networks that bring together varied resources to achieve a common goal."
Thomas comes to NIST from the Small Business Administration (SBA), where she served as associate administrator of the Office of Small Business Development Centers (SBDC). The SBDC is analogous to the MEP program in that its $114 million in federal funds support at least half of the funding provided to 63 host organizations with expert business assistance counselors in service centers in all 50 states and five U.S. territories. During her tenure at SBA, Thomas established innovative grant policies, procedures and processes to oversee $20 million in Disaster Recovery Act funding for small business affected by Superstorm Sandy. She also was the principal SBA senior executive in a major partnership with the U.S. State Department Western Hemisphere Office and initiated an innovative pilot with the Mexican government to work with SBA cluster organizations and Small Business Technology Development Centers.
MEP's network includes more than 440 service locations with more than 1,200 staff serving as business advisors and technical experts to help manufacturers increase profits, create and maintain jobs and establish a foundation for long-term growth and productivity.
"Carroll was selected through a rigorous competitive process," said NIST Associate Director for Innovation and Industry Services Phil Singerman. "I am confident she will be a great addition to the MEP program."
Prior to assuming her position at the SBA, Thomas worked at NIST MEP from January 2000 to November 2012. During her tenure at NIST MEP, Thomas was a member of the Marketing and Communications Office responsible for numerous branding initiatives. She also worked in the Program Development Office and led major programs, including starting the Interagency Network of Enterprise Assistance Providers and many of MEP's technology acceleration activities.
In addition, Thomas held special assignments in the NIST Program Office, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department of Commerce's Budget and Policy and Strategic Planning offices. Thomas has received numerous leadership and performance awards, including the Commerce Gold and Silver medals, and three NIST George A. Uriano awards for outstanding achievement in building or strengthening NIST extramural programs.
Prior to joining federal service, Thomas worked in the private and nonprofit sectors. She holds a bachelor of science degree from Drexel University and an MBA from the Johns Hopkins Carey School of Business.