On March 7th & 8th, 2018 Ashleigh Walters, President of Onex, Bob Zaruta, President of NWIRC and representatives from all PA IRC’s went to Capitol Hill to speak on behalf of all small- and medium-sized manufacturers (SMM’s). We joined other manufacturers, Donald Smith, CEO of Franklin Industries, and Michael Walton, CEO of Jamestown Coating Technologies, to support the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Program. MEP is a federal public-private partnership that provides services to small- to medium-sized manufacturers. It is managed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and implemented through a network of industry-led centers located in every state.
“MEP returns $8.70 dollars to the federal treasury for every $1 invested.”
Once a year, ASMC members and their client representatives gather in Washington, D.C. for the annual “Hill Day” event. The purpose of this event is meet with the respective Congressional delegation to emphasize the importance of manufacturing and to support the MEP program.
SMMs account for nearly 99% of all manufacturing firms in the US and MEP is the only federal program dedicated to serving them. Therefore, their goal was to ask for an increase in funding, so they can better serve their clients:
- Provide additional services to an increased number of companies within critical supply chains, such as automotive, aerospace, and priority defense sectors that support the growth and technological advancement of our military
- Develop and deploy new services in key areas such as cyber security, 3-D printing, smart factories, flexible materials, broadband technology, and supply chain optimization
- Redouble our efforts and increase client engagement in re-shoring manufacturing repariation and creating domestic supply chains
The team met individually with congressmen to discuss the MEP programs success:
- Congressmen Glen Thompson/ Legislative Assistant Michelle Rakebrand
- Congressmen Mike Kelly/ Legislative Assistant Sam Breene
- Senator Bob Casey / Legislative Assistant Kichelle Webster
- Senator Pat Toomey / Legislative Assistant Tyler Minnich
Onex and the NWIRC
Ashleigh told our story, as a manufacturer, of how our local MEP program helps Onex. She explained how NWIRC has helped us with training events, operational improvements, safety standards, and hosting events that encourage students to get more involved with manufacturing.
The NWIRC, and their sister resource centers improve innovation and productivity of America’s manufacturing community. Small-and medium- sized manufacturers have many challenges to face to stay competitive in the market place and resources such as the NWIRC make that possible.