A Letter from the Director
MEP at 30 - Thoughts from Louisiana
August 23, 2018 marks a special day for the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Thirty years ago, President Ronald Reagan signed the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act (Public Law 100-418). Section 5121 established the Regional Centers for the Transfer of Manufacturing Technology and the Assistance to State Technology Programs, the precursors to today’s MEP.
 
Looking at the history of the MEP program in Louisiana, it can be traced back to the Louisiana Productivity Center (1986), which operated under the University of South Louisiana (currently known as the University of Louisiana at Lafayette; ULL) and focused on improving productivity of business interests in the areas of:
 
·          Plastics, polymers, and composites division
·          Manufacturing and development division
·          Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC)
 
After the passage of the Hollings MEP Program in 1988, the Louisiana Manufacturing & Technology Center (LAMTEC) was formed by combing the Plastics and Manufacturing divisions of the Louisiana Productivity Center. In 1997, LAMTEC was transformed to the Manufacturing Extension Partnership of Louisiana (MEPOL), as a sponsored program of ULL. The program then shifted hosts to South Louisiana Community College (SLCC) in 2014 and to the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) in 2016.
 
LCTCS, which manages all of the twelve public 2-year institutions in the state of Louisiana, provides an expanded geographical footprint for the MEP operations in Louisiana. LCTCS has developed many initiatives to improve the lives of citizens in Louisiana with a goal to train and provide a highly- skilled successful workforce. LCTCS works with each individual community college to create relevant, timely programs and services that address their specific industry needs and is committed to continued support for Louisiana manufacturers. To accomplish that, we are currently advertising for three project managers to be located at the following colleges:
 
• Central Louisiana Technical Community College
• Louisiana Delta Community College
• SOWELA Technical Community College
                 
Please visit https://www.lctcs.edu/human-resources/jobs for job descriptions and directions to apply. The project managers work closely with workforce leaders at the community and technical colleges to serve manufacturers state-wide. Currently, the MEP of Louisiana offers services in Lean, Six Sigma, Workflow Optimization, Growth Services, ISO/Quality, and Engineering Design through internal resources and a vetted network of 3 rd party providers. The addition of project managers will expand the technical expertise available through the MEP of Louisiana to manufacturers.
 
On August 16, 2018, we held an Industry Advisory Board (IAB) meeting in Lafayette, LA. The meeting included a discussion on integration plans with LCTCS, hiring project managers, and reviewing the annual review report. I would like to thank the board members and chair, Mr. Jim Dean, for their continued guidance and passion to help shape an improved vision and mission for the MEP of Louisiana. The board is actively recruiting new board members who are manufacturers; please let me know if you are interested in serving and I will share your interest with Mr. Dean. The IAB mission is to provide advice and guidance to the Director and his staff so that the Center can better achieve its mission to improve the productivity and profitability of Louisiana’s manufacturers. The Board is governed by its bylaws, which include a regular schedule of meetings; responsibilities pertaining to strategic planning; recruitment; and selection and retention of Board members.
 
Looking ahead, Ali Ahmad and Scott Uffman will participate in the 2018 Center Best Practice Conference that will take place in Kansas City, Missouri in September. I look forward to working with the MEP team to continue partnering with manufacturers across Louisiana, who are working each day to make a difference in the lives of our communities, state, country and world through innovative products, value-added processes, and economic impact.
 
Dr. Willie E. Smith, Sr. , Acting Director
Partner Spotlight
Lafayette Economic Development Authority (LEDA)

The Lafayette Economic Development Authority (LEDA) works with businesses as they make decisions to start, expand or relocate to Lafayette, Louisiana, and the surrounding communities. Through innovative collaborations with business, government and education, LEDA strives to grow the community's business base for future development and diversification.

LEDA's mission is to provide assistance to local companies in their growth, market development and workforce development efforts; to recruit additional companies considering locating to the Lafayette area; and to assist in the development of new companies in order to diversify the economy within Lafayette Parish.

LEDA has partnered with Acadiana allies to host a series of education sessions for businesses to learn about programs, resources, and tools to start, grow or relocate in the area. These sessions are open to area businesses of any size and industry sector. On September 20th, MEP of Louisiana's Ali Ahmad will be presenting on the topic of Quality Management for Business as part of the LEDA Education Sessions from 8:30 - 10:30 AM. The event is free to attend; sign up at https://ledaeducationsessions-sept20.eventbrite.com.
July 2018: Face of Manufacturing
“We go the full mile for the customer if that’s what it takes!”

From sweeping floors as a shop hand during his sophomore year in high school to owning his own company, Billy Angers knows a thing or two about keeping a shop running smoothly.

For a small machine shop located in Broussard, Louisiana, company President Billy Angers does more than just your standard machine manufacturing. When the company first started in 1992, there was only one machine. The company has now grown and houses 17 machines which can do everything from machine manufacturing and fabrication to design and development. According to Angers, [the machine shop] “does a lot of innovative things along with job shop manufacturing.” 

Machine Tech Services was instrumental in helping to develop a multi-string hot tap for well recovery. “Working for the offshore industry, customers call us sometimes when they have a rig shut down and need things done in a hurry with a quick turnaround – we’ve been very successful with that,” Angers says. As company President, Mr. Angers is responsible for all facets of the business including helping to identify problems within the manufacturing process as well as anything he can do to help streamline some of the day-to-day responsibilities in the shop.

Currently, the company is working on their 6 th patent. For Angers, being an innovative manufacturer has set his machine shop apart from others. “I don’t like just building parts, anybody can do that. The fun part is actually thinking of something and putting it together; making it become something that’s never been done before!”
Located in Broussard, Louisiana, Machine Tech Services is a full service machine manufacturing facility, capable of custom fabrication ranging from plastic to stainless and everything in between. The company’s capabilities are not limited to general job shop manufacturing. Machine Tech Services offers custom design and drafting services as well as precision production manufacturing.
To nominate the next Face of Manufacturing, click the button, fill out the form and return to kayla.gentry@mepol.org !
What's Happening in the MEP National Network?
Recognizing the MEP Program's 30th Anniversary

August 23, 2018 represents a milestone in the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Thirty years ago, on this date in 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act (Public Law 100-418). Section 5121 established the Regional Centers for the Transfer of Manufacturing Technology and the Assistance to State Technology Programs, the precursors to today’s MEP.

Looking back, the history of MEP is truly the history of the manufacturing sector. Over the years, MEP’s network of Centers and selection of service offerings has evolved to address the challenges of small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs), who make up 99% of the manufacturers, ever advancing U.S. manufacturing. Since 1988, MEP has worked with 94,033 manufacturers, leading to $111.3 billion in sales and $18.8 billion in cost savings and helping its clients create and retain 985,317 jobs, based on data collected since 1998.

To continue reading about the four “eras” of the last 30 years in MEP — and manufacturing — history, click here to visit our blog .