On January 8, 2020, an email was disseminated to our clients and partners containing news of the passing of MEP of Louisiana Director, Dr. Ali Ahmad. It is with great sadness that we mourn this loss. The staff, here at MEPOL, felt it fitting for each to say a few kind words of Ali to commemorate his life and share with you his impact on our professional and personal lives.

Rene Cintron, LCTCS Chief Education and Training Officer: I had the privilege of working with Ali for a couple of years and more directly with him in the last 6 months. I enjoyed working with him. It saddens me not to be able to collaborate with him any longer. Ali was friendly, passionate about the work we do, and full of energy; always enthusiastic.”

Dayna Blanchard, Finance Project Manager: “As avid a teacher that Ali was, he was just as adamant about learning. His process-oriented background was obvious in his questions and analysis of each step that made up the end result. I will always remember his enthusiasm to learn and mission to impart his excitement on learning to others. I always found he was happiest when he was either giving a presentation on a topic to his peers or a Nepris meeting to young adults still in school.  And no matter what he was doing, he always took a piece of knowledge back with him and seemed thankful for that knowledge; that he was able to learn something new each and every day.”

Kayla Gentry, Marketing & Project Coordinator : “Ali always took an interest in mentoring his staff. In that regard, he affected my professional career as he made me push myself where I may not have without his guidance. I will always remember Ali for his dedication to his work and willingness to help those around him do bigger and better things.”

Dan Stumper, Project Manager : “Ali will be missed. He was a dedicated resource who spread his activities across the NIST/MEP Network, the Louisiana Community and Technical College System and business clients. He worked hard and had tremendous dedication to all his activities and the MEPOL group. Ali had passion for his work, people and education.”  

Miriam Russell, Project Manager: “When I was hired by MEPOL, it was obvious that Ali was devoted to moving the organization in a positive and productive direction. In the year that I was associated with Ali, he kept us pointed in a direction that would fulfill the goals of the MEP organization and move the Manufacturers Extension Partnership of Louisiana forward.”

Nelli Sichwart, Project Manager: “One of my observations about Ali was his positive energy when interacting with people and that he never met a stranger. He laughed a lot. And all of these were contagious. In his role as supervisor, it showed that he was an educator. He always made himself available, and described the full picture and explained all nuances of the questions at hand, even if one may have hoped for a short answer at times. I am very grateful for having known Ali!”

Koling Tenney, Project Manager: Ali was one of the smartest and most interesting people I ever worked for. He was passionate about his work and life. He was always available whenever there were any questions or concerns. Although I’ve met him only a few months ago, I am blessed to have worked for him.”

Connee Byrd, Administrative Assistant : “I was very impressed how quickly Ali was able to get a complete understanding of our program, and then meticulously create a plan on how he wanted to move the program forward. He worked tirelessly to develop key relationships and mentor our staff with his keen sense of how to get the job done. His leadership will be missed as we move steadily in the direction he envisioned for our Center.”

Over the last six months, with Ali’s leadership, we have been moving in the direction of updating our state plan via a strategic planning process that includes targeting expanding the services we provide to manufacturers. As we move forward as an organization past this troubling time, we are working on a future which we think Ali would have been proud of. In 2020, we are focused on a Strategic Plan which will provide a solid foundation and a clear vision to assist manufacturers across the state of Louisiana.

The MEP of Louisiana staff
On December 10th, 2019, the MEP of Louisiana Board Meeting and Strategic Planning Session was facilitated by Lise Stewart of Galliard, a business consulting group. The meeting focused on MEP program expectations and laid the ground work for future endeavors.
Delgado Community College, a comprehensive community college, offers programs through the Associate degree. The College provides a learning centered environment through face-to-face and distance education to students from diverse backgrounds to attain their education, career, and personal goals, to think critically, to demonstrate leadership and to be productive and responsible citizens.

Delgado’s Workforce Development and Technical Education Unit seeks to promote personal, professional, and economic development through initiatives designed to maintain a skilled workforce, and enhance the quality of life on local, regional, national, and international levels. The Workforce Development and Technical Education Unit is designed to provide customer driven assessment and training programs as an inducement to secure new value added businesses to our region, to respond to permanent closures and layoffs, and to provide existing businesses with the necessary training for expansion. This Unit will also serve as a forecasting mechanism for industry growth by providing leadership to the business community in identifying and training for emerging workforce trends and technologies. Through these comprehensive initiatives, Workforce Development and Technical Education approach will allow employers to retrain, upgrade, and attract a skilled workforce pool to our region.

Dan Stumper is currently the designated MEPOL Project Manager at Delgado Community College for the Workforce Development Unit. Dan is responsible for collaborating with Delgado Community College to serve small and medium-sized manufacturers within the Southeast region. “The business partner arrangement with Delgado Community College allows us both to work together and create solutions throughout the value chain in our regional market segments. This collaboration is already paying dividends in our industrial sectors,” said Stumper of his role with the Delgado Workforce Development Unit.

Vice Chancellor for Workforce Development and Institutional Advancement, Arlanda Williams stated, “Delgado’s Workforce Development and Technical training efforts are greatly enhanced by working with MEPOL. Our bustling new Advanced Manufacturing Center at the Delgado River City Site in Avondale is reaping benefits from the Delgado-MEPOL partnership, and we look forward to a long and productive era of achievement together.”
Meet the January 2020 Face of Manufacturing
Adam Lillich of Envoltz, LLC

After being involved in multiple disciplines of the engineering design process within other companies, Adam Lillich wanted to make a difference in his own way. As the CEO of Envoltz, LLC in Bossier City, LA, Lillich is now the company expert in all aspects of his business and is able to create products of his own designs.
Envoltz, LLC is a team of passionate people located in Bossier City, LA whose goal is to help electric utility companies harness the power of proven technology. Envoltz targets companies who are ready to advance their fleet with all-electric equipment. By being selective, they are able to provide personal and constant support.
In November 2019, three MEP staff members attended the Emerging Leaders Class 1.12 Workshop in Denver, CO. The class was held to award the 1.11 graduates their certificates and introduce new members to this year's cohort. The Emerging Leaders MEP program started in 2008 to help new and emerging leaders develop a much stronger network with their peers across the country and create a deeper understanding of National Network goals and objectives. The program was also created for MEP staff members to aid their Director by taking on additional responsiblities that help the Center expand relationships or develop new products. This year's MEP of Louisiana EL 1.12 representatives are Dan Stumper (Project Manager) and Kayla Gentry (Marketing and Project Coordinator).
MEP of Louisiana
265 S. Foster Drive, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 70806