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  About MEP

About the MEP Advisory Board

Vicki Wessel


VICKIE WESSEL, CHAIR

(Term expires: May 2017)

Vickie Wessel is the founder and President of Spirit Electronics, LLC. She has more than 36 years of business leadership in sales, marketing, procurement, operations, contracts, finance, and quality systems management. Since its founding in 1979, Spirit has grown to support broad line electronic component distribution, supply chain solutions, and component value-added services. Vickie’s innovative and business focused leadership and her continuous pursuit of quality and customer satisfaction has resulted in Spirit achieving many supplier excellence awards from Spirit’s customers, Distributor of the Year by Arizona’s Minority Business Development Agency, Distributor of the Year by the Grand Canyon Minority Supplier Development Council, and Region IX Subcontractor of the Year by the United States Small Business Administration.  She was a recipient of AIA’s “Amelia Earhart Award,” recognizing women who achieve excellence in the aerospace and defense industry. Vickie’s passion for improving the contracting environment for the benefit of small businesses throughout the nation is evidenced by her active affiliation with the National Minority Supplier Development Council, the Pacific Southwest Minority Supplier Development Council, and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.  She currently serves as Vice President of the Foundation Board of the Electronic Components Industry Association, the Advisory Board of RevAz, and the Advisory Board of Enterprise Bank.


 

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 JEFFREY WILCOX, Vice Chair

  (Term expires: May 2016)

 

Jeffrey J. Wilcox is the Vice President for Engineering at the Lockheed Martin Corporation, responsible for leading the development and execution of engineering strategy for the Lockheed Martin Engineering Enterprise and its 60,000 engineers, scientists, and technologists. Throughout his career, Mr. Wilcox has led several critical initiatives for the Lockheed Martin Corporation, including Engineering for Affordability, the Systems and Software Initiative, the Advanced Manufacturing Initiative, and the Energy Solutions Center launch. Prior to joining Lockheed Martin, Mr. Wilcox served as Senior Vice President at Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) in McLean, Virginia. Mr. Wilcox graduated from Drexel University with a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio with a degree in Biomedical Engineering. He serves on the Drexel University Leadership Council, the Stevens Institute of Technology School of Systems and Enterprises Advisory Board, the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) Technical Operations Council, the MIT Open CourseWare Next Decade Alliance Advisory Council, and the US Manufacturing Competitiveness Initiative (USMCI) Steering Committee. Mr. Wilcox is an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Associate Fellow and a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

 
 

DR-CASON
 

CAROLYN CASON
(Term expires: May 2017)   

Carolyn L. Cason, Professor Ermita at The University of Texas at Arlington, has had a distinguished career as scientist, teacher, academic leader and innovator. She began her professional career as a critical care nurse and has held university teaching appointments for over 35 years. She joined the University of Texas at Arlington in 1997 as Professor and Associate Dean for Research in the College of Nursing and served as the university’s Vice President for Research from 2010 to June 2015. She envisioned and built the nation’s first comprehensive healthcare simulation research and development center, the Smart Hospital, creating the prototype for the nation.  She led the efforts that created Smart Care (a living laboratory dedicated to developing non-invasive, pervasive technology to monitor health changes and support independent living) and the Shimadzu Institute for Research Technologies (a $25m core facility supporting chemistry, biology, nanotechnology, and material science research).  In 2014 she was named a Charter Fellow, National Academy of Inventors and in October 2015, she was inducted as Fellow, American Academy of Nursing. She serves on a number of boards including that for Tech Fort Worth, a seed incubator/accelerator supporting entrepreneurs commercializing innovative technologies.
   
 

Eileen Guarina


EILEEN GUARINO

(Term expires: May 2017)

Eileen Guarino is currently President and COO of Greno Industries located in Scotia, New York. Ms. Guarino attended the University of South Carolina. Early in her career, Ms. Guarino was a buyer for a clothing company which represented apparel in various resort locations throughout SC, Florida and Georgia. There she developed a woman's clothing line that retailed in nine locations. Her responsibilities ranged from coordination of the annual buys to importing fabrics to be manufactured in the US. In 1988, Ms. Guarino relocated to upstate New York, where she lent her talents to her new career in the manufacturing parts business as what she calls "part of the Greno team". Greno Industries is a family owned business, and is a recognized minority women owned business in New York State. Ms. Guarino has worked to expand the company’s clients to now include successful relationships in new markets throughout Europe and Asia, as well as leading the company's strategic planning growth efforts of its 60,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility. As a result of her "Greno team" approach, she works to enhance the personal and professional growth of employees to be trained in Six Sigma and Lean Principles. One of her successes in her business career, of which she is most proud, was creating and implementing an in house high school MFG internship training program with local high school students. Ms. Guarino was the past President of the Tech Valley Global Business Network, and current Vice President of the Center of Executives Network of Manufacturing. She is also an active civic member in her chambers of commerce and the Women's Business Enterprise Network Council.

 

 

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BERNADINE HAWES
(Term expires: May 2017)

Bernadine Hawes is an executive level nonprofit professional and economic development specialist working in the areas of project management, strategy development, compliance, and evaluation. Her most recent achievement has been the authorship of a best practices manual for small business and economic development which was funded in part through a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration to American Cities Foundation. Ms. Hawes began her career at the University City Science Center (Philadelphia) starting as a senior-level project administrator and later Vice President.  Currently she is a senior research analyst for Community Marketing Concepts. Ms. Hawes is Chairwoman of the Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center. She also serves as on the board of the PEC Community Development Corporation which focuses on community development initiatives in Philadelphia, is Chair of the PEC Foundation, and serves on the Advisory Board of the Philadelphia Urban League Entrepreneurship Center. Born and raised in Washington, DC, Ms. Hawes has an MS Degree from the University of Pennsylvania.  She is summa cum laud graduate of Lincoln University (Pa).  She has been the national co-chair of Penn’s Black Alumni Society and former member of Penn’s Brister Society for Diversity Inclusion.  

 

 

ADVISORY BOARD: THOMAS LEE
   
   

THOMAS M. LEE
(Term expires: May 2017)
 
Thomas M. (Tommy) Lee has been employed by Vulcan, Inc., an aluminum manufacturing company in Foley, Alabama, since 1985. He currently is President and CEO, and also Secretary/Treasurer of Vulcan Scholarships, Inc. Prior to joining Vulcan, Mr. Lee was employed by Alabama Power Company for eight years as a Commercial Sales Engineer.

Mr. Lee moved with his family from Birmingham to Foley in 1968 and has called South Alabama home for 45 years. He graduated from Foley High School in 1974 and received his B.S. degree in Industrial Engineering from Auburn University in 1978. He and his wife, Sandra, live in Gulf Shores and together they have 3 children: David 30, Anna 27 and Marcus 22.

Mr. Lee has been active in the community since graduating from college. He is a former Chairman of the South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce and a past winner of the Walton M. Vines Free Enterprise Person of the Year. He was a member of Class XVIII of Leadership Alabama and has been president of several civic, local school and professional organizations. Currently he serves as the 2nd Vice Chair of the Business Council of Alabama.

 

 

kathay-rennels


KATHAY RENNELS

(Term expires: March)


Associate Vice President for Engagement at Colorado State University, works to advance collaborative networks across the state and create economic development opportunities. She has significant experience fostering public and private partnerships in regional and rural workforce development, with particular attention to Larimer and Weld Counties. Rennels previously served three terms as a Larimer County Commissioner and is now leading the Food and Agriculture Key Industry Network for the State of Colorado.

Rennels helped initiate the “Value Chain of Colorado Agriculture” study, released in February 2013, and co-authored the November 2014 follow-up study, “The Emergence of an Innovation Cluster in the Agricultural Value Chain along Colorado’s Front Range.” She also initiated the “Advancing the Agricultural Economy through Innovation” summit, held at CSU in March 2015. Rennels was the President of Colorado Counties Inc. and named Commissioner of the year.

She currently serves on the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado, El Pomar Foundation and Manufacturers Edge.

 

 

Ed Wolbert


ED WOLBERT

(Term expires: May 2017)



Ed Wolbert is the president of Transco Products Inc., a leading U.S. medium-sized manufacturer and contractor dedicated to nuclear power. Mr. Wolbert has been in the nuclear power industry for over 35 years, has been with Transco for the last 32 years, and has served as its president for the last 20 years. Mr. Wolbert oversees the daily strategic direction and tactical operations of the company, including direct guidance of its foreign activities. Mr. Wolbert is a member of the American Nuclear Society, and is also a member of ASTM (serving on the C16 committee). Mr. Wolbert continues to serve on the Department of Commerce’s Civil Nuclear Trade Advisory Committee (CINTAC), after previously been both the committee’s vice-chairman and chairman, and has been a vocal advocate and champion for small/medium size enterprises in the nuclear power market.


Former Advisory Board Members