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  About MEP

About the MEP Advisory Board

Vicki Wessel


(Term expires: May 2017)

Vickie Wessel is the founder and President of Spirit Electronics, Inc. She has more than 30 years of experience in the electronics industry, including 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. Her commitment to continuous improvement is evidenced by Spirit’s ISO9002 and AS9000 certifications and her on-going participation in lean manufacturing and process improvement activities. Vickie’s passion for improving the contracting environment for the benefit of small businesses throughout the nation has led to her active affiliation with the National Minority Supplier Development Council, the Grand Canyon Minority Supplier Development Council, the Aerospace Industries Association Supplier Management Council (SMC), the Arizona Minority Business Enterprise Center, and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. In 2005, she received AIA’s “Amelia Earhart Award”, recognizing women who achieve excellence in the aerospace and defense industry.




  (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).





(Term expires: May 2016)

Dennis Dotson is a third generation foundryman serving as Chairman of Dotson Iron Castings in Mankato, Minnesota. The company is in the top tier of foundry suppliers and has been acknowledged by the industry’s society as the “Metalcaster of the Year” out of 2,000 North American facilities. Denny has been very active in the industry serving on various boards, past president of the Ductile Iron Society and is the current president of the American Foundry Society. He is also chairman of People Driven Performance, a startup company focused on internal communications. Dennis has a strong commitment to education and is a trustee emeritus of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, the governing board for the 35 post-secondary state institutions. He is a U.S. Navy veteran and a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (1967 BBA) and the University of Chicago (1968 MBA). He currently serves on the board of Enterprise Minnesota (a NIST MEP affiliate). The constant in his career has been the involvement in many new community, educational and business startups.




(Term expires: May 2017)   

Carolyn L. Cason, PhD, RN, joined The University of Texas at Arlington in January, 1997 as Professor and Associate Dean for Research, College of Nursing. She has over 35 years of teaching experience in schools of nursing and has taught in undergraduate and graduate programs. Throughout her career she has worked to increase diversity in the healthcare workforce. She is co-founder of the Smart HospitalTM, a physical virtual hospital, which serves as a teaching and research and development facility. She created the Genomics Translational Research Laboratory within the College of Nursing and in collaboration with colleagues in the College of Engineering, developed Smart Care (a center dedicated to developing technology to enhance independent living).


Dr. Cason earned her BSN in nursing from UT Medical Branch in 1967, her MSN in Nursing from UT System School of Nursing in 1972, and her PhD in Educational Psychology in 1972. In November, 2011 she became Interim Vice President for Research at UT Arlington and in November 2012, she became Vice President for Research at UT Arlington. She has been inducted into the UT Arlington Academy of Distinguished Teachers and has received numerous awards and recognition for her research.

Roy Church


(Term expires: May 2016)

Dr. Roy A. Church is President of Lorain County Community College (Elyria, Ohio). He has served thirty-six years as a leader in comprehensive community colleges and has led the transformation of Lorain County Community College as its president since 1987. Dr. Church’s hallmark initiatives during his tenure include building collaborative private and public partnerships to support education, workforce and economic development. Among these accomplishments include: establishing a renowned University Partnership Program involving 12 universities delivering over 40 bachelor and graduate degrees; the only Edison Technology Incubator on a college campus in Ohio; a $14 million pre-seed fund for regional technology start-ups; a 46,000 square foot commercialization center for sensors and microsystems; and a 75,000 square foot Advanced Technology Center supporting advanced manufacturing containing the National Science Foundation Weld-Ed Center and rapid prototyping lab. Dr. Church co-chairs the Ohio Board of Regents Articulation and Transfer Advisory Council, Cooperative Education and Internship Advisory Committee and Complete College Ohio Task Force. He also served on the State Advisory Committee on Adult Career-Technical Programs and the Ohio Board of Regents Technology Transfer and Commercialization Task Force. Regionally, Dr. Church serves on the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education, NorTech Board of Directors, Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET) and Fund for Our Economic Future.

Eileen Guarina


(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.




(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.  




(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.



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 30 years, has been with Transco for the last 28 years, and has served as its president for the last 16 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 in his service on the governing board of the Illinois Manufacturing Extension Center, the Illinois affiliate of the NIST MEP Program. 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