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MEP Advisory Board

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MEP Advisory Board Purpose

The NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership Advisory Board (MEPAB) was created to provide guidance and advice on the MEP program from the perspective of industrial extension customers and providers who have a vision of industrial extension with a national scope.

MEP has developed its strategy and approach to accomplishing its mission based on a core set of guiding values. These values are derived from experience and lessons learned. The value that was the impetus for the MEP Advisory Board is: MEP is committed to being industry-driven and market-defined. Industry provides the primary guidance for the selection and delivery of the products and services offered by the system; and subsequently, industry provides the evaluation of the quality and effectiveness of these services.

Additionally, industry expects MEP to identify proactive actions that will enable small manufacturers to successfully address and implement changes in technology and the business environment in the future. With this value in mind, the MEP Advisory Board represents the views and needs of various stakeholders on MEP programs, plans and policies; assesses the soundness of MEP strategies; and evaluates current performance of the program against MEP's goals.

Recent Board Activities

Updated May 11, 2015

Advisory Board Cost Share Recommendations

In June 2013, the MEP Advisory Board was charged with initiating a review of the MEP cost share structure and provide recommendations to the Director of NIST. On October 18, 2013, the Advisory Board submitted their recommendations to the NIST Director. The links below include the Board's transmittal letter and materials from each meeting related to their review of the MEP cost share structure. 

MEP Advisory Board Charter

Download MEP Advisory Board Charter (PDF)


1. Committee’s Official Designation: Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Advisory Board.

2. Authority: The MEP Advisory Board is authorized under Section 3003(d) of the America COMPETES Act (P.L. 110-69); codified at 15 U.S.C 278k(e), as amended, in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), as amended, 5 U.S.C., App.

3. Objectives and Scope of Activities: The Board provides a forum for input and guidance from Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership program stakeholders in the formulation and implementation of tools and services focused on supporting and growing the U.S. manufacturing industry.  

4. Description of Duties:  

  • Provide advice on MEP programs, plans, and policies.
  • Assess the soundness of MEP plans and strategies.
  • Assess current performance against MEP program plans.
  • Function solely in an advisory capacity, in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, 5 U.S.C. App.

The Board shall transmit through the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) an annual report to the Secretary for transmittal to Congress within 30 days after the submission to Congress of the President's annual budget request in each year.  The report shall address the status of the MEP program and comment on the relevant sections of the programmatic planning document and updates thereto transmitted to Congress by the Director under 15 U.S.C. 278i(c) and (d).

5. Official to Whom the Board Reports: 
The Board will report to the Director of NIST.  

6. Support: The Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership program will provide all necessary support for the Board’s activities.

7. Estimated Annual Operating Costs and Staff Years:
The annual cost of operating the Board is estimated at $150,000.00, which includes 1 work-year of staff support. Members of the Board will not be compensated for their services but will, upon request, be allowed travel and per diem expenses as authorized by 5 U.S.C. 5701 et seq., while attending meetings of the Board or subcommittees thereof, or while otherwise performing duties at the request of the Chair, while away from their homes or regular places of business.

8. Designated Federal Officer:
The Designated Federal Officer (DFO) will be the Director of MEP. The DFO (or his or her disignee) will approve or call all of the Board's meeting, prepare and approve all meeting agendas, attend all committee meetings, adjourn any meeting when the DFO (or his or her disignee) determines adjournment to be in the public interest, and chair meetings when directed to do so by the Director of NIST.

9. Estimated Number and Frequency of Meetings:
The Board will meet at least three times a year. Additional meetings may be called by the Director of NIST or the DFO (or his or her disignee).

10. Membership and Designation: The Director of the NIST shall appoint the members of the Board. Members shall be selected on a clear, standardized basis, in accordance with applicable Department of Commerce guidance. Board members serve at the discretion of the Director of NIST.  

The Board shall consist of 10 members, broadly representative of stakeholders, appointed by the Director of NIST. At least 2 members shall be employed by or on an advisory board for the MEP Centers, and at least 5 other members shall be from United States small businesses in the manufacturing sector. No member shall be an employee of the Federal Government.

Committee members from the manufacturing industry and those representing specific stakeholder groups shall serve in a representative capacity. Committee members from the academic community shall serve as experts, will be considered Special Government Employees (SGEs), and will be subject to all ethical standards and rules applicable to SGEs.

The term of office of each member of the Board shall be three years, except that vacancy appointments shall be for the remainder of the unexpired term of the vacancy. Any person who has completed two consecutive full terms of service on the Board shall thereafter be ineligible for appointment during the one-year period following the expiration of the second term.

The Board’s chairperson and vice chairperson will be appointed from its membership by the Director of NIST under the advisement of the Director of MEP. The Chair will serve a 2 year term, subject to renewal by the Director of NIST.

11. Subcommittees: NIST may establish subcommittees subject to provisions of the FACA, the FACA implementing regulations, and applicable Department of Commerce guidance.   Subcommittee members are to be selected from the parent Board. Subcommittees must report back to the Board and will not provide advice or work products directly to NIST.

12. Record Keeping: Records of the MEP Advisory Board, and of any formally and informally established subcommittees or other subgroups of the Board, shall be handled in accordance with General Records Schedule 26, Item 2 or other approved agency records disposition schedule. These records shall be available for public inspection or copying, subject to the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552).

13. Duration/Termination: This charter will terminate two years from the date of its filing with the appropriate U.S. Senate and House of Representatives Oversight Committees unless earlier terminated or renewed by property authority.

Original Charter signed by Ellen Herbst, Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce.