About the MEP Advisory Board
MEP Advisory Board Members
DENNIS DOTSON, CHAIR
(Term expires: April 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.
JAMES R. (Jim) BEAN, VICE CHAIR
(Term expires: April 2013)
Jim Bean is the President and CEO of Preco Electronics, Inc. a wholly owned subsidiary of Saber Holdings, Inc. Preco is recognized worldwide as an innovator, designer and manufacturer of vehicle communications systems. Prior to Preco, Jim had over 20 years of operational experience with Fortune 500 companies including National Semiconductor Corporation, Apple Computer, and Sun Microsystems. He held positions in both domestic and international manufacturing. While at Sun, Jim was part of the executive team responsible for taking the company public and its rapid growth as a market leader. In addition to his experience as an employee in the international economy, Jim has served on the Board of Directors for both public and private organizations. He currently serves as the chair on the advisory board for TechHelp, the MEP-affiliate center in Idaho. Jim holds a degree in Industrial Engineering from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
KENNETH G. (Ken) PRIEST ll
(Term Expires April 2013)
Ken Priest is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Kenway Corporation, Chief Executive Officer of Maritime Marine LLC and a member of Priest and Priest LLC. After working as Project Engineer and Engineering Manager of St Regis/Champion/International Paper Company Bucksport Me for over 10 years, he acquired ownership in the family business Kenway Corporation. He has diversified the company from a manufacturer serving the composite needs of the Pulp and Paper Industry to a leader and innovator in composites for a variety of industries including Defense, Marine, Power Generation, Waste Water Treatment and Aquaculture. Ken serves on the Board of Directors, Maine Composites Alliance; MEP-affiliate center in Maine; Past Board of Directors, American Composites Manufacturing Association; Maine Technology Institute; Member of Compliance Advisory Panel Maine Department of Environmental Protection. He has a BS in Engineering from the University of Maine and is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Maine.
(Term expires: March 2014)
Mark Rice is President of the Maritime Applied Physics Corporation. After working for several engineering firms and U.S. Government laboratories, he formed Maritime Applied Physics Corporation (MAPC) in 1986. MAPC has both R&D and production work with offices in Maryland, Virginia and Maine. MAPC currently designs and manufactures electro-mechanical systems that range from submarine and surface ship components to commercial motion control systems. The company has recently completed two unmanned surface vessels for the U.S. Navy along with prototype distributed power and water systems for use by individual families in Afghanistan. MAPC has had several export contracts supplying ship components to foreign shipbuilders. Mark is a member of the local District Export Council for the Department of Commerce. He has a BA in Physics from the University of Maine and is a licensed Professional Engineer.
EDWARD W. (Ned) HILL
(Term expires: April 2014)
Edward W. (Ned) Hill is Dean, Professor, and Distinguished Scholar of Economic Development at Cleveland State University’s Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs. He is also a Nonresident Senior Fellow of the Metropolitan Policy Program at The Brookings Institution, a Nonresident Visiting Fellow of the Institute of Government at the University of California at Berkeley, and Adjunct Professor of Public Administration at South China University of Technology. He edited Economic Development Quarterly from 1994 to 2005. Hill is a member of the board of directors of MAGNET, the MEP affiliate organization in Northeast Ohio. Ohio Department of Development Director Christine Schmenk appointed Hill to Ohio’s Manufacturing Task Force in 2011 and he has been a member of Ohio’s Cooperative Education Advisory Council since 2009. Hill and his team completed a major study of advanced manufacturing for Pennsylvania’s Industrial Resource Network Program in 2010. In 2011 and 2012 they advised JobsOhio, Ohio’s economic development organization, and Northeast Ohio’s economic development network on development strategy in 2011 and 2012. The Ohio Manufactures Association presented Hill with its Legacy Award in 2005.
(Term expires: March 2013)
James Jacobs is the Associate Director for Community College Operations at the Community College Research Center, and the Director of the Center for Workforce Development and Policy at Macomb Community College in Michigan. Dr. Jacobs is a national expert on workforce development and community colleges with more than two decades’ experience working through community colleges to meet the training needs of manufacturers in multiple industries. At Macomb Community College, Dr. Jacobs initiated the Machinist Training Institute, a college program that trained entry level machinists for small and medium sized manufacturing firms. This program was the first NMCS (National Metalworking Standards Council)-certified machining center at any community college in the nation. Dr. Jacobs was also responsible for the establishment of community college training programs between the Industrial Technology Institute and Michigan community colleges. He also coordinated the Mid-American Training Group, a group of 15 major community colleges in the mid-west that performed education and training activities with auto and steel manufacturers in their communities. He has also conducted major studies on the impact of new manufacturing technologies on skill requirements of firms both for the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Labor.
(Term expires: May 2014)
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 2014)
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 2014)
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
(Term expired: April 2011)
Cheryl Hill is owner and CEO of Hill Manufacturing, Inc. in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Hill Manufacturing is a 65 employee CNC machine shop with customers in energy, aerospace, and other industries. In June, 1996 Ms. Hill became sole owner of Hill Manufacturing with five employees and annual sales of less than $500,000. Since that time, she has purchased Ketchum Manufacturing (later renamed Hill Aerospace) and created an additional firm, Hill Equipment Manufacturing. Her company’s sales have grown to more than $7,500,000. She was elected to the board of directors of the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance in 2002 and is currently serving her second year as board chair of the Alliance, the MEP affiliate in Oklahoma. She is an active business owner and articulate advocate for Oklahoma’s manufacturing community. In addition, she has been a mentor to other women in manufacturing through the Oklahoma Women in Business and Agriculture Conference. She also has been a speaker at State Career and Technology Education Conferences on behalf of manufacturers. She currently serves on the Bank of Oklahoma Wealth Advisory Board and is a valued member of the prestigious Executive Women’s Forum. She is assisting the mayor of Tulsa with the development of a manufacturing training program for incarcerated offenders as they are released from prison. A member of the 2007-2008 class of Leadership Oklahoma, she serves on the board of the Oklahoma Academy. Ms. Hill attended Mankato State College in Mankato, Minnesota, and moved to Oklahoma in 1974.
FRED P. KELLER
(Term expired: March 2012)
Fred P. Keller is chairman and CEO of Cascade Engineering, a leading multi business manufacturer in the renewable energy, automotive, industrial, and recycling industries, primarily with plastic injection molded products. A materials engineer by training, he founded the Company in 1973,. The Company’s industry recognition includes the Society for Human Resource Management's top 10 “Best Medium Companies to Work for in America”; the White House’s Ron Brown Award for Corporate Leadership; and Goodwill Industries’ “Employer of the Year” award, and Chrysler’s “Technology Role Model” award. In 2004, he was named to the U.S. Department of Commerce Manufacturing Advisory Council and served for 2 years as Chair before retiring in 2011. He is also the recipient of a “Distinguished Service Award” from the National Governors Association. He served as a director of Meijer, Inc. and serves on the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, is past chairman of the Economic Club of Grand Rapids, and has chaired several community boards. His innovative management approach and work in advancing sustainability are featured regularly in business and industry publications, and he serves as a visiting lecturer on Sustainability at Cornell University’s Johnson School of Management. A Grand Rapids native, he earned a B.S degree from Cornell and a master of business management from Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute.
(Term expired: February 2010)
Keith is president of A+ Corporation, a company that develops, manufacturers, and markets Analyzer Sample Conditioning Components required for extracting samples from process lines or vessels, transporting the sample to the analyzer, and conditioning it so that it may analyzed. Keith has been heavily involved with A+ Corporation from the foundation of the company from its infancy to present time. He has provided day-to-day management, serving as both sales manager and marketing manager, In 2005, Keith became president and is currently responsible for overall management and strategy for the company. In his various roles he has been involved in all aspects of the business, from mapping process flows to implementing strategy to overseeing the negotiation, sale, and transfer of technology to a 3rd party. Keith has been heavily involved with the Louisiana MEP center (MEPOL) using their services fir a company-wide lean transformation and currently serving on their Industrial Advisory Board.
MERRITT R. MARQUARDT
(Term expired: April 2009)
Merritt R. Marquardt recently retired from the 3M Company where he served in the Office of General Counsel. His work involved legal practice in the areas of anti-trust, government contracts, and counsel to numerous operating units across a broad range of business matters. Each corporate division has its own R&D, marketing, manufacturing, and sales departments which are governed by an operating committee which functions as a board of directors for that business. Over the years, he served on the operating committees of more than a dozen of such business units. He has also been active in both professional and community affairs, including service on the Board of Directors of Enterprise Minnesota and numerous Minnesota State Bar and Minnesota Supreme Court committees. He currently is engaged in teaching courses on Western Political Philosophy at both the University of Minnesota and the University of St. Thomas - Minnesota as an adjunct professor. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the George Washington School of Law, and during the interim spent time on destroyers as an officer in the U.S. Navy.
CAPERS W. McDONALD
(Term expired: September 2010)
Capers McDonald is presently an Executive in Residence and faculty member of Johns Hopkins University’s Carey Business School. For 12 years previously, he led BioReliance Corporation as President and CEO, providing innovative testing and manufacturing services for the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries from operations in the U. S. and Europe. When acquired during 2004, the company was valued at a 32-fold increase and greater than 33% annual return for investors and employees over Capers’ 12 years of leadership. During 2003, BioReliance was ranked #1 nationally by Forbes in earnings per share growth among “200 Entrepreneurial Hot Shots” and #11 by Fortune Small Business among “America’s Fastest-Growing Small Companies.” Capers served three terms as Chair of the Technology Council of Maryland and was named a 2002 Greater Washington Entrepreneur of the Year. He has been recognized as a national Distinguished Eagle Scout and included among Who’s Who in Science and Engineering and Who's Who in the World. Capers earned an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT, and a B.S. in Engineering from Duke University.