Rhode Island Manufacturing Leader Named to NIST MEP Advisory Board

Hope Global’s Leslie Taito Joins National Team Provide Providing Guidance to Help Small Manufacturers

PROVIDENCE, RI – Leslie Taito, Senior Vice President of Corporate Operations for Hope Global in Cumberland, RI, has been named to the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Advisory Board (www.nist.gov/mep). The NIST MEP Advisory Board is a national board that is legislatively mandated and established under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA).

MEP is a public-private partnership with centers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico dedicated to serving small and medium-sized manufacturers. Last year, MEP centers interacted with 25,445 manufacturers leading to $9.3 billion in new and retained sales, $1.4 billion in cost savings, $3.5 billion in new client investments, and the creation and retention of more than 86,602 jobs.

Taito will join a team of manufacturing professionals chosen to provide advice and guidance to the national Manufacturing Extension Partnership. The MEP Advisory Board is expected to assist in identifying proactive actions that will enable small manufacturers to successfully address and implement changes in technology and the business environment in the future.

Polaris MEP is the Manufacturing Extension Partnership for Rhode Island. Polaris MEP is part of the University of Rhode Island Research Foundation (URIRF) which is a non-profit entity which oversees market analysis, commercialization of protected intellectual property, and the development of business relationships with corporate and government partners. These commercialization activities advance Rhode Island’s economy while improving society and human lives. Polaris MEP was established in 1996 and has helped hundreds of RI manufacturing companies grow. Polaris MEP has impacted nearly $27.6M of sales and 138 jobs in 2016 alone.

Taito was the former Chief Executive Officer for the predecessor of Polaris MEP – the Rhode Island Manufacturing Extension Services (RIMES) – and continues to be a passionate supporter of the MEP program.  “NIST’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership has a successful history of helping the manufacturing community grow.  I am humbled to be included in the abundant wealth of experience that exists in the NIST MEP Advisory Board members, and I am very excited about the opportunity to work within this team to advance manufacturing in the United States.”

Throughout her professional career, including as the RI Director of Regulatory Reform, Taito has worked tirelessly to support and grow the manufacturing industry. Taito built a wealth of experience supporting different industries through operational excellence and regulatory reform and then joined Hope Global as a Senior Vice President of Corporate Operations.

United States Senior Senator Jack Reed stated, “Leslie Taito will make a significant contribution to the National Advisory Board.  We look forward to her helping shape MEP’s mission on a national level to identify opportunities for growth, encourage the deployment of innovative technologies, and increase manufacturing productivity.”

“Congratulations to Hope Global’s Leslie Taito on being selected to serve on the major national board charged with helping manufacturers across the country expand and create jobs,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who has worked with Taito in priming Rhode Island’s textiles and composites industries for growth.  “Rhode Island has a long tradition of making high-quality products, and I know manufacturers from coast to coast will benefit from the expertise Leslie has gained here.”

“I can think of no more qualified or more dedicated person to serve on the National MEP Advisory Council than Leslie Taito,” said U.S. Congressman David Cicilline. “Leslie’s ongoing work at Hope Global and her previous experience at RIMES position her perfectly to ensure MEP is providing the support our manufacturers need to thrive. I am confident that she will make a real difference for manufacturers across our country and play an important role in creating the kind of good-paying jobs that built the middle class.”

“The NIST MEP Advisory Board is lucky to have Leslie Taito joining the team. Leslie has dedicated years of service to supporting Rhode Island’s manufacturing industry in multiple roles throughout her career,” said U.S. Congressman Jim Langevin. “She brings a strong balance of government and industry experience to the table, and I am confident Leslie will make an excellent addition to the board as it provides guidance and advice to the MEP program.”

About Polaris MEP
Polaris MEP is a statewide non-profit organization that provides competitive manufacturing business improvement programs to grow Rhode Island’s manufacturing industry. Polaris is an affiliate of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Program (NIST MEP) and a business unit of the University of Rhode Island Research Foundation. Since 1996 Polaris has delivered improvement solutions to more than 750 Rhode Island manufacturers to help them achieve sustainable and profitable growth.

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