Program Manager (RI MADE)

Posted: 8/30/2022

Polaris MEP is seeking a Program Manager for RIMADE with experience leading and implementing federally funded initiatives which include industry, government, and academia. The RIMADE Program Manager will drive economic growth working with academia to provide technology resources to our strong national defense manufacturing and supply chain community which will accelerate secure production of highly technical products through automation, robotics, and cyber technologies.

Polaris MEP, a division of URI Research Foundation and an affiliate of the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) National Network, guides Rhode Island manufacturers to sustainable growth, innovative technology strategies and cost-efficient operations.

Polaris MEP serves small to medium sized manufacturers by making connections and introductions to the appropriate resources and programs available to assist in their growth through a variety of programs and activities. In its role as the Statewide Rhode Island Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Center, Polaris MEP seeks to hire a Program Manager.

Manufacturing Advisors are core to the success of Polaris MEP programs and to the manufacturing community in Rhode Island. This position will manage and lead client engagements from beginning to end, with responsibility for identification, delivery and update of support and growth programs to these companies.

The ideal candidate has a proven track record of success managing people and partners to deliver services that support technology-based industry and job growth. The candidate must possess sound judgment and creative problem-solving skills, including attention to detail and conflict resolution. The ideal candidate works effectively in a team-dependent environment but is self-reliant, results oriented, energetic, flexible, and proactive.

This position reports to the Center Manager.


  • Work with National Manufacturing Institutes to execute technology awareness campaigns and needs analysis then deliver advanced automation, information technology, and risk mitigation resources to small manufacturers.
    • Manage industry outreach program which will include marketing and events.
    • Participate in opportunity meetings, develop training roadmaps, and write proposed service agreements as part of client engagement process.
  • Collaborate with small manufacturers and technology subject matter experts to execute assessments which will scope recommendations of project requirements and specifications.
  • Participate in the development of new training curriculum and service delivery options.
    • Follow up with clients and measure results and satisfaction of services delivered.
    • Complete project impact statements, case studies, and customer follow-up, as necessary.
    • Establish long term relationships with industry senior personnel through periodic engagement in strategic planning and continuous improvement projects, as well as providing updates on progress. This includes identifying root cause problems versus symptoms and differentiate between client needs and wants.
  • Oversight of university project teams consisting of faculty and students delivering assessments and implementation programs to small manufacturers.
    • Manage projects including budget and both internal and external resources.
    • Manage and execute documentation of assessment results into reports and client deliverables in text format with relevant charts and tables to visualize findings.
  • Monitor emerging technology and market trends in all manufacturing sectors.
  • Represent Polaris MEP at promotional events.
  • Other duties as assigned to support the operation and success of Polaris MEP.

Desired Education and Experience:

  • Four-year college degree or related experience in engineering or business, or a related field.
  • Minimum 6 years of actual business, manufacturing, engineering, or operations management experience required.
  • Extensive knowledge of manufacturing operations management with an understanding of the financial and operating issues of small businesses and manufacturers.
  • Knowledge of Department of Defense programs related DOD supply chain and technology acceleration.
  • Manufacturing technology experience ideally including automation and cybersecurity.
  • Knowledge of manufacturing quality systems and best practices are important, including the ability to understand blueprints and other technical documents.
  • Knowledge of basic enterprise support functions including supply chain management, distribution, sales and marketing, employment law, safety, regulatory requirements, and quality.
  • Project management skills including coordination, team development, scheduling, budgeting, and tracking results. Ability to be proactive in anticipating problems, solving problems, and developing contingencies.
  • Proven ability to build trust and maintain effective working relationships with clients.
  • Excellent written and spoken communication skills.
  • Working knowledge of Microsoft productivity tools and Salesforce recommended.


Polaris MEP follows safe COVID practices and is an equal opportunity employer.

To apply for this position, please send a resume and cover letter to [email protected].


Polaris MEP, a business unit of URI Research Foundation, recognizes that the field of manufacturing needs to be strengthened by contributions from a broad range of perspectives. The URI Research Foundation is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion and seeks to serve as a representative inspiration for the next generations.

As such, we particularly welcome candidates from groups that are underrepresented, marginalized, and/or excluded in manufacturing who will support the mission of both URI and the URI Research Foundation to expose manufacturing to different perspectives. Candidates will demonstrate a commitment to inclusivity and will enhance a sense of belonging and success.

We are Equal Opportunity Employers. No persons will be discriminated against in employment because of race, color, religion, sex, age, marital status, national origin or ancestry, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity or expression, veteran status, or any other protected characteristic.

Every employee is expected to carry out and support these policies.

Our Vision

Polaris MEP, 401 Tech Bridge and the URI Research Foundation together have a clear vision: to be a community in which a diverse mix of talented people come together to make a lasting difference. Our success comes only through the dedication of our employees and thoughtful, creative collaboration. We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer.


Rhode Island Manufacturing to Accelerate the Defense Ecosystem – “RI MADE”

RI MADE is consortium led by the URI Research Foundation which has been designated a “Defense Manufacturing Community” by the Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation (OLDCC).

The consortium has tentatively been approved for a grant of $5,000,000 to strengthen Rhode Island’s maritime defense industrial base.

With the award, Polaris MEP and the URI Research Foundation  RI MADE will provide resources which advance Automation & Robotics, Cyber Resiliency, and Risk Mitigation through a minimum of 50 grants to Rhode Island manufacturing companies.

Click here to learn more about the RI MADE Defense Manufacturing Community.