Polaris MEP and Rhode Island Manufacturing in the News

Bookmark this page to keep up to date on the latest news about Polaris MEP as well as your friends and peers in the Rhode Island manufacturing community. If you are a Rhode Island Manufacturer and would like to have your press release/news item added to this page, send your request to info@polarismep.org.

READE Announces Certification to ISO 9001:2015

May 16, 2018 – Reade International Corp., DBA Reade Advanced Materials, a global distributor of specialty chemical solids, is proud to announce their recent International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001:2015 certification. The 2015 revision is intended to ensure that ISO 9001 continues to adapt to the changing environments in which manufacturers operate. Some of the key updates include limiting risk through an assessment of processes, and improved quality standards and requirements. Leadership and management commitment are also new areas of increased focus in the new ISO standards which will bring added value to the companies’ internal processes.
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NEB Becomes ISO 9001:2015 Registered for the Manufacture of Composite Components and Assemblies

May 8, 2018 – After close to a year of refining their Quality Management System with help from Rhode Island’s Polaris MEP, New England Boatworks Inc. (NEB) has been ISO 9001:2015 registered by NQA. NEB joins a very limited number of Rhode Island Composites businesses who have attained this registration and, while NEB will continue its strong tradition of boat building and marine service work, we look forward to further diversifying our custom composite construction capabilities into new areas.
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RI Manufacturer News: First Card Company is now First Card Packaging

September 6, 2017 – First Card Company, a family owned and operated packaging manufacturer located in East Providence, Rhode Island, announced today that it will now serve its customers as First Card Packaging.
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Rhode Island Manufacturing Leader Named to NIST MEP Advisory Board

August 10, 2017 – 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).
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Panel Discussing Federal Funding to Benefit Rhode Island Manufacturers Convened

August 7, 2017 – At a panel discussion hosted by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Representative David Cicilline, representatives from three Rhode Island manufacturers discussed how Polaris MEP, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership for Rhode Island, has impacted small manufacturing in Rhode Island.
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Polaris MEP and The Phoenix Partnership Bring 21st Century Lean to Rhode Island

July 5, 2017 – Polaris MEP (Manufacturing Extension Partnership) and the award-winning Phoenix Partnership will be providing local manufacturers with 21st Century Lean training in the coming months. The two organizations share a common purpose that is to help Rhode Island manufacturers become more efficient and profitable through continuous improvement and lean manufacturing methodologies.
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Polaris MEP and RIMA Announce First of Its Kind RI Manufacturing B2B Event

January 13, 2017 – Polaris MEP (Manufacturing Extension Partnership) has joined forces with Rhode Island Manufacturers Association (RIMA), to bring the state’s manufacturing community together at the first Rhode Island Manufacturing B2B. The event will be held in conjunction with the “DoD Northeast Regional Council Training & Matchmaking” event presented by Rhode Island PTAC and will occur on March 23rd at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick, RI.
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Polaris MEP Announces 2nd Round of Applications Open for Manufacturing Innovation Challenge

November 2, 2016 – Polaris MEP (Manufacturing Extension Partnership), a division of the University of Rhode Island Research Foundation, announces today the second round of applications are open for the Manufacturing Innovation Challenge, a competitive opportunity for RI manufacturers supplying the defense industry to access over $1 million of available funding, expertise and hands-on design and product development talent. Awards are currently available to qualifying RI manufacturers with a defense focus. Applications can be found at www.polarismep.org/challenge. Deadline is November 23, 2016 at 12:00 pm.
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Polaris MEP Awards 32 RI Manufacturers through Manufacturing Innovation Challenge

August 4, 2016 – Polaris MEP (Manufacturing Extension Partnership), a division of the University of Rhode Island Research Foundation, announces today the recipients of the Manufacturing Innovation Challenge Level 1 and Level 2 awards. The Manufacturing Innovation Challenge is a competitive opportunity for RI manufacturers to access expertise and hands-on design and product development talent to stimulate business growth, innovation and strategic advancement. It is the state’s most significant investment in Rhode Island’s manufacturing sector currently, thanks to federal funds through Rhode Island Commerce Corporation.
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Manufacturing Innovation Challenge Interview

nbc10-business-lunch-june2016June 10, 2016 – Polaris MEP (Manufacturing Extension Partnership) Center Director, Christian Cowan, was interviewed by NBC 10’s Frank Coletta about the Manufacturing Innovation Challenge. The Manufacturing Innovation Challenge is a competitive opportunity for RI manufacturers to access funding, expertise and hands-on design and product development talent.
Watch the Interview>

Polaris MEP Launches Manufacturing Innovation Challenge

May 25, 2016 – Polaris MEP (Manufacturing Extension Partnership), a division of the University of Rhode Island Research Foundation, launches today at World Trade Day the Manufacturing Innovation Challenge, a competitive opportunity for RI manufacturers to access over $1 million of available funding, expertise and hands-on design and product development talent. The Manufacturing Innovation Challenge is free and available to qualifying manufacturers in Rhode Island.
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Polaris MEP & Composites Alliance of RI Awarded Industry Cluster Grant

compoisite-allianceMay 17, 2016 – Polaris MEP & Composites Alliance of RI were awarded an industry cluster grant to promote adoption of composites as a new material for manufactured products. The Composites Alliance of Rhode Island is a consortium of companies and stakeholders focused on growing the composites industry in Rhode Island through advocacy, education and promotion. Currently under the organizational umbrella of RIMTA, the Alliance was formed in May 2014, after an industry round table that drew a hundred thought leaders from government and industry who together determined a clear need for a unified approach to exploring the capabilities of the state’s composites industry, its needs, and its ability to create jobs.
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Rhode Island Manufacturing Boot Camp Launched to Fill Skills Gap at Local Companies

No cost program created to provide RI manufacturers with newly trained workforce

April 6, 2016 – Polaris MEP (Manufacturing Extension Partnership), a division of the University of Rhode Island Research Foundation, has joined forces with Rhode Island Manufacturers Association (RIMA) and Workforce Performance Solutions (WPS Training) to deliver the Rhode Island Manufacturing Boot Camp. As part of RIDLT’s Real Jobs Rhode Island initiative, the program is designed to provide qualified entry-level candidates to hiring manufacturing companies as soon as possible.
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New Polaris MEP Offerings Provide Rhode Island Manufacturers Growth Tools

Entrepreneurship Expert, Marketing Guru and Manufacturing Specialists Highlight Business-Focused Calendar

March 14 – Polaris MEP has announced the lasted crop of seminars, workshops, and lunch & learns for Rhode Island manufacturers. The second quarter of 2016 finds Polaris MEP addressing real challenges that are facing manufacturers, many of them off of the shop floor.
Read More>

Older News

R.I. Commerce Corp. awards $451,000 to 11 RI companies for innovation projects

Polaris Partners Among those Awarded

By Donita Naylor, Providence Journal
Posted January 26, 2016
Providence, R.I. — Companies working on renewable wind-energy technology, biotechnology advances for transplant recipients, agricultural calcium products to improve shellfish growth and clinical laboratory testing of a product that might be effective against drug-resistant bacteria were among 11 projects that won a combined $451,897.25 in new innovation vouchers Monday night from the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation.
The following companies were awarded the innovation vouchers:

  • Agcore Technologies LLC, Cranston, $50,000: to partner with the University of Rhode Island Department of Fisheries, Animal & Veterinary Science in the field of algae farming and feed-agricultural and biofuel products;
  • Applied Radar, Inc., North Kingstown, $10,000: to partner with Polaris MEP in the defense electronics industry;

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Polaris MEP Poised and Ready to Assist RI Manufacturers with ISO 9001:2015 Revision

This Revision Requires Managing Risk All the Way From Suppliers to Customers

October 1, 2015
Providence, R.I. – Area manufacturers may soon begin scrambling to comply with last week’s release of latest revision of the ISO 9001 Quality Management System (QMS), ISO 9001:2015. Now that the revision has been finalized, Polaris MEP (Manufacturing Extension Partnership), a division of the URI Research Foundation, will begin equipping Rhode Island manufacturers with the tools they need for certification.
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R.I. Manufacturing Week: Lessons in efficiency and profitability

The Providence Journal
September 30, 2015
North Smithfield, R.I. — Governor Raimondo went to school Tuesday morning, joining some 50 manufacturing company leaders as they learned ways to improve their businesses. Their classroom was the factory floor at WestRock, a maker of injection-molded plastic parts that is part of a corporation with 42,000 employees worldwide. The visit was part of the Rocket Program run by the Polaris Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a division of the University of Rhode Island Research Foundation.

“The Rocket Program is a state-funded program where we’re looking to educate smaller companies and help them grow,” said Polaris director Christian Cowan. The program, part of Polaris’ larger, federally funded mission, receives $350,000 from the state to help smaller companies. The visit to WestRock included companies with 4 to 80 employees.

“We’re going to share best practices so we become more efficient and more profitable,” Raimondo told the manufacturing executives as she stood on WestRock’s factory floor Tuesday. “What’s working on one floor should be transported to another floor.”
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Polaris MEP’s Rocket Program Rolls On with All Access Bus Tour of Manufacturers

Governor Proclaims Manufacturing Week RI at the Event

September 21, 2015
Providence, R.I. – Polaris MEP (Manufacturing Extension Partnership), a division of the URI Research Foundation, continues its roll out of the Rocket Program introduced last month with the launch of their All Access Bus Tours. The first All Access Bus Tours will kick off on September 29th during a ceremony marking the start of Manufacturing Week.
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Polaris MEP Announces the Rocket Program for Small Rhode Island Manufacturers

August 25, 2015
Providence, R.I. – Polaris MEP (Manufacturing Extension Partnership), a division of the URI Research Foundation, is announcing its latest move to lift Rhode Island’s manufacturers to higher profitability and employment. Polaris MEP has committed 100% of its first ever state funding of $350K to go to Rhode Island’s small manufacturers in the form of innovative events, programs and pricing.
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This Non-Profit Works to Make Rhode Island Manufacturers Profitable

Rhode Island Small Business Journal
March 23, 2015
Rhode Island manufacturers are doing amazing things and Polaris MEP is hoping you will start to take notice. A business unit of the University of Rhode Island Research Foundation, and partially funded by NIST, Polaris MEP provides business improvement programs to grow RI’s largely misunderstood manufacturing industry.
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NIST 2015 SBIR Grants to Fund Research in Manufacturing, Clean Energy, Cybersecurity and Bioscience

March 11, 2015
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is offering to fund research projects that address specific challenges in the fields of advanced manufacturing, climate change and clean energy, cybersecurity, health care and bioscience.

The NIST SBIR program seeks to fuel technological innovation in the private sector by strengthening the role small business plays in meeting federal R&D needs and bringing to market innovations derived from federal research and development. The program also works to increase participation by socially and economically disadvantaged persons and women-owned small business concerns.

These SBIR “Phase I” awards are intended to determine if the proposed research is feasible, and to gauge how well the awardee performs that research. The awards can provide up to $100,000 over a performance period of seven months. Awardees that successfully complete their Phase I research projects will be eligible to apply for Phase II funding to develop the technology further. Read More>


PBN Chooses Manufacturing Award Winners, Blount Tops for Leadership

Providence Business News
March 6, 2015
PROVIDENCE – Todd Blount, president and CEO of Blount Fine Foods Corp., has been named winner in the Leadership & Strategy category of Providence Business News’ second annual Manufacturing Awards program. Blount is among 12 winning individuals and companies selected from dozens of applications and that will be recognized at a dinner to be held Thursday, April 2 from 5:30-8 p.m., at Bryant University’s Bello Center.

Other winners in this second year of the Manufacturing Awards are:

  • Hope Valley Industries, for Overall Excellence, more than 150 employees
  • Bouckaert Industrial Textiles Inc., Overall Excellence, 50-150 employees
  • SES America Inc., Overall Excellence, fewer than 50 employees
  • New England Institute of Technology, Collaboration in Manufacturing
  • Ava Anderson Non Toxic, Emerging Manufacturer
  • Wardwell Braiding Co., Exporting Excellence
  • Petro-Cycle Solutions LLC, Green Manufacturing Excellence
  • Hayward Industries, Lean Manufacturing Excellence
  • Quick Fitting Inc., Product Innovation & Design
  • Toray Plastics (America) Inc., Safety Performance & Records Excellence
  • Edesia, Workforce Development & Productivity Excellence

Presenting sponsor for the second PBN Manufacturing Awards program is Polaris MEP. Read More>


Reed, Whitehouse Announce $750,000 to Strengthen RI Manufacturing

Press Release
February 5, 2015
WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse today announced $750,000 in federal funding to continue supporting the Polaris Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). Based in Providence, Polaris MEP is a statewide non-profit organization that provides competitive manufacturing business improvement programs to help the state’s manufacturing industry become more competitive and innovative. Polaris is a business unit of the University of Rhode Island Research Foundation and has worked for nearly two decades to provide improvement solutions to over 750 Rhode Island manufacturers. Read More>


Polaris MEP Announces New Slate of Workshops for RI Manufacturers in 2015

Press Release
December 15, 2014
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Polaris MEP will host a number of new and updated workshops in the first quarter of 2015 to help Rhode Island Manufacturers achieve operational excellence during the new year. Polaris MEP’s project managers draw from decades of experience in the Rhode Island manufacturing environment and now also introduce new project managers added in 2014.  Read More>


Polaris MEP Hosts Nationally Renowned Resource for Supply Chain Optimization

Press Release
October 22, 2014
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Polaris MEP will host its Supply Chain Optimization workshop on October 30, 2014 at 315 Iron Horse Way in Providence from 8:30am-12:00pm. Supply chain experts from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) in Gaithersburg, MD will present this successful program currently being rolled out in more than 20 states around the country.  Read More>


URI Names Director of Polaris Manufacturing Extension Partnership

Press Release
August 13, 2014
KINGSTON, R.I. – The University of Rhode Island has named Christian Cowan the director of Polaris Manufacturing Extension Partnership, effective August 4. Cowan is a manufacturing executive with more than 20 years of experience managing small and large organizations in the information technology networking, energy and textile industries.  Read More>


Cicilline Helps Advance Bill to Support RI Manufacturers

Press Release
July 22, 2014
WASHINGTON, DC –The U.S. House of Representatives today approved the NIST Reauthorization Act, legislation that authorizes several manufacturing support programs, including the National Institute of Standards and Technology Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline (D-RI), who supported the measure, said the bill authorizes $850 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, including $128 million for the MEP program.”  Read More>


Enrollment Opens for R.I.’s First Manufacturing Apprenticeship for CNC Machinists

Press Release
June 18, 2014
Providence (R.I.) — Enrollment is now open for Rhode Island’s first registered apprenticeship program in manufacturing, which will train computer numerically controlled (CNC) machinists. Both individuals and employers looking to obtain skills training for an employee can participate in the CNC Machinist Registered Apprenticeship—a new program made possible by funding from the Governor’s Workforce Board Rhode Island. Read More>


Manufacturing Extension Now Focusing on Growth

Providence Business News
May 12, 2014
In choosing a new name, the former Rhode Island Manufacturing Extension Service looked to the North Star to project a sense of guidance and strategic direction for the state’s manufacturers. Now called Polaris MEP, the organization formerly known as RIMES is evolving into a resource for companies looking to expand, innovate and find new markets, in addition to streamlining operations or training workers. Read More>


RIMES Changes Name to Polaris MEP to Highlight Growth Services for Area Manufacturers

University of Rhode Island
May 6, 2014
The Rhode Island Manufacturing Extension Service, a long-time service provider to the state’s manufacturing community, has been renamed Polaris Manufacturing Extension Program, a business unit of the University of Rhode Island Research Foundation. Read More>


RIMES makeover to promote innovation

Providence Business News
January 13, 2014
The Rhode Island Manufacturing Extension Service, a 20-year-old nonprofit commonly known as RIMES, is in transformation mode. Besides a name change, new services will be targeting innovation and the economic stimulation that implies, especially for smaller manufacturers and startups. Read More>


URI Research Foundation’s Polaris MEP connects Innovation from the University to RI manufacturers

April 12, 2013
To jumpstart the Rhode Island economy, University of Rhode Island faculty are ramping up their research discoveries that lead to new companies, cutting-edge patents and innovative public-private partnerships to develop new products.


Whitehouse Hears from RI Business Owners about Efforts to Create Jobs

Office of US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
June 27, 2011
After hearing from small business owners about how we can get our economy moving, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse last week introduced the Job Creation Tax Credit Act (S. 1271) to help businesses hire more workers. Read More>


Sheldon Whitehouse: Seeking a Fair Deal for R.I. Manufacturers

Providence Journal
January 30, 2011
From the Old Slater Mill in Pawtucket, to modern submarine production, at Quonset Point, the manufacturing sector has always been central to Rhode Island’s economy.  Simply put, in the Ocean State, a strong manufacturing sector means a strong economy.  Read More>


Whitehouse Invites Manufacturing Chief to State of Union

Providence Journal Blog
January 21, 2011
Leslie Taito, the chief of an organization for Rhode Island manufacturers, will be the guest of Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse next Tuesday when President Obama speaks to the Congress about the state of the union.


Contech Medical

Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC)
February 24, 2009
In 1987, Rhode Island native and entrepreneur Ray Byrnes was on a mission to solve a problem.  He wanted to create user-friendly spiral wound dispensers for guide wires/ catheters and stents for critical medical applications such as cardiac catheterization and open heart surgery.  Read More>


RIMES Earning High Marks for Aiding Manufacturers

Providence Business News
November 10, 2008
Few, if any, investors snub a 42 to 1 positive rate of return on investment.
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Manufacturing has new look in R.I.

Providence Business News
July 21, 2008
It wouldn’t even make the list of hot careers sought by young job-seekers, yet manufacturing remains an essential segment of the Rhode Island economy.  Read More>


Rhode Island Supply Chain Management Summit

Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC)
June 12, 2008
Rhode Island to host first ever Supply Chain Management (SCM) Summit. Global leaders in supply chain management, university and state officials gather to discuss latest trends in supply chain management.  Read More>


RIMES Program Focuses on New-Product Creation

Providence Business News
November 12, 2007
A consulting program set to kick off this month at Rhode Island Manufacturing Extension Services aims to increase companies’ ability to develop new products and grow their top line. Read more>


Rhode Island Needs a Strong Manufacturing Sector

Providence Business News
August 13, 2007
Guest Column by Saul Kaplan & Leslie Taito
It is a mistake to simply resign ourselves to the idea that manufacturing cannot be an important and productive part of our economy in the years to come.  Today there are more than 51,000 jobs in Rhode Island tied to manufacturing. Read more>


RIMES, RIEDC Forge New Alliance to Promote Growth in Manufacturing

Providence Business News
May 22, 2007
This June, RIMES will take up residence with RIEDC at their corporation’s Valley Street offices.  Collaboration and co-location will bring new energy and alignment to state support for manufacturing.  Read More>


RI Needs Machinists but has Few Qualified Applicants

Providence Journal
October 29, 2006
A mobile training program is trying to make up for the loss of company apprenticeships that used to teach new workers.  (MOST Program)  Read More>


Forging Partnerships to Bolster RI Manufacturing

Providence Business News
October 9, 2006
Interview with Leslie Taito, CEO, of RIMES. Read More>


Extension Service Boosts Sales by $17M in Four Years

Providence Business News
April 15, 2006
Lean manufacturing and other programs touted. Read More>


Workplace Program Trains Students, Future Leaders

Providence Business News
October 8, 2005
Don Nester is a problem solver.  His goal is to prepare the world’s future thinkers through the Rhode Island Manufacturing Extension Services’ WorkPlace Skill Applied Learning Program.  Read More>