2003 Citizen Services

Kevin Carr

Revolutionized American manufacturing with comprehensive technical, business and consulting services.

Kevin Carr works to turbo-charge one of the main engines driving the American economy: small business. As director of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), he has furthered the reach of a program hailed by states and industry as “the model public-private partnership.”

MEP is a federally-organized, nationwide network of nonprofit centers that provide direct technical and business assistance to small and medium-sized manufacturers—right on the shop floor. Supported by a network of local professionals, each center helps manufacturers formulate coherent business plans, develop effective marketing strategies, eliminate waste, train workers, and apply the latest advances in e-commerce and information technology.

Carr led an expansion of the program that made its services available to the nation’s 361,000 small manufacturers within four years – one year ahead of schedule. His accomplishment was recognized by the Secretary of Commerce, who awarded Carr the Gold Medal Award, the department’s highest honor.

With nearly 400 locations in all 50 states and in Puerto Rico, MEP must work effectively with state governments from across the political spectrum. With many states currently facing budget crises, it is Carr’s job to educate them on the economic merits of investing in manufacturing.

According to an independent follow-up of over 4,800 clients with projects completed in fiscal year 2001, MEP’s work with small and medium-sized manufacturers has resulted in $2.2 billion in increased sales, $441.5 million in cost savings and 24,457 new and retained jobs.

MEP was created in 1988 to expose small businesses to available technology and creative ways to improve manufacturing. Carr joined MEP the following year. When Carr took over the MEP operation, he created a national network connecting centers all across the nation. Under his direction, it has accomplished a nationwide expansion that helps small businesses obtain the tools they need to succeed.

“MEP has grown far beyond anyone’s expectations,” said former NIST Deputy Director Samuel Kramer. “From the beginning, Kevin was held accountable. He represents the epitome of a federal employee. He takes it as a personal commitment.”