Thank you to Carrie Hines, Executive Director of the Foundation for Manufacturing Excellence, for inviting me to speak at the Center Best Practice Conference 2022 this past week in Chicago. I presented the findings from my research on the consumer behavior of the client’s buying-decision journey in the professional services. A wonderful group of people from their NIST-Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) members from across the U.S. It was great to see my friends Paddy Fleming and his team from MMEC in Montana there at the conference.

Also, a special thank you to Kelly Buchanan, Director of Membership Services at the Foundation for Manufacturing Excellence, for planning a flawless event and making me feel so welcome. The Intercontinental Chicago Hotel on Michigan Avenue is a spectacular, historic venue and the ballroom is the most beautiful I have ever seen.

The Foundation for Manufacturing Excellence is the educational foundation for NIST-MEP Centers. The primary goal and focus of the Foundation is to assist in providing continuing education to the nationwide system of manufacturing center members.

NIST-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 34,307 manufacturers, leading to $14.4 billion in sales, $1.5 billion in cost savings, $5.2 billion in new client investments, and helped create or retain 125,746 jobs.