Our History

Our Beginnings

In 1988, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) launched the Manufacturing Extension Program (MEP) to support small- and mid-sized manufacturers in a declining industry. To serve Oregon manufacturers, Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership (OMEP) was originally formed in 1996 as part of Oregon Advanced Technology Consortium (OATC), a consortium of community colleges.

In 2001, OATC was dissolved and OMEP, Inc. was launched as an non-profit company – initially affiliated with the Oregon Institute of Technology and now fully independent. Over the years, our headquarters have moved to 3 different offices within the Portland area, and we’ve seen 7 presidents take charge. To serve Oregon manufacturers statewide, we’ve expanded our regional offices to include Bend, Medford, Roseburg / Eugene, and Salem. OMEP has kept its focus on producing long-term, sustaining results for manufacturers.

MEP National Network

OMEP is the official representative of the MEP National Network in Oregon. The MEP National Network is a unique public-private partnership that delivers comprehensive, proven solutions to U.S. manufacturers, fueling growth and advancing manufacturing.

Focused on helping small and mid-sized manufacturers generate business results and thrive in today’s technology-driven economy, the MEP National Network comprises the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP), 51 MEP Centers located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, and its 1,300 trusted advisors and experts at nearly 600 MEP service locations, providing any U.S. manufacturer with access to resources they need to succeed.

In 2017 the Network helped to create and retain more than 100,000 manufacturing jobs. Clients also retained more than $12 billion in sales and realized more than $1.7 billion in cost savings. For every one dollar of federal investment, the Network generates $27.20 in new sales growth for manufacturers and $27.30 in new client investment. This translates into $3.5 billion in new sales annually.

Founding Principles

OMEP was founded to help Oregon manufacturers become more competitive in the global marketplace. Today, we like to use the word ‘Results’ to capture our relentless commitment to client success. OMEP hasn’t changed this commitment in 20 years.

How Far We’ve Come

  • 1996 OMEP Founded
  • 1996 First Grant Awarded–$778,620 annually
  • 2001 6 Employees—4 Consultants
  • 2002 – 18 manufacturers served
  • 2002 First Buzz Electronics class
  • First Biennual award from the State of Oregon–$500,000.
  • 2003 Lean office introduced 2003 15 Employees—10 Consultants
  • 2011 Tools for Conscious Leadership Introduced
  • 2012 Business Transition Planning Introduced
  • 2014 Business Innovation Workshop Launched
  • 2014 Tools for Operational Excellence–Lean Fundamentals introduced
  • 2015 Selected to Continue as Oregon’s MEP by NIST–$1,794,000 annually.
  • 2015 81 manufacturers served
  • 2015 21 Employees—15 Consultants
  • 2016 24 employees
  • 2017 Aaron Fox joins as President
  • 2018 FSMA and Food Safety cohorts launched
  • 2019 Expanded workforce solutions practice area
  • 2020 OMEP and OMIC partner to launch the Factory of Tomorrow
  • 2021 Launch of OMEP’s e-commerce cohort

Who We Are


Board of Directors

Partnering Organizations

Our Principles

Our People

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