PROVIDENCE, R.I.—Leslie Taito, senior vice president of corporate operations for Hope Global in Cumberland, R.I., has been named to the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Advisory Board ( The NIST MEP Advisory Board is a national board that is legislatively mandated and established under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA).

The 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 are reported to have interacted with 25,445 manufacturers, leading to $9.3 billion in new and retained sales, $1.4 billion in cost savings, $3.5 billion in new client investments, and the creation and retention of more than 86,602 jobs.

Taito will join a team of manufacturing professionals chosen to provide advice and guidance to the national Manufacturing Extension Partnership. The MEP Advisory Board is expected to assist in identifying proactive actions that will enable small manufacturers to successfully address and implement changes in technology and the business environment in the future.

Polaris MEP is the Manufacturing Extension Partnership for Rhode Island. It is part of the University of Rhode Island Research Foundation (URIRF),  a non-profit entity that oversees market analysis, commercialization of protected intellectual property, and the development of business relationships with corporate and government partners. Polaris MEP was established in 1996 and has helped hundreds of Rhode I manufacturing companies grow, impacting nearly $27.6 million of sales and 138 jobs in 2016 alone, according to the organization.

Taito was the former chief executive officer for the predecessor of Polaris MEP—the Rhode Island Manufacturing Extension Services (RIMES)—and continues to be a passionate supporter of the MEP program. “NIST’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership has a successful history of helping the manufacturing community grow,” said Taito in a press release. “I am humbled to be included in the abundant wealth of experience that exists in the NIST MEP Advisory Board members, and I am very excited about the opportunity to work within this team to advance manufacturing in the United States.”

Throughout her professional career, including as the Rhode Island Director of Regulatory Reform, Taito has worked tirelessly to support and grow the manufacturing industry. She built a wealth of experience supporting different industries through operational excellence and regulatory reform, before joining Hope Global as a senior vice president of corporate operations.

“Leslie Taito will make a significant contribution to the National Advisory Board,” said United States Senior Senator Jack Reed, in a statement. “We look forward to her helping shape MEP’s mission on a national level to identify opportunities for growth, encourage the deployment of innovative technologies, and increase manufacturing productivity.”

“Congratulations to Hope Global’s Leslie Taito on being selected to serve on the major national board charged with helping manufacturers across the country expand and create jobs,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who has worked with Taito in priming Rhode Island’s textiles and composites industries for growth. “Rhode Island has a long tradition of making high-quality products, and I know manufacturers from coast to coast will benefit from the expertise Leslie has gained here.”

Polaris MEP ( is a statewide non-profit organization that provides competitive manufacturing business improvement programs to grow Rhode Island’s manufacturing industry. Polaris is an affiliate of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Program (NIST MEP) and a business unit of the University of Rhode Island Research Foundation.

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