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 2016, the MEP National Network connected with 25,445 manufacturers, leading to $9.3 billion in sales, $1.4 billion in cost savings, $3.5 billion in new client investments, and helping to create and retain more than 86,602 U.S. manufacturing jobs.

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

Since its inception, OMEP has helped over 672 manufacturers accomplish 2.1 Billion in total production output. We’ve helped create and maintain over 14,000 jobs that add up to $1.12 billion in wages and benefits paid to employees.