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October 2021


The Manufacturing Update is a bi-monthly electronic newsletter from Industry Expansion Solutions with up-to-date manufacturing news. Below you can view past issues.

Lead Stories

MFGCON Postponed

After careful consideration and deliberation and listening to feedback from our clients, we have made the strategic decision to postpone our annual manufacturing conference, MFGCON 21. For the last six years, the conference has been an influential networking and knowledge-sharing event presented by the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP) and Business North Carolina but our priority is the health and safety of attendees, exhibitors, sponsors and speakers. We want to hold the conference during the spring with hopes that COVID-19 will be less concerning at that time. The new dates are March 24-25, 2022, and we will continue to keep you updated about the event.  

We are also extending the deadline to submit the 2021 NCMEP Leadership In Manufacturing Awards nomination. Manufacturers are invited to self-nominate. All nominations must be made by Tuesday, February 1, 2022. The winners will be announced at MFGCON in March.

October Cybersecurity Month

According to the anti-virus software maker, Norton, there are more than 2,200 cyberattacks per day. That equates to about one cyber attack every 39 seconds. North Carolina State Industry Expansion Solutions is raising awareness during cybersecurity month with the Protect Your Data series—weekly blogs during the month of October designed to help you protect the data on your network, mobile devices, and in the cloud. The first blog of the series, “Protect Your Data: Focus on Cyber Risk” aims to help assist you in understanding your cyber risks.

Read Protect Your Data: Focus on Cyber Risk  »

MNC Network and Community Forum—Developing and Integrated Talent Strategy to Support Your Changing Business Landscape 

In today’s constantly changing business landscape, many companies are quickly seeing that their leaders will need a different set of skills to be successful. Being able to cope and quickly adapt to rapidly changing conditions, new virtual working environments and uncertainty brought on by a global pandemic requires us to reexamine the skillsets and mindsets needed to lead effectively under these conditions. 

During this webinar we’ll explore strategies for:

  • Identifying the key skills that leaders will need to lead effectively in this changing business landscape
  • Choosing competencies in line with your business strategy and changing landscape 
  • Developing an integrated talent management system based on these new competencies to support capability building in your company towards building a pipeline of leadership talent.

Register for the Forum

NCMEP Presents: A Closer Look At Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI)

Join NC State Industry Expansion Solutions for the no-cost “What is CUI? Understanding and Protecting Data for DoD Contractors” webinar on November 9 at 1:00 p.m. to learn about how you can protect Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI).

The webinar is a short 30-minute introduction to CUI and its role as an asset in your company’s cybersecurity planning. DoD contractors and subcontractors are required to protect CUI and implement cybersecurity measures to keep this data secure. We will look at the importance of protecting assets including CUI in your organization and how the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) cybersecurity requirements impact your organization. A new online mini-course on CUI will also be presented. This free resource will help you further develop your understanding of CUI.

Register for the webinar »

EDPNC Export Education: Export Compliance Webinar

The Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC) is holding the free “Export Education: Export Compliance” webinar on October 28 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Upon completion of this program, you will be aware of the new export security requirements for all exporters. You will walk away that day with a better understanding of the regulations and with specific tools & instructions on how to begin building a secure and compliant department & company.

Register for the webinar »

Western Star’s 49X Vocational Truck Wins Coolest Thing Made in NC

On October 1, the results for the NC Chamber’s Coolest Thing Made in NC contest were revealed and the Western Star 49X Vocational Truck, manufactured in Cleveland, N.C. was voted the Coolest Thing Made in NC. The online contest began with 68 nominees, and after three rounds of public voting totaling 41,700 votes, the Western Star truck earned 2,725 votes in the final round putting them at the top of the pack.

Read More »

New Episodes of Clocking In—Voices of NC Manufacturing

In the August episode of Clocking In, Phil Mintz sits down with Elastic Therapy Inc. director of operations and general manager Chris Harrington. They discuss the history of ETI, how Chris got into the hosiery industry, how the pandemic has impacted ETI’s game plan, the future of the hosiery industry and more. Listen Now »

In the September episode of Clocking In, Phil Mintz sits down with Jay Todd, the CEO of Laurinburg, NC-based industrial thread manufacturer Service Thread. They discuss the services the company provides, the unique way they care for their workforce, what they’re doing to try to remedy the labor shortage and more. Listen Now »

New Episode of Clocking In—Voices of NC Manufacturing

In the newest episode of Clocking In, Phil Mintz sits down with the Zeis Textiles Extension associate director at NC State University Wilson College of Textiles, Melissa Sharp. They discuss highlights of the Wilson College of Textiles’ services, some breakthroughs being made with textile innovation, thoughts on where the textiles industry is headed and more.

Listen Now »

NC Manufacturers Struggle To Find Workers As Demand Surges

NC State Industry Expansion Solution director Phil Mintz was interviewed by WFAE 90.7, Charlotte’s NPR News Source, regarding the current labor shortage. Phil addresses how employers may combat this shortage by implementing more automation and if ending federal unemployment benefits would reduce the strain.

Read Full Interview »

NCMEP Spotlight: Steven Hughes

The NCMEP spotlight is a new feature interview created to highlight the lives of NCMEP employees.

Steven Hughes knew what it meant to lead before joining NCMEP partner NC State Industry Expansion Solutions (IES), he was a Commander in the US Army and was awarded a Bronze Star with Valor for his combat actions in Iraq in 2004. Now, Steven has taken on a role to lead the team of regional managers along with functioning as a member of the IES Core Leadership Team.

Read more about Steven


We engineer success for manufacturing businesses one solution at a time by understanding our clients’ needs and then crafting meaningful and sustainable solutions to address their business requirements. Through our tailored programs and research-based, time-tested methodologies, we provide solutions to assist in strategic direction, improve performance and processes and address top line growth. We collaborate with clients to develop and implement comprehensive services and solutions across:

Upcoming Courses

Featured Courses


40-Hour HAZWOPER for Hazardous Waste Site Workers
October 25-29 | Raleigh, NC

This event is designed for environmental contractors and consultants, regulatory agency personnel, private-sector project managers routinely involved in the investigation and remediation of uncontrolled hazardous waste sites including Superfund sites, RCRA corrective action sites or voluntary clean-up sites.



Upcoming Courses

40-Hour HAZWOPER for Hazardous Waste Site Workers

October 25-29 | Raleigh, NC (In-person)


8-Hour Hands-On HAZWOPER Refresher

October 28 | Raleigh, NC (In-person)


OSHA #501 Trainer Course for General Industry

November 2-5 | Virtual


OSHA #7215 Silica in Construction, Maritime, and General Industries

November 9 | Raleigh, NC (In-person)


OSHA #3015 Excavation, Trenching and Soil Mechanics

November 30-December 2 | Raleigh, NC (In-person)


OSHA #500 Trainer Course for Construction 

December 7-10 | Virtual


OSHA #501 Trainer Course for General Industry

December 7-10 | Raleigh, NC (In-person)


8-Hour HAZWOPER for Environmental Professionals

December 8 | Raleigh, NC (In-person)


OSHA #7500 Introduction to Safety and Health Management

December 14 | Virtual (In-person)


OSHA #7505 Introduction to Incident Investigation

December 15 | Virtual


OSHA #7205 Health Hazard Awareness

December 16 | Virtual



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