Heidi McKenna Appointed as Chair of PA MEP, Focusing on Collaboration and Support for Pennsylvania Manufacturers

DVIRC is thrilled to announce Heidi McKenna’s recent appointment as the Chair of the Pennsylvania Manufacturing Extension Partnership (PA MEP). With her extensive experience and dedication to the manufacturing sector, Heidi brings valuable insights and a vision for fostering collaboration among the Industrial Resource Centers (IRCs) to drive growth and support for Pennsylvania manufacturers. 

Heidi McKenna has been actively involved with PA MEP since its inception, starting as the Strategic Planning Committee Chair and then Vice Chair before assuming her new role as the Chair. We recently sat down with McKenna to discuss her new role. She highlighted the importance of collaboration among the seven IRCs in Pennsylvania. She acknowledged the historical autonomy of each center and expressed her desire for increased cooperation and shared resources: 

“If we could see even more collaboration and efforts across centers because the ultimate goal is to support Pennsylvania as a state,” said McKenna. “Is there more sharing and shared support that we can give across those centers?” 

As the Chair of PA MEP, McKenna’s primary responsibilities include ensuring that the IRCs are aligned with the strategic goals of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP) program. This alignment encompasses areas such as supply chain management, workforce development, and advanced technologies. By staying attuned to NIST MEP’s priorities, PA MEP can effectively support Pennsylvania manufacturers in overcoming challenges and driving innovation. 

McKenna recognizes the critical role played by the IRCs in providing specialized support to manufacturers in Pennsylvania. She emphasized the value of their manufacturing-focused services, tailored to meet the unique needs of the industry. Unlike typical consultants, the IRCs possess a deep understanding of manufacturing processes and challenges, making them an invaluable resource: 

“The importance of the IRCs is their mission to support manufacturers by providing essential services that generate significant value and impact while contributing to the Pennsylvania economy. They know manufacturing, they get us,” says McKenna. 

McKenna’s vision for PA MEP involves leveraging the IRC network and strengthening collaboration to maximize impact and reach more manufacturers across the state. By minimizing duplication of resources and sharing best practices, PA MEP aims to allocate funding efficiently to provide increased support to small and mid-sized manufacturers. 

She shared her optimism for the future of Pennsylvania manufacturers, stating: “I see Pennsylvania manufacturers as being on the cusp of really great things and there’s just a lot of opportunity.” 

Heidi McKenna’s appointment as the Chair of PA MEP marks an exciting chapter for Pennsylvania’s manufacturing sector. Her dedication to fostering collaboration among the IRCs and aligning with NIST MEP’s strategic goals ensures that Pennsylvania manufacturers receive the support and resources they need to thrive in a competitive global landscape. With Heidi’s leadership, PA MEP is poised to make a significant impact and drive innovation across the state’s manufacturing ecosystem.