On March 6-7, 2024, members of the leadership team for the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP) were joined by manufacturers Bryan Schultz, President of ABT Metals Manufacturing, LLC in Statesville, NC and Ray Baynard, CEO and President, Carriff Engineered Fabrics Corporation (parent to Flynt-Amtex, Inc) in Burlington, NC for a Washington, DC trip to meet with North Carolina congressional representatives. The purpose of this annual “Hill Day” visit is to secure continued support for the NC Manufacturing Extension Program which provides engineering solutions and programs to small and medium-sized manufacturers statewide.
Hill Day is paramount as it provides a platform for direct engagement between the manufacturing industry and policymakers. The event is an opportunity for manufacturers to advocate for policies supporting growth, innovation, and competitiveness. By bringing together industry leaders, policymakers and stakeholders, Hill Day fosters discussions on key manufacturing issues, such as workforce development, infrastructure investment, trade policies and regulatory reforms. Through meetings, participants can voice their concerns, share insights and work towards solutions that benefit the entire manufacturing ecosystem. Hill Day acts as a catalyst for positive change, enabling manufacturers to influence policies that shape the industry’s future and drive economic prosperity.

Hill-Day-2024-Matt Peterson-Phil-Mintz-Deborah-Ray-Baynard-Steven-Hughes

L-R: Matt Peterson, NC State University Director of the Office of Federal Relations, Phil Mintz, Executive Director, Industry Expansion Solutions and Director of NCMEP, Rep. Deborah Ross (NC District 2), Ray Baynard, Carriff Engineered Fabrics Corporation, Steven Hughes, Director of Business Operations, Industry Expansion Solutions


L-R: Ray Baynard, Carriff Engineered Fabrics Corporation, Rep. David Rouzer (NC District 7), Phil Mintz, Steven Hughes

During the visit, NCMEP and the North Carolina manufacturing representatives split into two teams to maximize the number of representative office meetings they were able to schedule during the two-day visit. According to Bryan Schulz, “at each of the meetings it was important to share the impact that NCMEP has statewide and to relay how much each dollar awarded equates to a return on investment for our NC communities”. One of several key messages imparted was that, from Q4 2020–Q3 2023, NCMEP provided services that generated over 2 billion in economic impact, including 12,968 jobs either retained or created. NCMEP staff also provided each office with data and information pertinent to their specific congressional district which, according to Ray Maynard, proved “very powerful in communicating the impact NCMEP is having in NC.”
Everyone who participated in the visit agreed that the visit was a success. “It’s always a unique and humbling experience to visit our Congressional delegation and witness the hustle and bustle of the legislative process. While the halls of Congress are always a flurry of activity, this particular visit was extra busy due to the preparations being made for the State of the Union on March 7. Despite the activity, each office we met with was gracious and welcoming, genuinely interested in the program and the experiences of the manufacturers” said KeAnne Hoeg, Director, Data Management Systems, Supplier Matching and Reporting.


L-R: Dr. Fiona Baxter, Associate Executive Director, Industry Expansion Solutions
Assistant Director, NC Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Bryan Schultz, President of ABT Metals Manufacturing, LLC


Keanne Hoeg, Director, Data Management Systems, Supplier Matching and Reporting, Industry Expansion Solutions

During the visit, Ray Baynard had an opportunity to meet with Representative Rouzer and Representative Ross who remain staunch supporters of the program. NCMEP program and how it benefits companies like ours, and their continued support will contribute to the growth of our economy and communities it supports.