Shelby Kimes
Public Communication Specialist
NC State University Industry Expansion Solutions (IES) | 919-515-5430

NCMEP Recognizes Manufacturing Leaders at the North Carolina Manufacturing Conference, MFGCON 23

Core Technology, Terraloam, Mills Manufacturing, FirstWave Innovations and Precision Swiss Products were recognized for manufacturing excellence, sustainability, workforce, innovation, and developing markets in the North Carolina manufacturing industry.

April 21, Winston-Salem, NC – The North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP), the official representative of the MEP National Network™ and NIST MEP in North Carolina, announced the winners of the 2023 North Carolina Manufacturing Leadership Awards at the closing event of the 2023 North Carolina Manufacturing Conference, MFGCON. The NCMEP award program recognizes manufacturers’ commitment to the North Carolina manufacturing sector, proven by outstanding performance in manufacturing excellence, sustainable manufacturing, innovation, workforce development and economic development/developing markets.

The winners of the 2023 Manufacturing Leadership Awards include:


Core Technology, located in Greensboro, NC, has been a cornerstone of the Greensboro economy and has created jobs for the East Greensboro community since 2006. The company’s influence on the next generation of manufacturing employees has been undeniable since they joined NC Apprentices and started an Apprenticeship program for Maintenance and Tool and Die Makers.

Core Technology makes a difference using 100% recycled material for 1,000,000 parts for BMW Manufacturing. They ship parts to SC, Germany, China, Russia, and South Africa. They submitted an NSF grant in 2022 for Sustainability and partnered with BrightMa Farms, NC A&T University, South Carolina State University, and Clemson University I-CAR. Core Tech is the principal investigator.

Core Technology demonstrates innovation by facilitating mold trials with hemp and plastic to create lighter and more substantial parts. The organization has continually added automation, from producing 2 million parts annually to over 200 million parts. This has helped Core Technology re-shore and bring advanced manufacturing businesses and jobs back to the US from low-cost-producing countries.

Core Technology was named the Small Business of the Year by the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce in 2022 and the NC Small Business of the Year by Business NC magazine. Core Technology’s bright future is bright; the organization started an expansion project in April 2023 to add 6,000 sq. feet to the current facility. Core Technology is an inspiring example of a company making a difference.

Manufacturing excellence is the process of achieving World Class benchmark performance that includes: Minimum 1.33 Cpk first-time quality, 100% on-time customer delivery, year-over-year continuous process improvement and zero-harm commitment to safety and the environment.

– Geoff Foster, CEO, Core Technology


Terraloam LLC is a privately held manufacturing company based in Charlotte, NC. Terraloam’s mission is to improve the well-being and health of all workers, the general public, and the earth by developing innovative sustainable protective apparel.

Terraloam has developed the world’s first and only fully compostable medical gown, BioGown®, made with care by American workers. . The organization was inspired to create BioGown® after learning about the amount of plastic waste sent to landfills during the pandemic. Each year in the US alone, over 18 empire state buildings worth of plastic gowns are sent to landfills — these gowns take over 400 years to break down. BioGown® is manufactured using recycled gowns mixed with food and natural materials using hot composting to create nutrient-rich soil. Terraloam’s gowns directly reduce landfill waste and CO2 emissions by using a no-till method for their community gardens. The company works extensively with North Carolina hospitals to implement the use of BioGown® and Terraloam compostable patient bags. Terralom delivered 60,000 gowns to Atrium Health in 2022; these gowns reduced Atrium landfill waste by almost 40,000 pounds.

Our mission to research, manufacture and distribute sustainable protective apparel for all has led to breakthroughs in how we approach waste management in multiple sectors, including healthcare. As a result, our corporation has transformed our business model to provide sustainable products and ways of improving community health, such as establishing community gardens that use soil derived from our compostable products.

– Jonathan Mustich, CEO, Terraloam

WORKFORCE: Mills Manufacturing

Specializing in highly engineered, specialized sewn products, Mills Manufacturing has been a global leader in manufacturing military parachute systems and components for over 75 years. Serving all five branches of the United States Department of Defense and international allies, Mills Manufacturing is a trusted supplier of military parachute systems, including airborne troop parachutes, cargo parachutes, and extraction parachutes, deceleration parachutes, and emergency parachutes.

Mills Manufacturing places a high priority on workplace culture and diversity. The company
currently has 130 employees including several long-term employees with over 20 years of service. Mills has a culturally diverse workforce, with approximately 1/3 being native U.S. citizens, 1/3 being Hispanic and 1/3 being of Eastern European descent, with a majority of those from Ukraine and Moldova. Mills has representatives from these cultural groups in all departments and levels of the organization, including engineering, HR and training, quality control and manufacturing supervision. Most recently, the company hired several Afghan refugees.

Mills Manufacturing has always prioritized workplace culture where all employees are valued, respected and empowered. This has created an environment that has allowed us to grow by hiring a culturally diverse workforce where as many as five different languages are spoken and where our employees take the time to get to know each other, understand each other’s culture and support each other to help our company succeed. This also creates opportunities for personal growth where each of our different cultures is represented in all departments of our company including engineering, HR and training, quality control and manufacturing supervision.

– John Oswald, President/CEO, Mills Manufacturing

INNOVATION: FirstWave Innovation

In 2020, SinnovaTek, a North Carolina-based food technology company announced the opening of its flagship FirstWave Innovations location in Raleigh. FirstWave is a precision-scale aseptic food co-packing facility and a working pilot facility for SinnovaTek and SinnoVita technologies.

FirstWave is an innovation-to-commercialization catalyst that provides a platform for companies and entrepreneurs to launch and test new products in a high-quality, high acid and low-acid aseptic format without the minimum order quantities generally required for a launch.

The organization’s unique model caters to small and growing brands without sizable minimum order quantities usually required by aseptic co-packers (while most packers require 2-5 million annual commitments, we can run as little as 2000-5000 units). They also use high-quality continuous-flow microwave technology to quickly pasteurize and sterilize food products while retaining their flavor, nutrition and color; this allows for clean-label and wholesome products. The company’s customers have launched several first-of-their-kind products using our services because of our unique capabilities.

We proudly offer a market entry point for small and growing brands. A lack of scaling options should not stifle innovation. As we’ve seen more demand for our services, we are bolstering our capabilities and infrastructure to match the need.

-Tyler Brown, Vice President of Manufacturing, SinnovaTek

DEVELOPING MARKETS: Precision Swiss Products

Precision Swiss Products, Inc. uses the newest technologies to create high-precision, complex parts from difficult-to-manufacture metal and plastic materials for the medical device, aerospace and semiconductor industries. These parts have tolerances that are smaller than a strand of hair. The organization makes parts that make a difference in people’s lives from implantable medical devices to critical jetliner parts to equipment that makes semiconductors powering AI or video games.

In 2021, the organization grew by 38% despite the absence of selling to the aerospace market due to COVID’s impact on that industry. In 2022, the company expanded from California to Leland, North Carolina to add capacity for the increased demand. coming from their customers. In 20 months, Precision Swiss Products went from planning an expansion in Dec 2020 to receiving the Certificate of Occupancy for our new 50,000 sq ft facility in August 2022. Their new facility has been capable of meeting $18M of additional customer sales demand. In that process, the organization created approximately 40 new high-skilled jobs in Leland. Even with their focus being on expansion, they were able to grow the company sales overall by another 9% in 2022.

The organization’s growth has positioned the company to grow to another $45M in sales in the next several years. With that, we will have significant opportunities for highly skilled labor. Precision Swiss Products works directly with Brunswick Community College to develop an apprenticeship program to get kids interested in manufacturing as early as junior high.

Precision Swiss Products, Inc. (“PSP”), located in Leland, is a high-precision global manufacturer, specializing in small complex metal and plastic parts for the Medical Device, Semiconductor and Aerospace markets.

PSP looks forward to and, is committed, to continuing to work with the great state of North Carolina, Brunswick and Columbus counties and their respective community colleges to develop a sustainable pipeline of talent, to fill the growing highly skilled workforce in our community. PSP and local officials are engaging students as early as junior high school, to start to educate and encourage them to look at these lucrative highly skilled jobs as great career choices. We are currently working closely with Brunswick Community College to develop a comprehensive Apprenticeship program. We are proud to be a partner in helping to further develop the economic future of our community.

Stephen Dillon, CFO and General Manager, Precision Swiss Products East


About the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership

The North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP) is the state network in North Carolina for the National Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) which is part of the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). MEP is a unique public-private partnership that delivers comprehensive, proven solutions to manufacturers, fueling growth and advancing U.S. manufacturing. NCMEP is administered by NC State University Industry Expansion Solutions (IES) and is joined by partners from the North Carolina Community College System, NCWorks Customized Training; the Economic Development Partnership of NC; the Polymers Center of Excellence; the Manufacturing
Solutions Center; NC A&T State University Center of Excellence in Product Design and Advanced Manufacturing; Hangar6; East Carolina University College of Business; the University of North Carolina at Charlotte Industrial Solutions Lab; and NC State University Wilson College of Textiles.