For Immediate Release

January 16, 2023

Raleigh, North CarolinaThe North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP) recognizes excellence and honors small-medium size North Carolina manufacturers that deliver exceptional performance in the following categories:

  • Developing Markets/Economic Development
  • Continuous Improvement
  • Innovation
  • Advanced Talent Management/Workforce Development
  • Sustainable Manufacturing
  • Community Outreach 
  • Excellence in Manufacturing
  • CEO of the year (new!)

Manufacturers are invited to self-nominate. Nomination applications must be submitted before February 28, 2023. 

The 2023 NCMEP Leadership in Manufacturing Awards will be announced during the North Carolina Manufacturing Conference, MFGCON.

Eligibility Details: The NCMEP Leadership in Manufacturing Awards are presented to small-medium size manufacturers in North Carolina with less than 500 employees. The programs or initiatives related to the award category must have been established for a minimum of two years. Organizations may be nominated in multiple categories but the company may only win one category per year. If you’re a past category winner, you’re not eligible to win the same category for five years.

Click on the title to open the online application form for each category:

Developing Markets/Economic Development Award Submission Form
The Developing Markets/Economic Development award is decided by the economic impact of the manufacturer on its community, such as the overall economic impact, an increase in the overall tax base, the creation of new jobs, or criteria relevant to the community goals.

Continuous Improvement Award Submission Form
The Continuous Improvement Award is presented to the organization that exemplifies the use of systems of continuous improvement methodology that drive organizational behaviors aligned to a visual, detailed action plan and timeline.  Reviewers will be looking for evidence that standards and work instructions are simple and visual for all work processes.  It is important to provide examples of improvements made by following a scientific method, such as PDCA, or DMAIC methodology.

Innovation Award Submission Form
The selection of the Innovation Award winner will be based on how the company uses innovation to improve their business. We seek evidence that the manufacturer achieved results in specific areas of innovation, such as the commercialization of new products.

Advanced Talent Management/Workforce Development Award Submission Form
The Advanced Talent Management/Workforce Development Award will be presented to the manufacturer that has demonstrated excellence in workforce development, through employee retention, recruitment, and training.  We will look for evidence of the use of educational workforce development opportunities and secondary or post-secondary education from community colleges, universities, or workforce boards to support the development of a pipeline of skilled and qualified new and existing employees.

Sustainable Manufacturing Award Submission Form
The Sustainable Manufacturing Award criteria is based on outstanding sustainable practices, measurable environmental or energy savings  related to production processes, product design, or product life cycle.  

Community Outreach Award Submission Form
The Community Outreach Award is presented to the manufacturer that has  impacted communities in North Carolina. Selection is based on efforts in community engagement and the measurable impact of those efforts. 

Excellence in Manufacturing Award Submission Form
The Excellence in Manufacturing Award winner honors the manufacturer that demonstrates exemplary practices across all areas of manufacturing – workforce development, sustainability, innovation, emerging markets/economic development, and continuous improvement.

CEO of the Year
A new award in 2023 – Presented jointly by the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP) and Business North Carolina Magazine. This award recognizes the North Carolina CEO of the Year. The award is given to a CEO who has led strong company success over the past year in areas of revenue growth, innovation, company culture enhancement, or employee retention. 

All submissions must be received by February 28, 2023

Questions? Contact Susan Barber at


About North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP) 

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.