Manufacturing-Works Removes Director, Asst. Director – Investigation Pending
LARAMIE -- David Bell, and Jim Lee, the Director and Assistant Director of Manufacturing-Works, based at the University of Wyoming, were removed from their positions on and around April 24th as a result of a unanimous decision reached by the University of Wyoming Research and Economic Development at UW.
Concerned sources confirmed that there may be an on-going investigation into the alleged unethical behavior by Bell and Lee, including misrepresenting themselves as consultants after they were removed.
Officials with Manufacturing-Works say that the organization is still moving forward in a positive direction, and have appointed an interim director with a familiar face. Jill Kline, director of the Wyoming Small Business Development Center in Laramie, will fill the position until a new director is approved.
Both positions are taxpayer funded. The organization is not at risk of losing any grants because of this action on the part of MW.
In 2017, the University of Wyoming’s Manufacturing-Works was awarded a $500,000 grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology to help support Wyoming businesses. The grant is part of $12 million in grants NIST recently awarded to Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers in 11 states.
The agreements have five-year periods of performance that started in April 2017, and NIST will provide nearly $60 million in total funding to MEP centers during that time. MW will receive $500,000 for each of the next five years from NIST. After the third year of the grant, the organization has to be re-evaluated to continue receiving the grant; and then again after five years.
Manufacturing clients say that MW has done great things in the past, and these changes are positive for MW in its role to continue helping small businesses become big businesses which create more job opportunities for Wyoming residents.
MW ask that if you have been contacted by Bell and Lee recently, or if you have any questions or concerns about Manufacturing-Works, contact Interim Director Jill Kline at the SBDC office at 307-766-3405 or visit the web site at manufacturing-works.com and talk to a representative.