Rebecca Taylor

“Scuba diving has taught me lessons I use in everyday life. A scuba mantra is ‘plan the dive, dive the plan.’ Unless you know what, where and how you want to dive, you can’t be successful. The same is true in the business world. Know your goals and how you plan to achieve them. This is the strategy for success.”

“Scuba diving has taught me lessons I use in everyday life. A scuba mantra is ‘plan the dive, dive the plan.’ Unless you know what, where and how you want to dive, you can’t be successful. The same is true in the business world. Know your goals and how you plan to achieve them. This is the strategy for success.”

Senior Vice President, National Center for Manufacturing Sciences

WOW FACTOR
Taylor has been a strong leader in the traditionally male-dominated field of manufacturing since graduating from college in 1988. She was pursuing her interest in economics when an opportunity to practice trade policy led her to the U.S. Department of Commerce. In 1991, she joined the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS), headquartered in Ann Arbor, MI, where she now creates strategic partnerships for those in the manufacturing industry and leads a team drawn from government relations, communications and external relations. “I’m still excited about manufacturers fueling the competitiveness and security of our nation.”

PASSION FOR INDUSTRY
“Children believe they can build anything; they haven’t yet been taught to believe they can’t. Creating with Legos and clay is the foundation of manufacturing: belief in the power of making something, then doing it. Keeping manufacturing attractive to young people growing beyond Legos stirs my passion for it.”

VIEW FROM THE TOP
NCMS, the largest nonprofit research and development consortium in North America focused on manufacturing, was created 30 years ago by executive order of the president to ensure the nation’s industrial base would be available for the defense of the country. Taylor says the consortium has shown it is a model for long-term sustainability that now includes 400 members from all sectors of the manufacturing base, including aerospace, automotive, energy consumer products, medical and many more. The membership includes many small and medium-sized manufacturers who are innovators and job creators. “Their involvement is key to ensuring American success.”

CORPORATE CLIMB
Taylor has spent 25 years representing NCMS and says the work has never been boring. “You have to keep learning because technology and manufacturing are always evolving. The NCMS mission has not changed but the activities and projects have evolved to be on the leading edge of innovation. What was rapid prototyping 25 years ago is now evolved to 3D printing, allowing even children the opportunity to build. That is what has kept me engaged in working in the nation’s leading manufacturing consortium.”

CREDENTIALS
• Bachelor’s degree, international relations and economics, George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
• Master’s degree, economics, London School of Economics, U.K.
• 2014 Women in Manufacturing STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) honoree

VOICE OF EXPERIENCE
Taylor says one of the frustrations for the industry she represents has to do with the challenges small and medium-sized companies face when trying to adopt new technologies. The complexity and cost of these new capabilities are often beyond the reach of most manufacturers. That’s where NCMS can help. “We’ve always been about leveraging the risk, time and cost to new technology innovation. A vibrant nation needs a vibrant industrial base and we are leading the charge. America’s future won’t be made, but manufactured.”
– Interviewed by Julie Baumkel