Leadership Team

Without its vibrant team of talented individuals, First State Manufacturing would amount to little more than four walls and a roof. The people form the pulse of First State, breathing new life into this ever-expanding transit seating and upholstery company each day.

Through the extraordinary vision and dedication of our leadership team and more than 80 full-time employees, First State Manufacturing is reaching new heights and securing positive growth for our company, our clients and the community at large. We serve commercial, government, and military customers with premium seating and upholstery services – backed with a commitment to the highest quality.

President & Chief Executive Officer

As a young boy in his neighborhood he was known as the “go-to guy” for building fighter kites. Now, he’s known as the guy with a nationally recognized ability to create, design, and manufacture, and who brings over 30 years in both private industry and federal government experience to the company he founded; First State Manufacturing. An acknowledged craftsman, he is responsible for numerous Aircraft Engineering changes currently accepted by the U.S. Armed Forces. Starting with nothing more than a dream and the best intentions 15 years ago, his small business – based in Milford, Delaware – now employs more than 80 associates and has secured over $10 million in government contracts – from military aircraft seating to mass transit system refurbishment. His firm’s commercial customers include Amtrak, Rail Plan, Keolis, Procter & Gamble, Amazon, pharmaceutical companies and restaurant chains. Known for being intent on “finding a better way,” Eli finds fulfillment in enabling the entrepreneurial dreams of others, and places a special emphasis on enabling youth to succeed.

Executive VP, Marketing & Administration

Sher owns First State Manufacturing with her husband Eli. The company may have been birthed in 1998, but she’s been married to it for a bit longer than that! A nationally recognized business strategist, Sher is known for her ability to form close, effective relationships with community, business and media liaisons.

In addition to being named “2012 U.S. Small Business Administration Small Business Person of the Year” for Delaware, she also ran for the office of Lieutenant Governor for the State of Delaware and was a featured speaker at the Republican National Convention.

As a child, Sher learned the sense of limitlessness results that creativity, intention, and hard work – when combined – can bring. Sher has not wavered. Today she remains committed to delivering solutions to other small businesses.

Chief Operating Officer

Bio coming soon.

Ashley Wolfe
Greg Boyce

Chief Financial Officer

Greg is a Finance and Manufacturing Executive with over twenty years’ experience providing advisement, leadership and solutions to leaders in industry and sectors such as Industrial, Textiles, Hi-Tech, CPG, Pharmaceutical, Oil & Gas.  He is considered an expert in every aspect of the manufacturing process, its operations and has completed company turnarounds, focusing on the financial strategy and operations of a company.

A graduate of the Ivy League with a Master’s in Business Administration, he also has extensive international experience. Client history includes IBM, GE (General Electric), Bausch & Lomb, Saint Gobain, Loreal, Fortune Brands, British Petroleum (BP), Sun Microsystems, Cadbury Adams, Bemis, ABB.

He was previously a Plant and General Manager, is also an expert in Lean, Six Sigma, Continuous Improvement and the DMAIC process, TPM, Demand/Supply Planning, S&OP, IT/ERP Systems, Inventory Management, Lean Design, Procurement/Strategic Sourcing, Supply Chain, Transportation, Warehouse, 3&4 PL, Contract Manufacturing, Business Analytics and Performance Improvement.

VP of Contracts, Sales & Marketing

Michelle brings 20+ years of experience with both government & commercial marketing and sales and her knowledge of government contracting will directly fall in line with the FSM’s vision for growth.  Her voice of the customer platform will ensure customer satisfaction, leading the way for growth opportunities.

Michelle Blattenberger

Director, Sales Operations and C-5 Refurbishment Program

Paul has 11-plus years of experience with FSM and has worked in every area of production, project management, planning and quality. His complete understanding of processes, materials and quality control has proven to be invaluable to our ability to fulfill our contractual obligations. His understanding and eye for quality driven solutions is the foundation of every initiative and the success of our manufacturing operations.

As FSM’s Director of Sales Operations, Paul executes and manages sales operational processes to enable the Marketing Department to run efficiently in support of business objectives. He reviews and analyzes opportunities and statements of work and develops proposal strategies to meet customer requirements. Paul also works with the Project Management Department to develop cost estimates and suggests pricing strategies.

As the Director of the C-5 Refurbishment Program, he executes the contract which includes serving as the primary liaison between FSM and the Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR), AMC Scheduling and subcontractor representatives to plan, create and publish the aircraft refurbishment timeline/schedule for each aircraft.

Paul’s 21-year career in the U.S. Air Force prepared him to be a key player at FSM. His drive for excellence and commitment to the discipline that gets you there has put FSM not only on a track for growth and continuous improvement in existing markets but also in making strong entrances in new markets. Paul is the epitome of what we mean when we say “and then some” at FSM.

Director, Human Resources

Kimberly Taha, Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), leads our Human Resources efforts at FSM. Kim’s human resources background, which includes 16 years in an industrial manufacturing environment, is proving to be invaluable and essential as the company goes through an unprecedented growth and expansion phase. Kim has extensive experience working with all facets of human resources, including workplace safety, but is especially passionate when it comes to recruitment and career counseling. She believes that employees are a company’s greatest asset and the more diverse a company is the more creative and successful it will be. She refers to this as “Smart Hiring”.

With a background that includes active duty service as an Air Traffic Controller for the United States Air Force, Kim is well suited to the challenges of her occupation.

Shelly Roache


Shelly Roache brings 14 years of experience working within small companies while wearing many hats at once. She has extensive experience in establishing policies, procedures, handling controls and working within reporting systems. She handles the “in the trenches” financial operations at FSM to maximize the return on financial assets and supporting the bottom line of the organization.

Shelly is a recent transplant from the Baltimore, Maryland area who, with her family, wanted a much calmer area to raise their two young boys. Being near the beach certainly isn’t too bad either! 

Production Manager

Edith Santoro brings over 20 years of expertise in production management to the FSM Family! Before coming to FSM, Edie (as she is affectionately referred) worked ILC in Frederica.

Her ability to simultaneously manage the multi-faceted processes of a manufacturing facility with five lines of production, troubleshoot and address daily operations, and supervise a staff of over 50 employees, is a feat met by few. Her calm and steady nature exudes to those in her charge and is key to the success of this fast-paced environment.

Edie lives in Milford with her husband, Bobby. Although she says she is too young, her favorite pastime is serving as Mom-mom to her "she lost count" grandchildren.

Assistant Manager, Materials
& Supply Chain Coordinator

Andrea joined FSM 4 years ago on the production floor, working in Quality Control. It soon became evident that her attention to detail and eye for quality would work well in the marketing department where we were developing processes and procedures which we have come to rely upon as we grow.

Andrea is a list maker with a strong work ethic and her ability to juggle multiple tasks is well known at FSM. Due to her knowledge of FSM practices, production abilities and scheduling, she is perfectly suited to her role, sourcing materials to keep us running along seamlessly.

Assistant Manager, Shipping and Material Handling

Corey likes to say that he "came with the building" when FSM moved to its current location 5 years ago! Corey's attention to stocking levels and inventory practices were well-honed skills that have only developed over time. He knows exactly what is in his stockroom and can put his hands on it at a moment's notice.

Corey also oversees shipping and receiving and is a master at finding a place for everything. His skills include developing, sourcing and implementing cost saving measures for our end users. Corey's processes are what FSM relies upon to produce and ship product on a daily basis.