Chuck Wilson, Plant Manager, Parkdale

Chuck Wilson, Plant Manager, Parkdale

Chuck Wilson, 68, has worked in textiles for 43 years – with no plans to retire from an industry he loves.

He joined Parkdale, the largest yarn producer in the U.S., as a supervisor in 2001, and the next year was asked to start up a new yarn-twisting plant for the company in Mount Holly, N.C. Today, Chuck manages a Parkdale facility that grew from 20 employees to 75.

Chuck takes immense pride in his work, adding that his employees are equally as passionate about the products they make. Every package of yarn must meet exact technical specifications in order to process properly at the next step, he adds.

“I let them know that they are important, that everybody’s important to the whole and that the product they make is important,” Chuck says. “We keep open lines of communication, and I keep them posted on how we’re doing as a plant and a company.”

As a testament to his love for the industry, after joining Parkdale, Chuck kept his home in Spartanburg, S.C., and has commuted about 124 miles round-trip every day since. He’s now on his third car after logging nearly 500,000 miles on his first vehicle and about 200,000 miles on this second car. And he’s still chugging along.

“It’s been a great career for me, and great for my family,” Chuck says. “I would never have the quality of living I’ve had without textiles. The industry has been good to me and many of the people I’ve met are lifelong friends. I’m blessed.”

When severe shortages arose in in U.S. and global PPE in the early days of the pandemic, Parkdale was one of the first companies to step forward to help, leading a coalition of U.S. textile and apparel makers that worked with the federal government to address this issue. Since then, Parkdale and its partners have produced millions of PPE items, including face masks and gowns, for frontline workers as well as consumers.

Chuck’s plant was able to quickly retool its production for PPE inputs, a job every employee there takes seriously, he says.

We’re helping supply people what they need on the frontline and we’re going to win this battle. We want to win – that’s the American spirit.

“We look at this as a battle against an invisible enemy,” he says. “When you see war movies, you see soldiers fighting but you don’t see what goes in to support them. My brother was in Operation Desert Storm, and he was in support. He didn’t fight, but he helped provide the materials for the frontline. Without those materials, the soldiers can’t fight. And that’s the same thing with the PPE. We’re helping supply people what they need on the frontline and we’re going to win this battle. We want to win – that’s the American spirit. If you look at history, you will see how many people have come together to protect this country.”

Winning that battle means providing equipment to keep the American citizenry safe, of course, but an underlying purpose exists, as well, Chuck says.

“This is our country and we don’t want people to suffer,” he says. “These are our brothers and sisters. And it’s not just about making money, not at all. It’s about their safety, yes, but it’s also about helping the people of the United States enjoy their freedoms because you’re not free when you’re not able to leave your home. The necessary PPE allows you to go to the church of your choice, go to the stores of your choice or just go outside your home. It helps give you freedom.”

As lawmakers consider potential policies to confront existing PPE shortages, Chuck says they should look to craft domestic purchase requirements such as those in the Berry and Kissell amendments that are already in place for the military. It’s all about readiness, he says.

“We shouldn’t have to go outside this country for PPE,” he says. “It should be made here because, if another country makes it, you don’t know if it’s safe, you don’t know what kind of standards they have and you may not get it quickly.”

He encouraged members of Congress to visit textile mills with an open mind, and to not “believe everything they’ve heard” about the industry.

“They should get out and get firsthand knowledge of it before they make any decisions, and they should see how it impacts people’s lives,” he says. “If they visit my plant, their decisions won’t just be impacting the 75 people there. It’s also the people who support my plant – the people in Hillsville [Va.] who supply us yarn for twisting . It’s all of our suppliers and it’s all of our customers. And it’s the communities that these mills support.

They should look at our people’s faces. Look at the pride they have in what they do. It’s remarkable. They have pride knowing ‘I can do something. I know how to do something. I have a skill that nobody else has.’ They don’t take that lightly.”

Contact your lawmakers

Send a letter in support of American PPE production

Comments Off on Chuck Wilson, Plant Manager, Parkdale Uncategorized

Learn more

Barry Shore, Unifi Inc.

Barry Shore, Polyester Operations Manager, Unifi Inc.
In his four-plus decades, Barry has seen Unifi transform from solely a fiber producer into a diverse provider of numerous high-tech, sustainable products – from fiber made from water bottles under its signature REPREVE® brand to other recycled byproducts such as chip or flake that can be used in anything from apparel to food containers to geotextile liners in road construction projects.

“We’ve dedicated ourselves to being an innovator,” he says. “We are out here every day trying to innovate new yarns, new end uses, new combinations and new products that would give our customers an advantage for the consumer.”

Like many in this rural county in Western N.C., Barry grew up on a farm. And, like so many others in the area, he saw the local textile company, founded in 1971 in Greensboro, N.C., as a terrific opportunity to make a good living and learn a trade.

His brother and several aunts and cousins were working at Unifi when Barry was in high school and joined the company as a full-time doffer, removing packages of yarn from machines after they are processed. After graduation, he stayed with the company and, at age 19, joined its management training program. He took his first manager’s job over a department at age 25.


“Unifi has been nothing but great to me,” says Barry, whose daughter recently joined the company in human resources “I’ve had a lot of opportunities here. It’s allowed me to put my three daughters through college. I don’t know if I could have done that working anywhere else besides here. So for me and my family, it has provided tremendous opportunities.”

With more than 1,000 people working at the Yadkinville location, Unifi is the second largest employer in the county behind the school system. “We’re a close-knit family group here,” he says. “We pull (people) mostly from Yadkin County and surrounding counties, so it seems like everybody knows everybody.”

In early March, Unifi was asked to help supply critical components for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to help fight the spread of COVID-19, and the company was quick to join the effort. As a crucial product in the supply chain, the company’s fibers and yarns were needed to produce [fabrics] for hospital gowns, face masks and medical supplies such as wound dressing and bandages. The company joined a coalition producing gowns for a large FEMA program when the vast shortage for frontline workers became apparent.

“We make POY fiber that we in turn convert to DTY (Drawn Textured Yarn). We sold both into the medical programs,” Barry says.

“Coordinating everything was a challenge, but it became easier once the [fibers] and materials used in the gowns] was settled,” he says. “There was a tremendous amount of trial work going on [with] the yarns [used to create] the gowns because it had to meet a certain standard. So we made several different yarn varieties before we finally hit the ones that worked for… the fabric they were trying to make for the gown.”

Similarly, Unifi’s fibers used in polyester yarns are now being used in face masks – some with antibacterial or water-repellent properties that are produced by numerous partners. And having its own trucking fleet has enabled the company to deliver product in a timely fashion. The entire effort makes him proud, Barry notes.

“It is an exciting thing to be involved in, knowing that there is a need and we can play a part in satisfying that need,” he says. “The industry’s collaboration has been amazing. It’s nice to see a whole industry pull together and say, ‘we can do this, and quickly.’ But that’s part of what the country is all about in times of need – pulling yourself together and making things happen.”

It’s nice to see a whole industry pull together and say, “we can do this, and quickly.” But that’s part of what the country is all about in times of need – pulling yourself together and making things happen.

Not that any of this effort during these unprecedented times surprises Barry. Time and again, he has seen his company and his industry show flexibility, he says.

“We have a lot of capability and capacity, driven by our customers and consumers,” he says.

Having worked in production and now as a manager, Barry says he has a good grasp on the operation, adding that his “people skills” have helped him tremendously along the way.

“I’ve always considered my forte to be people,” he says. “I was once an employee working on the floor, and that gives me a good perspective of the way they see things and how they react to things day to day.”

Barry has seen the industry change in many ways throughout his career, transitioning from a labor-intensive manufacturing sector to a modern, advanced industry that has become much more efficient, technologically driven, with a focus on sustainability.

But for some reason, he adds, the industry has not always received the credit it deserves for the value it brings to families, communities and the nation at large.

“There was a lot of livelihoods made off the textile industry, and it has provided a lot of things for families,” he says. “You always hope that manufacturing jobs, which are what the country needs, would be recognized. Even though equipment has changed and processes have changed, it still involves people. It may require a higher skillset person, but it’s still all about people.”

Barry says the COVID-19 crisis has opened a lot of eyes to the importance of manufacturing, especially textiles, in this country.

“When I look at the more than 1,000 people here and all the families who started here, I’m always going to stress that manufacturing here in the United States is important,” he says. “There is still a group of people today that is making their livelihood in the textile industry. There’s no place I’d rather be, and I think a lot of people would tell you the same thing. So we don’t want to lose our manufacturing jobs, and textiles is something that we can definitely keep here. We fight imports all the time and probably will continue to do so. But we’re trying our best to innovate and create things that people can’t just go and copy.”

Contact your lawmakers

Send a letter in support of American PPE production

Comments Off on Barry Shore, Unifi Inc. Uncategorized

Learn more

Stephen Comer, Glen Raven

Stephen Comer, Manufacturing Services Coordinator, Glen Raven Inc.

Stephen Comer, 31, joined Glen Raven when he was obtaining higher education degrees, never thinking his career would cross paths with the company at a later date. But after earning his undergraduate and master’s degrees in history, he ditched the idea of seeking a Ph.D. to return full time to a company and an industry in which he respected and saw a great future.

Glen Raven had been good to Stephen’s family and the small North Carolina community in which he grew up. His first stint at the company as a material handler in 2013 opened his eyes to the possibilities of a career at a global textile company. His aunt and uncle met at the company and have each worked there about two decades, and Stephen recalls he was often able to visit his aunt’s workplace when he was a pre-teen.

“I realized manufacturing in the U.S. wasn’t what it once was, but I knew that Glen Raven was strong and was continuing to grow,” he says. “And I knew the company had been around a long time, was a tight-knit, family-run company and a lot of families worked there. So based on that, I felt like it was a strong, employee-focused company to work for.”

Stephen returned to Glen Raven four years ago, starting as a lab analyst before moving into his current role as manufacturing services coordinator last year. He oversees new hire orientation and on-the-job training, in addition to managing a large portion of the safety program.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Glen Raven’s Burlington plant shifted its primary production focus from its highly advanced performance fabrics for upholstery, awnings, shade and marine applications to its proprietary synthetic fiber mix for its arc-flash, flame-retardant fabric. Apparel containing this fabric is worn by utility and electrical workers that keep essential businesses, including hospitals and healthcare facilities running.

[COVID-19] really shows the glaring need for textiles in the U.S. – not just for PPE, but also in general clothing and textiles. We use textiles in a number of different ways, and it’s important that we have fast access to those products.

“As seen during the COVID-19 crisis, it’s very important to have textiles here in the U.S., so that we have supply lines and end products available in critical times,” he says. “American quality is good quality. I know it might cost more to make things here in the U.S. but we need it to be available here, especially in times of need like today during the crisis. It really shows the glaring need for textiles in the U.S. – not just for PPE, but also in general clothing and textiles. We use textiles in a number of different ways, and it’s important that we have fast access to those products.”

The industry is proving its adaptability and importance during the pandemic – something it has shown time and again during our nation’s times of need.

“We have a really adaptable group that’s used to being flexible and responsive. That culture is already established, especially that safety culture, so I think it made it a fairly seamless process,” Stephen says.

Stephen notes he is honored to work in an industry that has answered our nation’s call and provides basic, high-quality essentials to its citizens.

“Many people don’t know a whole lot about textiles, but I’m proud to talk about what I do and how important it is,” he says. “Obviously, my career is a lot shorter than some, but I’ve seen how we’ve grown and pivoted and changed in just the short amount of time that I’ve been here, and seen how resilient the industry is.”

Domestic production of textiles is imperative, as the critical need for PPE supply exposed during the crisis. And Stephen says he hopes those decisionmakers who hold the industry’s future in their hands have taken notice.

“I guess [the industry] has not gotten the credit it deserves, based on the fact a lot of textiles moved out of the U.S.,” he says. “But with this crisis, having things made here has proven how important it is.”

Contact your lawmakers

Send a letter in support of American PPE Production

Comments Off on Stephen Comer, Glen Raven Uncategorized

Learn more

Basilio Medina, Glen Raven Inc.

Basilio Medina, Production Coordinator, Glen Raven Inc.

Textiles are in Basilio Medina’s blood – and he wouldn’t want it any other way. At 48, he has spent his entire 26-year career in the U.S. textile industry.

As a production coordinator at global fabric maker Glen Raven, Inc., based in the central North Carolina town of the same name, Basilio is responsible for cleaning and prepping equipment for color changes as high-tech yarn is processed into advanced fabric.

Looking for better opportunities, Basilio came to the U.S. from El Salvador in the 1990s and landed at Dixie Yarns in N.C., where he worked as a machine operator and technician, working there two years before that plant closed. After quickly learning and becoming efficient in advanced technologies, the shuttering company recommended he apply for a job at nearby Glen Raven, where he’s worked ever since. He served as a section leader for 15 years before being promoted to his current position.

Textiles are now in his family’s blood, too. His brother, son three sisters-in-law and a brother-in-law all work for Glen Raven.

“Working here and in textiles has been a good experience, all these 26 years,” he says. “It’s like a family. They care about their employees and they have good benefits. There are people who have worked here for over 40 years. So I think this is a very important business for the U.S. and for, especially people like me and my family.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the shortage of critical Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers and others on the frontlines, many in the U.S. textile industry stepped up to alter operations to produce these essential goods. While others, like Basilio and his team, began producing inputs used to create protective gear.

Yarn produced at Glen Raven’s Burlington plant, for example, is sent to a nearby plant and woven into a highly technical fabric called GlenGuard®, an arc-flash, flame-retardant, lightweight fabric that protect utility and electrical workers who keep essential businesses, including hospitals and healthcare systems, running.

During the crisis, Basilio and his group were called back to work after a one-day furlough was instituted as businesses nationwide were closing. They were asked to ramp up the amount of Glen Raven’s proprietary synthetic fiber mix to boost production of the company’s GlenGuard® product. Practically overnight, the plant shifted its focus from making its signature Sunbrella® line of solution-dyed acrylic yarns used in indoor/outdoor fabrics, to creating blends needed for protective apparel fabric.

“When COVID-19 shut down the textile plant, the company quickly realized that our GlenGuard product would open a big opportunity for us to keep running and help our country,” Basilio says.

I think it’s important to make products here because it gives Americans jobs and helps take care of and feed families.

The pandemic certainly proved the importance of the textile industry to the health, well-being and safety of U.S. citizens. But its value is apparent in many other ways, including supporting American families and communities.

“I think it’s important to make products here because it gives Americans jobs and helps take care of and feed families,” Basilio says. “Textiles is a very important business for families that maybe didn’t go to college. I would rather work in textiles than work in construction or anywhere else. I’m happy doing what I do every day for all these years.”

Basilio says he can’t see himself doing anything but textiles for the rest of his career, so he stressed that lawmakers should consider the livelihoods of thousands of Americans whenever legislation comes up that involves the industry.

“To keep jobs here, especially in textiles, is very important,” he says. “If these companies disappear, where are we going to find a job? I think they [lawmakers] need to carry the load and make sure these jobs are not shipped overseas. I think they can work it out to even bring some jobs back here, and I think we will be in a better position in the future.”

Contact your lawmakers

Send a letter in support of American PPE production

Comments Off on Basilio Medina, Glen Raven Inc. Uncategorized

Learn more

Rhina Quintanilla, Shawmut Corp.

Rhina Quintanilla, Vision Technician, Shawmut Corp.

Rhina Quintanilla, 40, has been working in the U.S. textile industry for half of her life.

Over the past 20 years she has worked her way up the ladder to her current position as a Vision Technician at Shawmut Corp. In the quality control department, Rhina uses Shelton automated inspection technology to photograph fabric on the production line to assess its quality.

A mother of two and an immigrant from El Salvador, Rhina has weathered many ups and downs in her life, but the jobs she has held in textile factories over those years have given her not only a means to make a living but also new skills and training on advanced technologies that help the industry innovate and compete in a global world.

Rhina, along with tens of thousands of textile workers, has helped drive the U.S. industry through one of its darkest chapters in history—the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I have a sister that works in the hospital, and she tells me about how they didn’t have a lot of protective equipment; but now it’s coming in, and they’re glad that’s being produced and given to them. She’s a phlebotomist here in Burlington [N.C.]. So to me, it’s personal,” Rhina says.

She has been confronted with many challenges during the health crisis, including a weeklong furlough, before being called back in to ramp up production on fabrics for medical gowns.

“Personally, we had to change our mindset and the way we were used to doing things to accommodate in a [fast] pace producing new products,” she says.

Shawmut traditionally produces headliner composites, technical textiles and lamination, including in the automotive division of Shawmut where Rhina works.

Being part of a larger effort by the industry to retool production lines and pivot to PPE production to address the severe shortage of critical PPE items like gowns, face masks, and isolation curtains has been rewarding for Rhina.

“We were given a lot of good tools and already had some ourselves to make that product work as good as it’s working now. And it means that the people who need it are getting it and having it when they need it,” she says.

The textile industry runs through Rhina’s family and through her own personal story with her husband.

“I did not go to school for textiles; but because those were the jobs that were available as I was reaching the age of adulthood, that’s what was around, textiles. And I just feel like I’ve been blessed to have been given the opportunity with Shawmut to grow and learn a lot more about textiles, different types of fabrics.” Rhina adds.

Her father worked at Copland Fabrics, also based in Burlington, North Carolina, for 15 years, and Rhina says she met her husband, Juan, in Burlington as well.

Juan, who moved to North Carolina from El Salvador 13 years ago, also has roots in the U.S. textile industry, first working for Cortina Fabrics and now working at the same company—Shawmut—as Rhina.

If [we] produce material here, that’s helping people all across the United States. If there’s more places that would do this, they could, in cases like this pandemic, have faster access to the materials that they need.

Rhina sees her role in making PPE and automotive products in America in this way:

“I feel that if [we] produce material here, that’s helping people all across the United States. If there’s more places that would do this, they could, in cases like this pandemic, have faster access to the materials that they need.”

Domestic production is important because it provides “security, knowing that we’re doing something good for many people. It’s very family-like here. They always let us know what’s going on and it feels very family oriented,” she says.

As lawmakers on Capitol Hill introduce bills to expand domestic PPE production; reduce our country’s overreliance on foreign-made goods, particularly from China; and solidify production in the U.S., it is people like Rhina Quintanilla who are working every day to make medical-related textiles to help frontline workers.

Rhina says she has learned that textiles is a “difficult business that can disappear quickly.”

“And from seeing other places, jobs can just kind of vanish or be sent overseas,” she adds.

That is why it is important to her during the pandemic in particular to show members of Congress and the public how flexible, efficient and important the industry is to not only PPE production but a whole host of other critical textiles, including the automotive business.

She also says domestic production of PPE is critical to keep the supply chain prepared for the future.

“We live in a big country where a lot of this stuff is needed and used, and to have it produced here is much needed,” she says.

Her message to Capitol Hill is simple and direct:

“What we do here right now is being produced here, and I feel it’s important because like I said, for the gown business, we have it, it’s ready and it’s accessible faster than having to wait for it to get here.”

Contact your lawmakers

Send a letter in support of American PPE production

Comments Off on Rhina Quintanilla, Shawmut Corp. Uncategorized

Learn more

Khurm Hussain, Unifi Inc.

Khurm Hussain, Director of Flake, Resin & Staple Fiber, Unifi, Inc.

Khurm Hussain, 41, is a second-generation textile worker and immigrant from Pakistan. He earned his Textile Engineering degree from Thomas Jefferson University and has worked with Greensboro, NC-based Unifi, Inc. for the past 20 years.

He began his career at Unifi as a management trainee— moving from plant to plant, department to department, learning technical processes like spinning, texturizing, loading, creeling, putting up ends and solution-dyeing color development. At the same time, he increased his knowledge of design and product development working at various Unifi facilities throughout North Carolina and abroad.

In 2010, Khurm was assigned to Unifi’s REPREVE® Recycling Center, through which the company developed and collaborated with other organizations for the production of REPREVE® recycled materials made from post-consumer bottle and pre-consumer waste.

In the years since, Khurm has become an important ambassador for the REPREVE® brand, which he believes offers value-added product differentiated from low-cost alternatives produced by foreign competitors.

Committed to advancing sustainability and innovation in the domestic textile industry, Khurm says: “[REPREVE is] based on sustainability. We have a razor-sharp focus. We can add additional technologies on a sustainable platform and have REPREVE PLUS in our product portfolio.

Unifi’s REPREVE® brand, launched in 2007, has transformed more than 20 billion plastic bottles into recycled fiber for apparel, shoes, home-textiles and recycled rPET for nonwoven, consumer packaging goods, thermoform containers for many of the leading brands.

Outside of the mill, Khurm is a family man who strives to give back to his community. He and his wife of 16 years have three kids—two daughters, eleven and seven years old, and a son, five. Unlike Khurm, who was born in Northern Ireland, each of his children were born in Winston-Salem, where he’s proud to have established his family.

He attributes the supportive, close-knit culture at Unifi as a source of support in making his home in the U.S.: “In my 20 years, I think I’ve been fortunate that Unifi challenged me and gave me new opportunities to explore. I feel like it’s a part of my extended family. They’re always there to help you. They helped with accommodation, logistics and even applied for my American citizenship. They want you to stick around for a long time and we are doing the same for the younger talented folks that are coming into the profession.”

Khurm’s wife was also part of the industry. She left Pakistan for the U.S. when they got married and she earned an accounting degree from Salem College. Shortly after she worked for Hanesbrands until the Sara Lee spin off. Together, Khurm and his wife are dedicated to raising their kids and bettering their neighborhood community: “We’ve made good friends outside of work. I spend more time at Unifi, but [in] the community at large I’ve tried to get involved as much as I can.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has spawned new sustainability initiatives in the form of reusable PPE, such as gowns, wipes and facemasks. For Khurm, such opportunities provide a sense of optimism and innovation to his work. “We are innovative … and getting more innovative … With mask breathability, we’re applying cross-sectional technology, so it channels some of the moisture away and provides adequate airflow. And then you can wash it, reuse it, over and over again… Now, everywhere you go, every airplane, every ball game, you’re going to be using a mask to reduce the spread of the virus. The question is, do you want to use a single use mask that you’re going to throw away, or do you want a reusable product? No matter which mask you choose, why could it not be made out of sustainable materials?”

We hear from brands who want to switch their supply chain. We have the automation, innovation and the people to compete and provide something better for the consumer.

A focus on sustainability carries additional benefits, like social responsibility and a stronger supply chain with regional trading partners. However, to realize some of these benefits, Khurm knows there’s still work to be done. In regard to reshoring production and developing critical supply chains, Khurm states, “I think when we come together as an industry to make gowns or masks or any other protective wear, we have enough capacity in the region. We hear from brands who want to switch their supply chain. We have the automation, innovation and the people to compete and provide something better for the consumer.”

A focus on sustainability carries additional benefits, like social responsibility and a stronger supply chain with regional trading partners. However, to realize some of these benefits, Khurm knows there’s still work to be done. In regard to reshoring production and developing critical supply chains, Khurm states, “I think when we come together as an industry to make gowns or masks or any other protective wear, we have enough capacity in the region. We hear from brands who want to switch their supply chain. We have the automation, innovation and the people to compete and provide something better for the consumer.”

To that end, Khurm sees the U.S. textile industry’s shift to PPE production as a prime opportunity for achieving these goals, “I think with coming together on the PPE, they are recognizing some of what we can do… I would love for them to enforce that all PPE should be made in the region, so in the case that we have anymore outbreaks, we are equipped… We need [more support] to have more stabilization in the region. The brands would love to come back to this region. If Capitol Hill would look into it, then there’ll be more capital invested in the region.”

Khurm’s passion for his work is also a source of personal fulfilment that has allowed him to develop deep interpersonal connections and take part in something larger than himself: “I’m a second-generation textile guy. My dad has been in the textile industry for the last 40 years. I saw he has a comfortable life. And I was like, I want to follow that path. I learned a lot from my dad. Now, we can talk the same—denier, filament, barre. Now we’re talking about PPE.”

“This pandemic is an eye opener on many levels. We just don’t need to be working competitively. Let’s work together and provide something that’s a win-win situation for the industry—made in the USA and protect lives.”

To that end, Khurm sees the U.S. textile industry’s shift to PPE production as a prime opportunity for achieving these goals, “I think with coming together on the PPE, they are recognizing some of what we can do… I would love for them to enforce that all PPE should be made in the region, so in the case that we have anymore outbreaks, we are equipped … We need [more support] to have more stabilization in the region. The brands would love to come back to this region. If Capitol Hill would look into it, then there’ll be more capital invested in the region.”

Khurm’s passion for his work is also a source of personal fulfilment that has allowed him to develop deep interpersonal connections and take part in something larger than himself: “I’m a second-generation textile guy. My dad has been in the textile industry for the last 40 years. I saw he has a comfortable life. And I was like, I want to follow that path. I learned a lot from my dad. Now, we can talk the same—denier, filament, barre. Now we’re talking about PPE.”

“This pandemic is an eye opener on many levels. We just don’t need to be working competitively. Let’s work together and provide something that’s a win-win situation for the industry—made in the USA and protecting lives.”

Contact your lawmakers

Send a letter in support of American PPE production

Comments Off on Khurm Hussain, Unifi Inc. Uncategorized

Learn more

NCTO President & CEO Kim Glas Testifies at House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Hearing on COVID-19 Crisis

WASHINGTON, DC – National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) President and CEO Kim Glas is testifying today at the House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee hearing on “Manufacturing and Critical Supply Chains: Lessons From COVID-19.”

“While domestic textile manufacturers have undertaken heroic efforts to confront the ongoing crisis, the onshoring of a permanent PPE industry will only materialize if proper government policies and other actions are put in place to help domestic manufacturers survive the current economic crisis and to incentivize the long-term investment needed to fully bring PPE production back to the United States,” Glas said in testimony submitted to the subcommittee found here.

Glas outlined policy recommendations and concrete steps the government should take to address the long-term and short-term needs of frontline health care workers, patients and the general public.

“The time is ripe for a revival of American PPE textile manufacturing. It has already begun, but we are at a pivotal point. Without the necessary policy response and support, our recent progress will be undone just as quickly, and the China stranglehold over global medical textile supply will be locked in for the foreseeable future with no reason to invest here,” Glas said.

“The U.S. textile and apparel industry is ready, willing, and able to supply our country’s PPE needs now and for what lies ahead,” she added.

###

NCTO is a Washington, DC-based trade association that represents domestic textile manufacturers, including artificial and synthetic filament and fiber producers.

  • U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 585,240 in 2019.
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $75.8 billion in 2019.
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $29.1 billion in 2019.
  • Capital expenditures for textile and apparel production totaled $2.5 billion in 2018, the last year for which data is available.

DOWNLOAD RELEASE

CONTACT: Kristi Ellis

202.684.3091

www.ncto.org

Comments (0) Press Releases, Recent News, Testimony and Statements, Uncategorized

Learn more

NCTO, Textile Executives Back July 1 Implementation of USMCA

WASHINGTON, DC– The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), representing the full spectrum of U.S. textiles from fiber though finished sewn products, issued a statement today with textile executives stressing the critical importance of moving ahead with the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and lauding U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer for setting July 1 as the implementation date now that the U.S. has taken the necessary final procedural steps.

“We commend Ambassador Lighthizer for moving forward with USMCA, a critical trade deal that will greatly benefit the U.S. textile industry at a time when domestic producers–facing significant challenges due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic–have mobilized to convert their production lines to manufacturing personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline workers during this crisis,” said NCTO President and CEO Kim Glas.

“Sustaining the $20 billion in apparel and textile trilateral trade between the U.S., Mexico and Canada is absolutely critical at this time. USMCA, which makes several key improvements over the former North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will go a long way to increasing the textile industry’s exports, as well as investments and capacity in the U.S. We need to maintain and expand a Western Hemisphere supply chain to meet national emergencies head on in the future,” Glas added.

Mexico and Canada are the two largest export markets for the U.S. textile and apparel industry, totaling nearly $11.3 billion in 2019.

“I think USMCA is vitally important. It provides this hemisphere with production capabilities to counter Asia and other developing areas,” said Jay Self, president and CEO of Greenwood Mills. “The improved trade agreement offers speed to market and that is such a critical factor not only for our traditional fabric business, but also for our production of face masks and gowns for frontline workers battling the coronavirus. Anything we do to make this hemisphere more competitive is to our advantage.”

Greenwood Mills, a family-owned textile company in Greenwood, S.C., has converted its denim jeans production at a factory in Mexico to PPE production of non-medical face masks and hospital gowns.

“USMCA creates more certainty in the Western Hemisphere and allows us to have a vision of how to continue to build the domestic textile platform and supply chain, while giving us the confidence to re-invest,” said Cameron Hamrick, president of Hamrick Mills. “This trade agreement makes several improvements, and our hope is it will spur more investment in the Western Hemisphere. Now is the time more than ever to have a strong regional supply chain in the Western Hemisphere.”

Hamrick Mills is a 119-year-old company based in Gaffney, S.C. and producer of greige woven fabrics in both polyester/cotton blends as well as 100% cotton. The company has also pivoted to PPE production to help frontline workers.

 “Localized cooperation up and down the supply chain is of paramount importance to securing our economy in a predictable manner and as a model for increased investment for all stakeholders,” said James W. McKinnon, CEO of Cotswold Industries, Inc. “The implementation of USMCA is critical to the continued health and growth of the U.S. textile industry and our regional manufacturing partners. It’s times like this that highlight the importance of a robust regional manufacturing base in the Western Hemisphere.”

Cotswold Industries is a vertically-integrated textile engineering and marketing company that manufactures and distributes technical barriers, knitted and woven industrial fabrics and non-woven substrates, many of which the company has utilized for the production of PPE products.

NCTO worked with the administration during negotiations on USMCA and successfully lobbied for several provisions and improvements that were subsequently incorporated in the trade deal that will close loopholes and strengthen U.S. Customs enforcement.

NCTO is a Washington, DC-based trade association that represents domestic textile manufacturers, including artificial and synthetic filament and fiber producers. 

  • U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 585,240 in 2019. 
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $75.8 billion in 2019. 
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $29.1 billion in 2019. 
  • Capital expenditures for textile and apparel production totaled $2.5 billion in 2018, the last year for which data is available.

###

DOWNLOAD RELEASE

CONTACT: Kristi Ellis

(202) 684-3091

www.ncto.org

Comments (0) Press Releases, Recent News, Uncategorized

Learn more

Parkdale Mills Collaborates with FDA, Gates Foundation, Others to Supply Swabs for Coronavirus Tests

WASHINGTONParkdale Mills subsidiary U.S. Cotton, the nation’s largest manufacturer of cotton swabs, has joined in an effort with the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the Gates Foundation, UnitedHealth Group and Quantigen to ramp up production of spun synthetic swabs to help the country’s frontline health care workers administering tests for the COVID-19 disease.

U.S. Cotton has developed a fully synthetic, polyester-based Q-tip-type swab that can be used in coronavirus diagnostic testing.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration just announced that these synthetic swabs – with a design similar to Q-tips – could be used to test patients for the coronavirus.

U.S. Cotton, based in Cleveland, Ohio, plans to leverage its large-scale manufacturing capacity to rapidly increase production of large quantities of the polyester swabs, which are in short supply for testing kits across the country.

The FDA has determined that spun synthetic swabs can be used in COVID-19 testing based on the results from a clinical investigation stemming from its collaboration with UnitedHealth Group, the Gates Foundation and Quantigen. 

John Nims, President of U.S. Cotton said, “We stand ready to serve in this important fight and want to do all we can to help deploy these testing kit swabs for the American people. We greatly appreciate the collaborative efforts with the UnitedHealth Group, Quantigen, and the Gates Foundation to help support these necessary clinical studies to help advance this critically needed product to market.” 

Anderson Warlick, Chair & CEO of Parkdale/U.S. Cotton said, “Many thanks to Dr. Peter Navarro for his incredible leadership and for all his support.  We also greatly appreciate our Ohio Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman and Governor Mike DeWine in these efforts.”

This is the second major COVID-19 relief project that Parkdale has helped lead. Earlier Parkdale constructed an entire supply chain that includes Hanes, Fruit of the Loom, and many other U.S. companies in the production of PPE masks desperately needed by frontline medical staff treating the virus.

###

NCTO is a Washington, DC-based trade association that represents domestic textile manufacturers, including artificial and synthetic filament and fiber producers. 

  • U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 585,240 in 2019. 
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $75.8 billion in 2019. 
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $29.1 billion in 2019. 
  • Capital expenditures for textile and apparel production totaled $2.5 billion in 2018, the last year for which data is available.

DOWNLOAD RELEASE

CONTACT: Kristi Ellis

202.684.3091

www.ncto.org

Comments (0) Press Releases, Recent News, Uncategorized

Learn more

Textile Industry Unites to Play Critical Role for the Nation’s Production of PPE Products

WASHINGTONThe National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), representing the full spectrum of U.S. textiles from fiber through finished products, issued a statement today from textile executives leading the nation’s unified effort to produce critical personal protective equipment (PPE) to help hospitals and healthcare workers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

In factories across the country, textile companies are retooling production virtually overnight to produce PPE products ranging from hospital gowns, face masks and shoe covers to scrubs. The industry is playing a critical role in the nation’s manufacturing strategy and solution to help contribute to the high demand for these products.

“Coordinating with local hospitals, healthcare organizations, the entire U.S. production chain and federal agencies, the textile industry has been at the forefront of the incredible manufacturing effort, contributing to the country’s rapid response to the rising needs of frontline workers,” said NCTO President and CEO Kim Glas. “This industry has taken the lead in this effort, utilizing American manufacturing facilities and workers, despite facing many challenges in this environment.  Our industry will continue to do all they can to serve the American people, frontline hospital workers and patients at this time.”

U.S. apparel and textile executives, representing the entire supply chain, from fiber to finished apparel, share their involvement in the monumental task of providing PPE products during challenging times.  

The quotes—for use in any articles you are developing—from textile and apparel executives below offer a snapshot of efforts throughout the entire supply chain to provide PPE products for our nation.

As a demonstration of this effort, NCTO shares a few of the many stories emerging from our NCTO members at this time:

Beverly Knits Inc.

“Our team has stepped up to the challenge of fighting Covid-19 and flattening the curve,” said Ron Sytz, CEO of Beverly Knits. “We have organized a team of 25+ companies with over 4,000 American textile and apparel workers, to manufacture personal protective mask for HHS.  Through NCTO and SEAMS [The Association & Voice of the U.S. Sewn Products Industry] we continue to engage with additional companies to help fight this pandemic and flatten the curve.”

Burlington Industries LLC

“Burlington is proud to be a part of an industry with such compassion and call to action as we have seen over the last couple of weeks in the fight against COVID-19,” said Allen Smith, president Burlington, Safety Components & A&E – Americas. “With 40 years of experience in medical fabrics, Burlington is glad to offer its reusable woven products and technical expertise to those within and outside our industry who are stepping up to help produce lifesaving PPE.  Our employees are committed to the cause and working tirelessly in North Carolina to increase production, reallocate resources and support the evolving needs as much as possible.  Reusable fabrics are critical in reducing the scarcity of PPE and increasing availability on the front lines, offering responsible solutions with advanced protection, comfort and durability where it counts the most. Throughout our Elevate portfolio of brands we are also offering support through the use of A&E technical threads and utilizing our network of contacts and expertise across Cone Denim and Safety Components to make connections, offer guidance and facilitate meaningful conversations to support our communities and healthcare heroes.”

Cotswold Industries Inc.

“Cotswold and Central Textiles have pivoted to making PPE substrates for single use non-woven fabrics for and also for reusable PPE,” said James McKinnon CEO of Cotswold. “We have ramped our reusable fabric production and hope to produce 100-150K/week very shortly.”

Gildan Activewear Inc.

“We are pleased to join forces with various business partners in the U.S. to reopen some of Gildan’s global manufacturing facilities under a strict biosecurity protocol to produce face masks and isolation gowns in support of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Chuck Ward, president of Gildan Yarns. “We are also proud to have donated a number of N95 protective face masks to local hospitals or health and human services organizations in the U.S. to support front line healthcare providers who continue to deliver exceptional care to patients and their families during this crisis,” he added.

Glen Raven Inc.

“The U.S. textile industry has emerged as a critical part of the solution in protecting our frontline workers from COVID-19,” said Leib Oehmig, Glen Raven CEO and NCTO chairman. “Through our collaborative efforts across the industry and with our employees, customers, suppliers and the medical community, the industry has retooled many operations and is supplying important PPE like masks, face shields, swabs, wipes, gowns and many other products. Glen Raven, through our business units, is actively working with our partners across many industries and have aligned our resources to focus on PPE inputs where we are in the best position to offer solutions. These include inputs for gowns, face shields, mask covers, and temporary structures. As part of our response, Glen Raven has organized a fabrication group with several of our customers who are producing face shields and gowns. This group is collaborating with hospital systems across the country to design and scale production of these important products.”

Greenwood Mills

“Venturing into a completely new territory in less than a week’s time was certainly a calculated risk, but one that we feel will pay off in the long run not just for our company, but for our larger community,” said Jay Self, president and chief operating officer of Greenwood Mills. “We have made the switch from denim production to masks and gowns. The first full week of production will result in about 30,000 masks. At full capacity, the company will produce 500,000 masks and 300,000 gowns per week, with flexibility depending on the demand of the products. It’s a testament to our workforce and ingenuity that we were able to make this transition happen so quickly.”

Hamrick Mills

“We at Hamrick Mills have dedicated a significant portion of our manufacturing capacity to the production of scrubs, gowns, masks, and related PPE,” said Jim Hopkins, director of sales at Hamrick. “We are considered and designated as an essential business concern and are intent on doing our share to assist those in need­ patients, front line first responders, and the general public, during this national crisis.”

Hanesbrands Inc.

“We are proud to be working with the apparel consortium and the National Council of Textile Organizations to rapidly mobilize to meet such an important and critical national need for face masks during this pandemic,” said Michael E. Faircloth, Hanesbrands group president, global operations, American casualwear and e-commerce. “Our employees and those of our consortium partners have been working around the clock to transition production from basic apparel to face mask production. This has required amazing cooperation and close coordination among the government, raw material suppliers, logistics providers and our supply chain employees. Together we are achieving a monumental task, which has resulted in the manufacture and delivery of millions of masks already with hundreds of millions more to come soon. Apparel industry leaders, particularly the consortium members, have successfully turned on a dime to meet the greater good of society.”

Lenzing Fibers Inc.

“Like many companies, Lenzing was working to understand exactly what was needed during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic and we already had fibers in a variety of PPE applications,” said David Adkins, Lenzing commercial manager-Americas Textiles. “Thanks to the information provided by NCTO and several other industry organizations we were able to better clarify market needs and determine and provide appropriate products to fit the markets requirement.”

Milliken & Company

“Many of Milliken’s U.S. customers in the flame resistant, workwear, and industrial space have pivoted their operations to manufacture PPE,” shared Chad McAllister, president of the Milliken Textile Division and EVP of Milliken & Company. “When we saw a need to shift to medical grade textiles, our team quickly stepped up. As of today, we have scaled production of these new products so that together with our customers we can help protect medical workers.”

MMI Textiles Inc.

 “For our part, MMI has been focusing on raw materials for all 4 gown levels, both immediate inventory and future production orders, N95 and personal protection masks, face shields and any other PPE raw material,” said Amy Bircher, president and founder of MMI.  “We successfully helped secure immediate raw material for Crye Precision, and they gave a shout out to us on a press conference with the Mayor of NYC.  We have secured finished masks to donate to local hospitals that we imported from overseas, and also bought face shields locally to donate.  MMI is stocking a variety of widths of elastic for use in a variety of PPE applications – our plan is to create a robust stock option so that customers can ultimately pull product for immediate delivery.”

Parkdale Inc.

“Parkdale has been an American company since 1916 and as such we feel a sense of duty and an obligation to answer our nation’s call for personal protective equipment,” said Anderson Warlick, Chairman and CEO of Parkdale. “We are proud to work with our industry colleagues as we work together to retool, re-equip and redirect our plants and supply chains so that every citizen in the United States gets a personal protection mask.”

Picanol of America

“The nature of Picanol of America, Inc., business is to support the U.S. textile industry, especially our weaving customers,” said Cyril Guérin, president of Picanol. “Spare parts, electronic repair and technical services are what we offer day in and day out. Throughout this ordeal, we have not skipped a beat, though the environment is clearly challenging. Our customers produce critical fabrics to be transformed in health care personnel uniform, mattress casing and sheets for the patients, and probably many other PPE. As long as our weaving customers will produce, we will stand by them.  This has created a tremendous amount of stress on our associates but their ‘forward looking’ attitude has been an inspiration. It is all about surviving this together.”

Schneider Mills

“Schneider Mills has been very active in the past few weeks in responding to many customer needs for fabric during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.  We have responded to hurried orders of fabric for the outdoor shelters you see outside medical facilities across America,” said Curt Parker, vice president of operations at Schneider Mills. “Demand in lightweight rip-stop fabrics being used for medical gowns and light weight tents has increased as well.  We are continuing to supply to the medical tape industry for 3M.  We are responding to a new customer for barrier fabrics in the medical end uses. We are pleased to be doing all we can to support our country in this war with COVID-19.  Our employees are putting forth great efforts in these changes as they occur rapidly.”

Shuford Yarns LLC

“Shuford makes yarn for several medical applications such as diabetic socks, gloves, cuffs for surgical gowns, towels going to the military through the Federal Prison industry. Shuford has been given a number of opportunities to participate in making yarns for PPE, surgical gowns etc…,” said Marvin Smith, president and CEO of Shuford. “We are working with a car manufacture who is making PPE for several hospitals in their local area. We also internally are using some of our people who are taking fabric from a few of customers and making PPE to give to people in our community.  With all the negatives in our country, our people have found ways to have a positive in our community.”

Standard Textile

“Our healthcare customers are on the front line of treating patients and saving lives, and we’re relentlessly working to ensure our customers and our communities have continuous access to essential supplies needed to safeguard the health of clinicians, patients, and their families,” said Gary Heiman, president and CEO of Standard Textile. Heiman is fiercely committed to manufacturing as much reusable PPE and other healthcare products as possible—as quickly as possible—to alleviate the stress placed upon the healthcare industry and support the fight against COVID-19.  “My concern is we are missing urgent collaboration opportunities with federal or state governments to allow us to serve healthcare workers who are at the frontline of this crisis,” said Heiman.

The Brickle Group

“The Brickle group will be starting production on a general everyday mask produced utilizing our filtration felt from our nonwoven division Bouckaert Industrial Textiles,” said Max Brickle, president of Brickle. “We have developed a supply chain of New England textile manufacturers to be able to produce these masks. The masks we are producing domestically are machine washable meant for everyday public use, not medical use. We are also involved in importing hospital grade PPE for the New England region.”

The LYCRA Company

“The LYCRA Company, the only spandex producer in the U.S., is proud to produce and supply LYCRA® fiber, nylon, and other quality fibers to our value chain customers during these unprecedented times,” said Julien Born, president, apparel for The LYCRA Company. “Now more than ever, the medical community and other frontline workers are in critical need of well-fitting Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that helps keep them safe. We are encouraged by the quick action of many of our customers who have shifted production to produce masks and other protective devices. And with the inclusion of LYCRA® fiber, we hope to help our customers create a better wearer experience, so frontline workers can focus on what matters most – the health and wellness of our communities.”

TSG Finishing LLC

“We have just completed production trials on multiple non-medical woven upholstery fabrics which are now eligible for Level 1 and Level 2 (PPE) for gowns,” said Brian Rosenstein, CEO of TSG.  “We are getting ready to run full production on these.  The collaborative efforts of NCTO, IFAI, and INDA have been astounding. I am sure none of us feel we can move fast enough given this environment, but feel the entire textile industry has been very expeditious with response.”

Unifi Inc.

“We have more than 100 customers producing masks, gowns and other personal protective equipment needed by our first responders, medical personnel and military in the fight against COVID-19,” said Tom Caudle, president & chief operating officer of Unifi. “At Unifi, we’re proud to play a part in the fight by providing the fiber they need.” 

Wearbest Weavers LLC

“In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the shortage of necessary medical supplies, the mill has been successful in creating and pivoting their production to PPE textiles. I am very proud of our team effort to turn around our production so quickly,” said Greg Thomases, vice president of Wearbest parent company Swavelle.  “We are fortunate to have a U.S. mill that provides us the capability to produce PPE product. We’ve accomplished a lot in just a few weeks and plan to continue innovating through this unprecedented time. Our hope is to help meet the needs of thousands of frontline healthcare workers.” 

###

NCTO is a Washington, DC-based trade association that represents domestic textile manufacturers, including artificial and synthetic filament and fiber producers. 

  • U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 585,240 in 2019. 
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $75.8 billion in 2019. 
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $29.1 billion in 2019. 
  • Capital expenditures for textile and apparel production totaled $2.5 billion in 2018, the last year for which data is available.

DOWNLOAD RELEASE

CONTACT:

Kristi Ellis

(202) 684-3091

www.ncto.org

Comments (0) Uncategorized

Learn more