Creating customer value with unique fiber technologies

Jan. 3, 2005

Bill Spencer recalls that day in March 1995 as clearly as if it were yesterday.

The meeting Spencer scheduled to advise his boss of his retirement plans had taken a sudden and unexpected turn. His retirement, Spencer learned, would mean the end for the string of small businesses he had spent years nurturing and developing.

Bill Spencer (L) and Xymid business development manager Dick Fader evaluate whether a roll from the company’s extensive fiber inventory is a viable candidate to meet a customer’s specific need.

They would never be big enough to impact the company’s bottom line and were drawing attention away from DuPont’s larger businesses. Beyond shutting them down, the only option was to sell them.

The first question that raced through Spencer’s mind when he heard the news? How would he tell the people he had personally recruited from within DuPont to help him grow the businesses that they would soon either be working for another company or possibly be without any job at all. He knew there would be no good answers to most of their questions.

A DuPont team — most of whom knew next to nothing about his businesses — was put in place to find potential buyers and expedite the sale. Yet because the businesses were small, there was no imperative. The result was two years of upheaval and uncertainty for Spencer and his team.

Fast forward to October 2004. The businesses jettisoned by DuPont are now the backbone of Xymid, LLC, a successful producer of technical fabrics and composites headquartered in Richmond, VA. Sitting at the helm of the company he now owns is President Bill Spencer, the ex-DuPonter who found a way to buy the businesses, keep his team together, pay his bills and build a solid company.

Spencer, who adds an entire new dimension to the concept of positive thinking, says he’s “having a blast” running Xymid. Yet the obvious question begs an answer. Why take such a financial risk to buy the company when he could have retired in comfort after his highly successful career with DuPont?

“I really anticipated my calling after DuPont would be teaching,” he said, laughing. “I never expected to be where I am today. Yet when DuPont told me that the only options were to sell the businesses or close them down, I really didn’t think I had a choice but to be a part of the purchase. As it turned out, I had to be the major purchaser.

“The people were always my No. 1 concern. What would happen to them if we were sold? Also, I knew there was great value in our products, even if they didn’t generate the large revenues DuPont needed. And I honestly believed that I could make a company like this work because I knew the businesses and how to make them more efficient and effective outside the DuPont structure.”

He was right. Six years after the sale, he oversees a broad portfolio of profitable niche businesses. They are bedding, protective apparel, print sleeves, artificial leather, absorbent fibers and structures. The link among them is that they are each unique technologies tailored to specific applications.

The bedding business is a case in point. Thanks to a patented manufacturing technique, Xymid® fabrics combine the performance characteristics of knit fabrics with those of nonwovens.

“The unique way our fabrics are made gives them a competitive advantage, because they’re so versatile and can be engineered to meet the specific needs of our customers,” said Lee Miller, who runs a major portion of Xymid’s fabrics business. “The technology enables us to make products that meet very stringent processing requirements.”

That means, for example, that an elastic edge can be integrated into Xymid fabric for the side panels of mattress pads, giving them better holding power on mattresses. The manufacturing process is also more efficient because the need to attach elastic to the pad is eliminated.

Xymid’s customer-friendly, streamlined manufacturing system is also attractive to bedding customers. Since orders are filled within days of when they’re received, customers can reduce inventories and better manage their cash.

Gloves are one of many markets currently being explored by Xymid. These tight-fitting gloves, featuring tacky palms and fingers, are gaining rapid popularity among cost-conscious athletes in a variety of sports.

Xymid’s Lanx Fabric Systems are gaining rapid acceptance in chemical protective overgarments, undergarments, over boots, duty uniforms, gloves and boot liners. Developed in the early 1990s for the U.S. Special Forces, they are the only fabrics approved for chemical protective undergarments by the U.S. military.

The durable composite fabrics contain unique carbon structures that absorb chemical agents, prevent poisoning by perspiration, and provide extremely uniform chemical protection. An added feature is their “tailorable stretch,” resulting in garments that fit well and are comfortable.

Overgarments made of Lanx Fabrics can be found at the Department of Homeland Security’s first-responder training facility in Alabama, where live agents are used in the training. Army, Navy and Marine flight suits are also made with the fabric.

Because the stakes are so high for those who wear garments made with Lanx Fabrics, protective apparel is “more than just a business” for Bob Weaver, who manages protective apparel for Xymid. “There’s something special about helping protect people and save lives and, given our customer list, our impact is far reaching.”

Mining for opportunities

Spend a day with the Xymid team and it’s obvious that they thrive on finding and developing new business opportunities that will fuel the company and its growth. Xymid wants to be known as a company that can bring new ideas to market more efficiently and effectively than anyone else. Given limited resources, that can be challenging.

“We have to mine for new business development ideas wherever we can find them, since we don’t have an experimental station with 150 researchers at our disposal,” he said.

Xymid’s unique technology can create fabrics with exceptional wear resistance. They’re finding increasing acceptance in work boots, ice skates, and athletic shoes.

He’ll sit down with anyone who has a potential new business opportunity. People in large corporations, which Jack Welch of GE fame once said were “too thick fingered” to develop a business from scratch, are particularly fertile ground. Because they can’t tolerate development cycles that are longer than business cycles, they often “orphan” technologies which the Xymid team can “adopt” and bring to market.

Ideally, Xymid will have 20 business development concepts under evaluation at any one time. They go through a rigorous process to determine whether they are reproducible, unique and can be commercialized.

Building a new culture

Xymid’s people and products have their heritage in DuPont, but the comparisons stop there. Much of how Xymid operates today is rooted in Spencer’s strong beliefs about what makes a business tick.

First off, there’s speed. “It’s not the big who eat the small,” he said, “but the fast who eat the slow. A customer can come to us with a problem on Monday and we can have a solution by Wednesday. That’s almost impossible in a large corporation.”

Another part of the Xymid culture is the belief that small is better than big — a major departure from the philosophy of major corporations, which have to hit home runs to please shareholders. For example, smaller businesses require smaller investments.

This lightweight jacket, made in part with a proprietary Xymid fabric, offers exercise enthusiasts a unique balance of breathability and water resistance.

The company’s philosophy is “make a little, sell a little, make a little more,” Spencer said. “The goal is to manage our exposure. We can’t afford $300 million investments in bricks and mortar, but we’ll back a $50,000 opportunity that makes sense.”

Then there’s a lack of bureaucracy. Face-to-face meetings give way to phone calls. Memos and broad-ranging purpose statements are anathema because generating them undermines the speed and focus on developing and growing businesses that provide Xymid’s competitive advantage.

“When we see people writing internal memos,” said Spencer, grinning, “we know we have a problem.”

The energy among the Xymid team is palpable. The opportunity to develop and build businesses and have a sense of ownership in them is a major motivator.

Each of the company’s six businesses is autonomous, with distinct teams working from well-defined business plans. The teams are solely responsible for the performance of their businesses and are compensated accordingly.

Untapped resource

Part of the secret to Xymid’s success is that Spencer has tapped in to what he sees as an enormous asset ... the incredible talent of people in the prime of their productive careers who have been “dumped on the street by corporate America for whatever reason or no longer feel that working for large corporations is what they want to do.”

They represent a growing cohort of skilled professionals in their mid-50s and beyond who believe they have much to contribute and are looking for an opportunity. At Xymid, they get their chance.

They might not always be willing to work 120 hours a week. Yet, Spencer has discovered that if they find themselves in businesses where they are having fun and building value for their customers, you can’t limit their hours.

Conversely, his troops will tell you that the personnel philosophy of the company is an important reason why life at Xymid is utopia.

Lee Miller, who joined Xymid after 36 years with DuPont, described the way things work at the company.

“Simply put, people are inspired,” he said. “There is an environment that is conducive to all of us working together to grow these businesses. The beauty of this for me is that it’s more fun than work. There’s no bureaucracy. We make instantaneous decisions that help us satisfy customers and gain market share.

“The recipe for success is combining good leadership with good people and good products that perform well for our customers.”

Looking to the future

So what does the future hold for Xymid LLC? Spencer said he has no long-term goals, because that leads to bad decisions.

“I see no reason,” he said, “that we can’t grow to $100 million in revenues, but my life isn’t dependent on that. I’m driven by taking advantage of opportunities for growth by doing business better and by giving good people a chance to build their businesses.

“What we really enjoy and really want to do is take potential business opportunities, bring them to market, and make some money for everyone in the process. So if there’s anyone out there with a new technology to develop, give us a shout. We can have some fun together,” he added with a smile.

Bill Spencer's Bedrock Business Philosophies

• Make a little, sell a little, make a little more

• It’s not the big that eat the small, it’s the fast that eat the slow

• Prepare for complex products by first selling simple ones

• We want to be tested by the free economy every chance we get

• Don’t say no. Say yes to something else

• No productive person ever has fun with too little to do

• Resist the temptation to increase spending just to become more significant

• Managing expectations is as important in product development as managing technology

• Get to market quickly as this is the only way to truly validate the product

• Our ultimate boss is the customer. Forget that and we will ultimately fail

Textile News Index


Genkinger, Hubtex combine operations

Jan. 3, 2005

Genkinger Maschinenbau and Hubtex Maschinenbau have combined German operations for producing material-handling equipment for textiles, palletized goods, walkie trucks and components for automated vehicles.

Additionally, Neuenhauser Maschinenbau is a co-partner in the combined company.

The new company in Germany, Genkinger-Hubtex GmbH, will be led by Harald Schlosser, managing director.

“The commitment of the well-known market leaders, Hubtex and Genkinger, has put us in a position to improve economic viability, generate growth and open new markets,” he said. “The integration of these two great companies will provide our customers with enhanced product offerings and a wide range of technical and sales support services.”

The combining of the German companies led to a consolidation of their North American distributors. Hubtex North America has joined forces and merged into Neuenhauser, Inc. of Greer, SC.

In making this announcement, Philip J. Riddle, president and CEO of Neuenhauser, Inc., said, “we are pleased to provide this consolidated offering of material-handling equipment, service and spare parts to the industry. Bringing the talents of the associates of Hubtex North America into Neuenhauser, Inc., our combined customers will have the benefits of a centralized provider of sales, service and spare parts for their material-handling requirements. Ken Carrick, Chuck Holmes and Markus Heinis will lead the daily sales and customer contact efforts.”

“The product range of Genkinger-Hubtex complement each other perfectly,” added Heinis, former president of Hubtex of North America and newly appointed president of Neuenhauser, Inc.’s Textile Division. “Genkinger-Hubtex has as its main focus textiles, palletized material and special goods up to two tons, as well as pedestrian-operated lift trucks and components for automatic vehicles.

Calvin McDowell and Tommy Loftin will continue to provide spare parts and service coordination for the combined Genkinger-Hubtex line of equipment.

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Defense contract

Jan. 3, 2005

Wellstone contracted to supply U.S. Army

GREENVILLE, SC — The Department of Defense has selected Wellstone Mills, LLC as the only textile company to be prime contractor supplying the new Army Combat Uniform, according to the company.

Wellstone is a longtime supplier of yarns used to weave the camouflage fabric utilized in the Army’s uniform, but this marks Wellstone’s first venture as a supplier of the uniforms themselves.

The contract, which calls for deliveries this year, is part of the Army’s ACU Supply Chain Demonstration Project.

“Wellstone is pleased to be a part of this important project to improve supply chain management in support of our troops,” said Josh Hamilton, president of Wellstone Mills. “We will be working closely with our sub-contractors, all of whom have experience with the previous uniform that this new ACU is replacing, to make this project a success.”

Wellstone Mills, which acquired the textile assets of TNS Mills in 2003, manufactures a broad range of cotton and blended spun yarns for the knitting and weaving trades.

The company, based here, operates six plants in South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama.

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Propex acquires unit of BP Fabrics and Fibers

Jan. 3, 2005

HOUSTON — Propex Fabrics Inc., a subsidiary of Propex Fabrics Holdings Inc. (formerly AFFC Holdings, Inc.), announced that it has finalized the acquisition of BP’s Amoco Fabrics and Fibers subsidiary and its associated assets.

The transaction was sponsored by an investor group comprised of The Sterling Group, L.P., Genstar Capital, L.P. and Laminar Direct Capital, L.P. As with other Sterling, Genstar and Laminar Direct Capital investments, management of the purchased company will also be participating significantly in the ownership of the newly independent organization.

The acquired business will operate under the name Propex Fabrics Inc. Financial details were not disclosed.

Based in Austell, GA, Propex Fabrics Inc. is a leading producer of synthetic fabrics. It is the world’s top producer of primary carpet backing and secondary carpet backing and also is a leading producer of synthetic fabrics for use in furniture, bedding, automotive, geotextile, and other industrial fabrics applications.

The company operates manufacturing facilities in five locations in the southern U.S. and internationally in Mexico, Germany, Hungary and Brazil.

“The completion of this transaction marks a significant achievement in the history of the business,” said Bradford Mortimer, president and CEO of Propex. “We look forward to a future with new and exciting opportunities as an independent company and believe Sterling, Genstar and Laminar Direct Capital will be excellent partners in pursuing those opportunities. As always, our primary focus will be on serving the needs of our customers, and we will continue to look for ways to better serve their needs in the future.”

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Lectra to buy maker of cutting systems

Jan. 3, 2005

PARIS — Lectra announced on Dec. 22 the acquisition of Humantec Industriesysteme GmbH of Huisheim, Germany, by Lectra.

Founded in 1993 by Peter Felber, the company’s president since that date and majority shareholder, Humantec has developed technology in leather cutting systems. The company is focused in three major market segments: automotive seating & interiors, furniture & furnishings and industrial textiles.

Humantec’s Lasernest was the world’s first automatic leather cutting system for full leather hides when it was introduced in 1994. Today, Humantec’s Autonest responds to increasing pressure for automation in the industry by offering high throughput, combined with easy systems operation, according to the company.

Humantec is a significant player in its markets — ranked, along with Lectra, among the top three companies for leather cutting — with strong positions in North America and Europe, and has recently expanded into Asia.

Humantec has a total staff of 70 employees, with 55 in Germany, six in Slovakia and seven in the United States.

During its 11-year history, Humantec has sold more than 200 cutting systems, including more than 170 leather cutting systems. Forty percent of these systems have been sold to the automotive market, and 35 percent to furniture & furnishings companies.

Humantec has developed a solid customer base, which includes many industry leaders, in automotive seating & interiors, in the aerospace industry and in furniture & furnishings.

The Humantec shareholders and Lectra have entered into a binding letter of intent. The definitive agreements and closing of the transaction are expected to occur within the 60 days.

The transaction includes the acquisition of 100 percent of Humantec Industriesysteme GmbH and its U.S.-based sister company, Humantec Systems, Inc.

Lectra develops software and hardware dedicated to industrial users of textiles, leather and other soft materials. The company has a staff of 1,500 worldwide, serving 17,000 customers in more than 100 countries.

Lectra is present across a broad array of major markets, including fashion and apparel; luggage & leather goods; footwear; furniture & furnishings; and the automotive, aerospace and marine industries.

“Thanks to Humantec’s leather cutting technology, specifically developed for car seating, Lectra will now offer its automotive customers the most advanced product range,” said Daniel Harari, Lectra CEO.

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Fabric producer

Fabian selects Milliken fabrics

Jan. 3, 2005

SPARTANBURG, SC — Milliken & Company announced that Fabian Couture Group International, a leader within the formal wear industry in the U.S. and Canada, has chosen Milliken’s StainSmart® fabrics for its polyester tuxedo line, First Nighter Formal Wear Collection.

This specific tuxedo line is designed for school and formal band and choir uniforms, due to its easy-care and superior stain repel-and-release capabilities.

StainSmart is a major breakthrough for the school uniform market because it provides the option of machine washing the uniforms rather than dry cleaning, which tends to be expensive.

Independent testing verifies that StainSmart currently outperforms other stain-protection methods available today, according to Milliken & Co.

“In a head-to-head comparison of stain repellent products in the apparel market, Clothes Care Research Center (CCRC), an alliance of leading manufacturers and research laboratories, dedicated to improving home clothing care, found that StainSmart outperformed leading repellent technologies for water and oil repellence,” said Dr. Elizabeth P. Easter, board member of CCRC and director of the University of Kentucky’s Textile Testing Laboratory. “StainSmart also delivered unsurpassed soil release performance on tough stains.”

Textile News Index


Jan. 3, 2005

AATCC now accepting nominations for awards

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC — The American Association of Textile Chemists & Colorists (AATCC) is accepting nominations for its three annual awards.

The Olney Medal is awarded for achievement in textile chemistry. This award signifies outstanding achievement in textile chemistry, or in polymer or other fields of chemistry of major importance to textile science, including the development of chemical agents or chemical processes used in the manufacture of textiles, or methods for their evaluation.

The Olney Medal is given to encourage and afford public recognition of such achievements and contributions. It is AATCC’s highest scientific award.

Nominees’ qualifications are evaluated by the committee without regard to the number of nominations for a particular candidate. The candidate must be an American citizen, but not necessarily a member of the AATCC. Nomination is by a senior member of AATCC.

The Harold C. Chapin Award is presented each year to a senior member with at least 20 years continuous membership in AATCC who has contributed outstanding service in enabling the association to attain the objects for which it was founded.

• education: to promote increase of knowledge of the application of dyes and chemicals in the textile industry;

• research: to encourage in any practical way research work on chemical processes and materials of importance to the textile industry; and

• communication: to establish for the members channels by which the interchange of professional knowledge among them may be increased.

Nomination is by a senior member of AATCC.

The Henry E. Millson Award for Invention is given for an invention that is recognizable as an innovation, and will be judged solely on its merits and its impact on the U. S. textile, fiber, polymer and medical industries. It is not necessary that the invention be patented.

The award is not limited to citizens of the United States or to members of AATCC. The award can be given to more than one individual. The award can be given posthumously.

Recipients of all three awards will be selected in May, and awards will be presented at the AATCC International Conference & Exhibition, to Oct. 25-27 in Boston.

Deadline for receipt of nominations is April 1, 2005. Nominations should be sent to John Y. Daniels, secretary, at AATCC, P.O. Box 12215, Research Triangle Park, N.C. 27709-2215; by fax at 919-549-8933; or by e-mail at danielsj@aatcc.org.

DyStar wins SDC innovation award

The British Society of Dyers and Colourists (SDC) has presented DyStar with the SDC Innovation in Colour Award 2004 for the development of the electrochemical dyeing process.

This accolade recognizes the environmental benefits and controlled coloration from this new dyeing method.

DyStar is developing the electrochemical dyeing process in collaboration with the University of Innsbruck’s Institute for Textile Chemistry and Textile Physics in Dornbirn, Austria, and machinery manufacturer Thies of Coesfeld, Germany.

The new technology is suitable for Indanthren vat dyes, Indigo and Cassulfon sulpher dyes. While conventional dyeing methods use non-regenerative reducing agents, electrochemical dyeing is based on an electric current and a regenerative Fe2+/Fe3+ redox system (mediator).
Dyeing is controlled by monitoring the redox potential of the dye liquor. This method therefore minimizes the use of reducing agents.

Alongside the patent for electrochemical dyeing, DyStar holds basic patents for electrochemical bleaching and decolorization of textile effluent.

Fake Lacoste goods seized in Puerto Rico

NEW YORK — Lacoste USA today Dec. 28 the seizure of counterfeit Lacoste dress shirts, knit polo shirts, sweat suits, hats, jeans and other counterfeit Lacoste fashion items valued at more than $170,000 in raids it conducted at 21 locations across Puerto Rico.

The counterfeit merchandise was seized from flea markets, Internet retailers, wholesalers, street vendors and storefront establishments in San Juan, Ponce, Aguadilla, San German, Mayaguez and other cities. The crackdown was conducted with the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Service in Puerto Rico.

“We’re sending a strong message to counterfeiters in the U.S. and its territories,” said Robert Siegel, chairman and CEO of Lacoste USA. “We intend to aggressively police our brand and protect it from unauthorized copiers who harm both the legitimate merchant and the consumer. We will work with the authorities to seek out and prosecute trademark violators wherever they operate.

“Without a doubt, the high quality and workmanship embodied in genuine Lacoste product is not duplicated in the counterfeit apparel,” Mr. Siegel added.

Synalloy enters deal to sell its dye business

SPARTANBURG, SC — Synalloy Corporation, a producer of specialty chemicals, dyes and pigments, stainless steel pipe, vessels and process equipment, announced Dec. 28 that it has entered into an agreement with Greenville Colorants, LLC to sell certain of the assets associated with its Blackman Uhler LLC dye business.

The transaction, which is scheduled to close by the end of this month, involves the sale of the dye business inventory, certain manufacturing equipment and certain intangibles used in connection with the business.

The purchase price is $4.95 million, with $4.1 million being payable in cash on closing and the balance of $850,000 being payable over time based on the operations of the purchaser.

With certain limited exceptions, Synalloy and its affiliates agree not to compete with the purchaser in the manufacture and sale of dyestuffs. Synalloy will toll product for the purchaser for limited periods following the closing.

The dyestuff business being sold accounts for about $22 million in sales in 2004 and was not profitable.

Honeywell Nylon LLC to increase prices

CHARLOTTE, NC — Honeywell announced a price increase of up to 8 percent over the current price of all staple, filament and fiber-grade resins for residential and commercial carpet fiber applications from Honeywell Nylon LLC, effective Jan. 17.

The company re-evaluated its pricing on all carpet fiber products because of the continued high costs of raw materials and increased energy and transportation costs.

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Educational institute

Jan. 3, 2005

ITT to hold Alumni Event

RALEIGH, NC — The Institute of Textile Technology (ITT) has scheduled an Alumni Event for January 29 at the Marriott Charlotte City Center in Charlotte.

Since 1949, ITT has graduated more than 50 leaders in the U.S. textile industry.

Classmates and other ITT graduates are invited to attend and reminisce about their days in Charlottesville, VA, as the institute begins at new era at North Carolina State University here.

Cost is $50 per person and will include an Alumni Associaq{on meeting, a reception, dinner and dancing.

The Marriott has reserved a block of rooms at a group rate of $79 for single or double occupancy.

Hotel reservations may be directly with the Marriott by January 7 by calling 1-800-228-9290 or 704-333-9000. Please refer to the ITT Alumni Association Event to qualify for the discount.

For more information or to register for the event, contact Patrice Hill, administrative manager, by e-mail at patriceh@itt.edu or by phone at 919-513-7583.

Textile News Index

Apparel maker

Jan. 3, 2005

VF names veep, appoints several in Outdoor group

GREENSBORO, NC — VF Corporation has named Frank Terkelsen, 40, as vice president of Mergers & Acquisitions, a new position.

He will report to Bob Shearer, vice president of Finance & Global Processes and chief financial officer.

Terkelsen has also been named a member of VF’s Operating Committee. His responsibilities will include the identification of acquisition opportunities, deal negotiation and new business integration.

Terkelsen brings to VF over a decade of experience in mergers, acquisitions and business development. Most recently he was manager of Business Development — GE Transportation, a unit of General Electric Company, where he spearheaded a variety of growth initiatives, joint ventures and dispositions.

From 1998 to 2003 he held several positions at General Electric related to acquisitions and business planning, including that of staff executive, Corporate Business Development.

From 1995 to 1998 Terkelsen worked at CBC Companies as manager of Business Development, where he was responsible for inorganic growth. Prior to joining CBC Companies, he began his business career in 1986 with Fortune Brands, where he held a variety of positions in treasury and corporate development.

Separately, the company announced several appointments within its rapidly growing Outdoor coalition. VF’s Outdoor coalition includes The North Face, Vans, JanSport, Eastpak, Kipling and Napapijri brands.

Mike Corvino, 44, has been promoted to president of JanSport. Corvino most recently served as vice president, sales and merchandising for VF Imagewear, where he was responsible for sales and merchandising activities for all of Imagewear’s Nashville, Tennessee-based businesses.

Prior to this role, he held the position of vice president/general manager, VF Solutions, also based in Nashville.

Reporting to Mike Egeck, president of VF Outdoor-Americas, Corvino will be based in San Leandro, CA, which will become the new headquarters for the JanSport business in 2005.

Todd Yates, 40, has assumed responsibility of vice president of Research, Design & Development and Marketing for JanSport, reporting to Corvino. Most recently, Yates was vice president, Marketing and Business Development for The North Face.

Paula Kosmatka, 50, has been promoted to design director, JanSport Apparel and Equipment, reporting to Yates. Her most recent role was as merchandising and design directors for The North Face New Business Development.

The company also announced the following new roles in its Vans division:

Bill Bettencourt, 41, has been appointed vice president, Footwear and Equipment. For the past six years he has been the co-owner and president of Arena North America, the exclusive distributor for Arena swimwear in the U.S.

Prior to joining Arena he spent nine years with Reebok International, serving in several executive footwear and marketing positions in Asia and the U.S., most recently as vice president, Global Marketing and including start-ups in both Taiwan and China. He will report to Steve Murray, president of Vans.

Terri Miller, 48, has been promoted to vice president, Apparel. For the past year she has served as senior director of Vans Retail Merchandise and Planning. She will also report to Murray.

Michael Schulam, 38, has been promoted to category director, Snow and Outerwear Apparel, Vans, reporting to Miller. Most recently he served in a transition role as product director for the Napapijri acquisition. Prior to this he was product director for The North Face sportswear division.

Deborah Dyson, 39, joins Vans’ apparel division as director of Development and Quality Assurance after spending more than two years with VF’s Imagewear division.

VF also announced that Mike Boyle, 44, has joined VF Outdoor as vice president/general manager Napapijri Americas. Over the last 20 years Boyle has served in a number of key sales and merchandising roles at Merona Sports, Boston Traders, The Timberland Company and Columbia Sportswear. Most recently he served as vice president of Sales for the U.S. launch of Victorinox/Swiss Army Apparel. He will report to Mike Egeck.

Textile News Index

Textile maker

Jan. 3, 2005

Dan River files Plan Supplement

DANVILLE, VA — Dan River, Inc. said that on December 21 it filed the Plan Supplement to its Third Amended and Restated Plan of Reorganization.

Filing of the supplement is another step required in order for Dan River to emerge from bankruptcy, which the company said it expects to occur this month.

The Plan Supplement addresses various organizational matters, including the expected identity of the senior management of the company following its emergence from bankruptcy.

The executive officers of reorganized Dan River are expected to be Barry F. Shea, president and chief executive officer; Daniel A. Hammer, executive vice president, Home Fashions Sales and Marketing; Greg R. Boozer, executive vice president of Manufacturing; Scott D. Batson, senior vice president and chief financial officer; and Harry L. Goodrich, vice president, secretary and general counsel.

James E. Martin is also expected to continue after emergence in his present capacity as president of Apparel Fabrics.

And Joseph L. Lanier Jr., currently chairman of the board and chief executive officer, is expected to continue as non-executive chairman of the board, and Shea is expected to be appointed a director.

“As today’s announcement indicates, we have passed another milestone on the way toward a January emergence from bankruptcy,” Lanier said. “Upon emergence Dan River will be well positioned both organizationally and structurally to meet the challenges of global textile competition. I look forward to a continued but less active association with the company as it successfully meets these challenges.”

Added Shea: “We have the goal line in sight. With the significant distraction of bankruptcy behind us, we will be able to focus with renewed intensity on our No. 1 priority — the needs of our home fashions and apparel fabrics customers. Daniel Hammer and Jim Martin, and their respective sales organizations, will be contacting their customers over the coming weeks to explore in more detail how a reorganized Dan River can provide them with compelling, value-added products.”

As previously announced, a hearing to confirm the company’s Plan of Reorganization is scheduled for Jan. 4.

Textile News Index

109th Congress

Jan. 3, 2005

NCC applauds Chambliss, new Ag. Committee head

MEMPHIS — The National Cotton Council of America (NCC) expressed its congratulations to Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) on being named by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) to chair the Agriculture Committee in the 109th Congress, which convenes this month.

Senator Chambliss succeeds Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS), who chaired the committee for the last two years.

“Senator Chambliss is uniquely qualified to lead the committee during a period that will include historical trade negotiations and preparations for new farm law,” said NCC Chairman Woody Anderson. “He has a depth of knowledge about production agriculture, conservation, nutrition and research programs through his work on the 1996 and 2002 farm bills.”

Anderson said that in 2002 during development of the farm bill, Sen. Chambliss chaired a key House subcommittee with responsibility for general farm commodities, and he has represented a Congressional district and state that produces a wide variety of crops, livestock and poultry.

Sen. Chambliss served as a member of the House Agriculture Committee throughout his eight-year term as the representative from Georgia’s 8th Congressional district and has served on the Senate Agriculture Committee since his election to the Senate two years ago.

As chairman of the Senate Committee, Senator Chambliss will be responsible for conducting confirmation hearings for Nebraska Gov. Mike Johanns, nominated to be Secretary of Agriculture.

He also will become committee chairman in time to begin the process of preparing new farm legislation to replace the 2003 bill, which expires with the 2007 crop.

Incoming National Cotton Council Chairman Woods Eastland of Greenwood, MS, said agriculture is fortunate to have someone with Sen. Chambliss’ wealth of knowledge, experience and respect of the agricultural community to take charge of the committee following the successful term of Senator Cochran. Senator Cochran will become chairman of the Appropriations Committee.

Bob McLendon, a Leary, GA, producer and a past NCC chairman, said agriculture is most fortunate to have Sen. Chambliss accept the responsibility to lead agriculture through the challenges of: 1) providing guidance to U.S. negotiators working in the WTO agricultural negotiations; 2) guiding agriculture through the budget process; and 3) laying the foundation for farm legislation to go into effect at the expiration of the current law.

“Senator Chambliss has been extraordinarily responsive to the concerns of production agriculture,” McLendon said. “We look forward to working with him and our colleagues in the commodity, specialty crop, livestock, conservation and nutrition communities as he helps us meet the challenge of providing the world’s safest, most abundant and most affordable supply of food and fiber.”

Textile News Index

ASTM International

Jan. 3, 2005

Nanotechnology standards on docket

W. CONSHOHOCKEN, PA — On Jan. 18, 2005, ASTM International will hold an organizational meeting to discuss the development of consensus standards for nanotechnology.

The meeting will take place at ASTM International’s headquarters here.

At a planning meeting held on Oct. 1, key representatives from the many stakeholders affected by the nanotech space, including the government (NIST, U.S. FDA), academic (CBEN/Rice University), legal and industrial sectors unanimously agreed to hold an organizational meeting for the development of this new activity within ASTM International.

Various disciplines, including consumers, manufacturers, suppliers, trade and professional societies and federal agencies are being invited to participate.

Attendees at the planning meeting recognized that while research into properties, synthesis and applications of nanostructures is growing at an exponential rate, there does not presently exist a common language to describe the chemical compositions and physical forms of these new materials.

This absence hampers technical communication within the myriad fields involved in this space, and prevents outreach to the public at large as products containing nano- materials enter the marketplace.

ASTM International said it is ready to accommodate this new standardization initiative. Stakeholder involvement at this meeting is critical to guide the direction for this new activity.

The time is now for participation in a neutral forum whereby the private and public sectors can work together to develop a consensus standards program, according to ASTM International.

ASTM International provides a management system for the development of standards and related information for materials, products, systems and services used globally. All segments of an industry (producers, users, consumers, government and academia) participate in the development of this information to ensure that all technical points of view are represented.

For more information, contact Pat A. Picariello, director of Developmental Operations, ASTM International by phone at (610) 832-9720 or by e-mail at ppicarie@astm.org.

Textile News Index

Conference & Exhibition

Jan. 3, 2005

AF&S hails co-location

MINNEAPOLIS — The American Filtration & Separations Society has focused its new strategy to educate specifiers, buyers and users of filters and filtration and separation equipment during the 2005 AFS Annual Conference & Exposition April 10-13th in Atlanta.

In support of this endeavor, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) will be co-locating their 2005 Annual Spring Exposition with the AFS.

The combined exposition is expected to draw filter buyers and users from both AIChE and the AFS membership and from the process industry. To maximize the opportunity for plant engineers, the AFS has created Plant Floor sm by setting aside a major portion of the exposition floor for manufacturers to demonstrate filtration products in continuous operating mode.

Individuals interested in visiting the Plant Floor to view functional filters and equipment or to attend the AFS Conference can obtain more information at www.afssociety.org.

Filter and equipment manufacturers interested in exhibitor information should contact Steve Rose at 262-547-4900, ext. 11.

Textile News Index


Jan. 3, 2005

Trützschler helped mold machinery supplier

Hans Trützschler, for many years managing partner of the Trützschler company, died on Dec. 19. He was 77.

Hans Trützschler

Trützschler was heart and soul a businessman, according to business associates. Together with his cousin, Hermann Trützschler, he re-established the Trützschler company in Mönchengladbach after the war in 1948. In the following years the organization developed under his leadership into a group of companies that were active internationally in the textile machinery construction sector.

With exceptional energy and passionate commitment, Trützschler played a large part in the successful molding and shaping of the business.

He also used his creative powers to further the advance of the company both at home and abroad, colleagues said. Through his confident approach he pushed forward the development and implementation of the corporate policy of its group of companies, they added.

He was also heavily involved outside his own enterprise, e.g. in the Chamber of Industry and Commerce and in the VDMA (German Engineering Federation).

However, his major concern remained his employees. He consistently devoted his attention to their concerns with a deep sense of responsibility, according to company officials.

Hans Trützschler had great charisma, his fellow employees added. He was a dynamic and committed person whose warm humanity was valued by all business partners and employees, they noted.

The partners, executive board and work force of the Trützschler company are grateful for the contributions of Trützschler and will continue to guide the company along the path he set, they said.

Textile News Index

Horne wrote important cotton study

MEMPHIS — Economist Dr. McDonald K. “Mac” Horne Jr. of Memphis, whose studies led the U.S. cotton industry to work for both competitive cotton prices and stepped-up, grower-financed cotton research and promotion, died December 14. He was 95.

Horne, who retired from the Memphis-based National Cotton Council in 1973, wrote “Price and Future of U.S. Cotton,” a study widely distributed in 1957 to the U.S. cotton industry’s seven interests — from growers to textile manufacturers.

“As a result of Dr. Horne’s study, the National Cotton Council, which represents those industry sectors, was able to agree on price policy and convince the Congress to change federal cotton programs so that U.S. cotton could compete in world markets,” said Gaylon Booker, a consultant to the National Cotton Council who worked with Horne as an economist.

He said follow-up studies in 1963 and 1971 reinforced Horne’s earlier work — and an indirect result was the eventual formation of the grower-financed Cotton Incorporated.

One of the first staffers of the Council after it was formed in 1938, Horne was a native Mississippian. He held degrees from the University of Mississippi and the University of North Carolina.

Following World War II, in which Horne served in Naval Intelligence, he worked on the House Agriculture Committee staff. He later headed up the University of Mississippi’s Economics Department before returning to the Council in 1950. Horne’s professional studies were given to Texas Christian University under the care of Dr. Clayton Brown, chairman of TCU’s history department, who is nearing completion of a history of the U.S. cotton industry and the Council’s role in the industry.

Horne, the widower of Elizabeth Cobb Horne, leaves two sons, Dr. McDonald Horne III of Alexandria, VA; and Robert Horne of Dallas, TX.

Textile News Index


January 3, 2005

The rooster has crowed ...

AH, A NEW YEAR. Is it safe to come out yet?

The calendar has rolled over and — guess what? — the watershed year of 2005 is here. For years, we felt its presence lurking in the background, like an impalpable, 800-pound gorilla. We heard its footsteps grow louder, almost muffling time’s perpetual march. We saw its outline begin to materialize over the horizon, casting ominous shadows in our midst.

All foretelling a new world order.

And now, it’s here — the iceberg, only the tip of which we had felt, heard and seen.

Quotaless Day has dawned. Cock-a-doodle-do!

So croweth China, which this year happens to be celebrating, appropriately, the Year of the Rooster. So croweth the retail/importing community, which worked itself into a lather over the prospect of an unlimited pipeline from the Far East. So croweth American consumers, who have used their wallets to blindly endorse the notion put forth by wily merchants and their bought-and-paid-for politicians that cheaper is better.

Yes, the end of global textile and apparel quotas has come. Does the world feel “different” to you now?

IT SURE SEEMS different, although the changing of the rules was subtle. At midnight on January 1, China-made goods didn’t suddenly wash up on our shores. The doors of U.S. textile manufacturing companies didn’t abruptly lock in synchronization. America didn’t lose its lone superpower status overnight.

Change sometimes happens too slowly to be noticeable. It’s like the oft-cited boiling-frog theory, which states that a frog will make no attempt to jump from a pot of water being gradually heated up because it doesn’t sense danger, and will eventually succumb to the high temperature.

In that sense, the water around U.S. textile manufacturers has been heating up for years. Some have recognized the sweat beginning to ooze and have shed layers (i.e. operations, employees, etc.) to stay afloat. Others have taken a leap of faith into other pots (i.e. niches, markets, etc.). Still, others have treaded water, as is custom, in hopes that someone will turn off the knob.

But the fact is, many of you are still in the pot — and the water is starting to bubble. While many new competitors of foreign tongue now play gleefully in the lily pond outside, it’s your chance to either cook or be cooked.

IN RECENT YEARS, you have made many strides in adapting to the new global trading field. You’ve made up your mind that you will be among the survivors, doing the things necessary to ensure your viability. Now, as the new year signals the midpoint of this decade and this “new world order,” perhaps you should take time to assess your circumstances and resolve to:

• stay positive — continue to believe that you will be a longtime player in the marketplace.

• be enthusiastic — and encourage enthusiasm and optimism among your employees;

• initiate dialogue with the entire supply chain in order to find out how, as a unit, you can make yourself more attractive to buyers;

• communicate with your customers (i.e. retailers) to learn more about their expectations;

• focus on meeting those expectations, through whatever means necessary (innovation, quality, styling, quick-turn responsiveness, differentiation, et al);

• continue to stress the value of American-made goods to your neighbors, friends, politicians, etc., so that perhaps one day the tide will turn and consumers will demand at least having the choice of U.S. products among their buying options;

• continue to think in new ways and to look for new opportunities — if you kiss enough frogs, you’re bound to find your Prince Charming.

So come on out and welcome the new year, warts and all.

Textile News Index