Chuck Hayes

Week of July 29, 2002

Industry leader Hayes remembered

One of Chuck Hayes’ last public appearances came in March, when he served as a panelist during the Multi-State Governors’ Textile Summit in Dallas, NC. Here, he talks with audience members after making an impassioned plea for government support of the U.S. textile industry.
Photo by Devin Steele

By Devin Steele

Charles A. “Chuck” Hayes, Guilford Mills chairman and champion of textile industry, civic and charitable causes, was laid to rest Friday in Greensboro, NC.

Hayes, 68, died July 21 of an apparent heart attack while vacationing at Myrtle Beach, SC.

Many of his industry colleagues and friends spent last week mourning his loss and remembering a man whose stature in his industry and community was near legendary.

Despite being a high school dropout, Hayes was able to reach the pinnacle of his company and become one of the industry’s most vocal leaders — literally. His resounding voice, often peppered with salty language, commanded attention, as did his barrel-chested, 6-foot-4-inch frame and snow-white hair.

He also was well known for his philanthropic efforts, particularly related to educational and rehabilitative causes.

Hayes recently completed a term as president of the industry’s national trade association, the American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI), and was turning his attention toward retirement.

Hayes was one of the industry’s most outspoken advocates, lobbying state and federal governments for protection and growth of the industry in a rapidly changing economy. He was one of the industry’s strongest proponents of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

He spent more than 40 years at Guilford Mills, which he built into a $1 billion-a-year company before it fell on hard times in recent years. After being forced into layoffs numbering the thousands, the fabric-knitting operation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March.

He served as the company’s CEO from 1971 until 1999 and was chairman of the board for 26 years before his death.

His personal struggles with alcohol and drugs and his roving eye for women, all of which he discussed openly, only added to his lore.

The word “passion” most often comes up when asked to describe Hayes.

One of Chuck Hayes’ last public appearances came in March, when he served as a panelist during the Multi-State Governors’ Textile Summit in Dallas, NC. Here, he talks with audience members after making an impassioned plea for government support of the U.S. textile industry.
Photo by Devin Steele

“He was the most passionate man I ever met,” said Doug Galyon, who many called Hayes’s right-hand man for more than a quarter of a century.

Galyon, who retired from Guilford as director of public affairs and remains as a consultant to the company, said Hayes did everything full-bore.

“Regardless of what the issue was, if he accepted that challenge, he threw himself into it completely,” Galyon said. “I saw him do it with Guilford, with the Duke Cancer Center, with the Pavillon International, with everything.”

Battle cry: Unity

A native New Yorker, Hayes joined Guilford in 1961, running the company’s dyeing and finishing operation, and rose through the management ranks of the company.

“Everyone at Guilford Mills is immensely grateful for Chuck’s dedication and devotion to the company and its associates,” said John Emrich, president and chief executive officer. “He not only championed Guilford Mills, but the entire textile industry and numerous non-profit and community organizations.

“His contributions will not be forgotten and we will keep his family in our prayers.”

An industry veteran of 50-plus years, Hayes devoted much of his time to ATMI’s causes, particularly during his term as president in 2001-02.

“Chuck’s service as ATMI’s president was marked by his unceasing efforts to raise our industry’s profile in order to help better position us to achieve our goals,” said ATMI Chairman Van May, CEO of Plains Cotton Cooperative Association, Lubbock, TX. “Those of you who heard Chuck’s speeches or saw him at industry meetings with his fiancée, Deloris Gallagher, at his side, know that his enthusiasm and support for ATMI were unparalleled. How can we ever forget his theme of ‘Unity, Unity, Unity’?”

May was referring to ATMI’s 2001 annual meeting, when the newly elected Hayes made a forceful appeal for unity among various factions in the industry, particularly related to legislative causes. Carlos Moore, executive vice president of ATMI, once called Hayes the “godfather” of the American Textile Alliance (ATA), a coalition of textile and related groups that get together to seek common ground.

“Chuck was unswerving in his commitment to this industry, and the leadership he showed and the steadfast faith he had in American textile manufacturing and in ATMI will be missed,” May said. “Having worked closely with Chuck over the past few years as an ATMI officer was a great experience for me, personally, and I will miss him greatly.”

Hayes’ journey didn’t come without regrets, including his lack of a high school diploma. He also had married three times and had alienated his children. So, approaching 60, he returned to school and earned his GED and tried to make amends with his family.

In a speech he made to his graduating class of the high school equivalency program at Guilford Technical Community College, Hayes, according to The News & Record of Greensboro, said “Today I can now actually reflect on the agony, shame and pain my three divorces caused my children and my degradation as a role model in their eyes. During this time, I seemingly had all that men strive for: money, all the toys it could buy, a sense of power, plus an ego inflated by a false realization of what constitutes real values — family and friends.”

Monte Plott, a textile trade press veteran who now serves as editor of Business To Business magazine in Atlanta, called Hayes a rare individual who makes a lasting first impression.

“The profanity, the up-by-his-bootstraps career, the larger-than-life path that he cut in Greensboro, Guilford Mills and the textile industry were all, I think, the embodiment of Chuck Hayes’s passion for whatever he focused on — his pleasures, his city, his company, his industry. Above all, Chuck Hayes was a man passionate about not merely existing and working, but about truly being and devouring life for all it was worth, the good and the bad.”

Hayes also was past president of the North Carolina Textile Manufacturers Association and Southwest Farms & Ranch; director of the North Carolina Textile Foundation and U.S. Trust Company of NC.

He was formerly past chairman of the Board of Trustees at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a member of the Board of Overseers for Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center, former director of the Guilford Technical Community College Foundation, former Director of the North Carolina Textile Foundation, National 4-H Council-Resource Board and former member of the Board of Trustees, former chairman of the board of Pavillon International Foundation.

He was honorary chairman of the Greater Greensboro Open Golf Tournament, Distinguished Citizen of the Year, National 4-H Council Gold Clover Award. A chair at University of North Carolina at Greensboro School of Business is named in his honor. He received the Distinguished Service Award in 1992 from UNC-G and the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Citizen award in 1995. He was named Textile Man of the Year in 1998 by Textile World magazine, has an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from UNC-G 1998, and was named Literacy Lion of the Year in 1999 by Reading Connections.

Survivors

Funeral services took place Friday at Christ United Methodist Church with Rev. Stephen Haines officiating.

Hayes is survived by his children, Deborah M. Holbrook and her husband, Gary of McLeansville, NC; Kimberly S. Hayes, David C. Hayes and his wife, Aleta of Greensboro; Matthew T. Hayes and his wife, Mary of Jamestown, NC; father, Albert Hayes of Johnstown, N.Y.; mother of his children, Ina M. Hayes; sisters, Colleen Daniel and her husband, James of Richmond, VA, Patricia Weaver and her husband, Robert, Jean Dalton and her husband, Mike of Myrtle Beach, SC, Elaine Hayes Scutt of Canjoharie, NY, Barbara Hayes of Greensboro; brothers, Gary Hayes and his wife, Nancy of Greensboro, Albert James Hayes of Johnstown, NY; fiancée Deloris Gallagher; 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

He was preceded in death by his daughter, Rebecca Wagoner Hayes; mother, Mae Putman Hayes; and half brother, Russell Hayes.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Guilford College United Methodist Church, 1205 Fleming Road, Greensboro, NC, 27410; Duke Cancer Center, DUMC 3828, Durham, NC 27710; or Pavillon International, P.O. Box 189, Millspring, NC 28756.

Chuck Hayes

Week of July 29, 2002

One of Hayes’s best attributes: Passion

Chuck Hayes and his fiancee, Deloris Gallagher, shared a laugh on the porch of his Greensboro, NC, home in February 2001. He called her ‘the best person who ever came into my life.’
Photos by Devin Steele

Editor’s note: This article, a profile of Charles A. “Chuck” Hayes, was published on March 19, 2001, prior to the Guilford chairman’s being elected president of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute.

By Devin Steele

GREENSBORO, NC — Chuck Hayes believes in goose bumps.

And, perhaps, that’s just what the textile industry needs right now — someone who can get caught up in the moment and be moved to tears when stirred by sentimentality.

Someone who brings fire and passion and exuberance and candor and humility and persuasiveness to a position of authority — particularly during “the most difficult times I’ve ever experienced” during a 50-year career in the industry, Hayes said.

“I have goose bumps right now because I believe in goose bumps very much,” said Hayes, discussing the state of the industry during a recent interview in his country club home here.

Hayes, Guilford Mills chairman who is expected to be voted in as president of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI) this week, displayed all of the aforementioned attributes during the two-hour sit-down.

On several occasions, he pounded his fist on the desk to emphasize points.

He cussed up a storm, probably by habit and for effect more than anything else.

He belly-laughed, when the mood hit.

And, he broke down in tears three times — just as he had last summer when he had to tell 400 of his employees they were no longer employed by the company, the result of business conditions.

Add to those descriptions these: blunt, boisterous and brusque.

“I would agree with that,” said Hayes, 66, when asked to comment on those characteristics. “But I would also say that if there is one thing about me that’s definitely true, it’s this: My handshake is my word. My father taught me years ago that a contract means nothing and a handshake means everything. I live and die by that handshake. All those other adjectives enforce the words my father left me with.”

No, Chuck Hayes, chairman of Guilford Mills, isn’t your typical business executive or your typical person. But that’s Chuck Hayes, love him or leave him — as three wives have. The rotund man with a shock of white hair even calls himself a “6-foot-4, 300-pound son of a b——.”

Here’s a man who has lived life to the fullest, with a string of regrets along the trail. Yet, he has lived long enough to understand his mistakes and try to amend them.

The fun-loving Hayes clowned around with children’s sunglasses during the 1999 ATMI meeting in California.

Besides his wives, he lost his children and grandchildren and found himself in a state of misery. Then, he sought help — and found it in an alcohol and drug treatment center, where he pulled himself “out of the ashes of ruination,” he said.

He called his transformation a “miracle.”

From rags to riches

Hayes was one of seven children raised on a dairy farm in Johnstown, NY. The house didn’t have indoor plumbing, running water or a well. He remembers getting up to milk the cows at 4 in the morning and fetching drinking water from a nearby creek, even during the bitter Upstate New York winters.

When his mother, Mae Hayes, died in 1948, the children were separated and sent to be raised by other family members. As the oldest and strongest, the 14-year-old Hayes stayed on the farm with his father, Albert Hayes.

In high school, he became a promising basketball player with a chance at a college scholarship. But he fell in love with the captain of the cheerleading squad and got her pregnant. They married and Hayes, at 16, quit school in 1951.

He lied about his age to take a job loading trucks for 80 cents an hour at Lee Dyeing Company. The owner, Dick Evans, saw something he liked in the kid, so he promoted him to quality control manager and taught him the textile business.

After moving up in the ranks, Hayes was sent to Greensboro, NC, to collect a big debt from Guilford Mills — and also returned home with a job offer. James Hornaday in 15 years had built Guilford into a $3 million a year operation, but the company was struggling. Struck by Hayes’ aggressiveness and business savvy, he asked him to help turn around the fabric maker.

His father told him he could always return to the farm, if things didn’t work out down South. “I told him, ‘Daddy, I ain’t ever coming back to this damn farm,’ “ he remembered. “I hated it.”

So Hayes, 22, loaded his wife and four kids into their 1948 Plymouth Coupe and moved. He had big plans.

“I had a dream about how to knit flannel out of acetate nylon for children’s wear,” Hayes recalled. “It was a lot cheaper to make. I came down here and we started to make that product.”

The product, which now sells at 82 cents a yard, sold at $1.26 a yard 40 years ago, Hayes said. “You can imagine the money we made,” he said.

“It was the greatest product that we ever made in the United States,” he added. “Back then, we were just hauling in money. And we paid off every single debt we had and were able to build all the buildings that we built and everything else that went with it. And that was really the beginning. He gave me an opportunity to use my brain.”

Hayes became president of the company in 1968. In 1976, he was named chairman and CEO. He remained CEO until last year, when John Emrich moved into that position.

Building the company

Hayes built Guilford Mills from a company that had $3 million in annual sales and 60 employees to a near $900 million, 6,000-employee operation at its peak in 1997. The fabric producer is the largest warp knitter in the world.

The company was built around a family atmosphere, Hayes said.

“We had mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters who would come to work for us,” he said. “And every time they had a personal problem, whatever it was, we worked it out. We were always like a family. And nobody left us. We didn’t have labor turnover.”

Hayes said he always kept his employees’ best interests at heart.

“In those early days, when they built those tenter frames I would not let anybody walk in those hot frames until I walked in first,” he recalled. “If I got burned, I would not let them go.”

As CEO, Hayes ran the company with an open-door policy, he said.

“You work for Chuck Hayes and close your door, you’re out of here,” he said. “We’re all open to talk. I don’t care who you are or what you are.”

“There was never a time when people, regardless of what their jobs were, whether they swept the floor or ran a frame or were a vice president, that Chuck didn’t treat everybody the same,” said Hilda Warner, director of corporate merchandising, who has worked with Hayes since the late 1960s. “They were always welcomed into his office. He tried to help solve their problems if they had them. The key to Chuck is that he always listened and I think that was important for the employees.

“And he’s the same Chuck today as he was 32 years ago.”

Guilford built two massive factories in Greensboro and everything worked like a charm for years, save for a couple of costly missteps in the late ’80s, he said.

“We did a hell of a job together as a team,” he said. “Back then, everything was commodity business. We didn’t have an import problem. We would sell a million yards of this and a million yards of that. And we turned it out like there was no tomorrow — the best, the best. And we made profit margins like crazy.”

But things would change. Guilford was hardly immune to some of the problems that have plagued the industry in the last few years. Last summer, Hayes was forced to make the gut-wrenching decision to close its first factory, the Fishman Plant in Greensboro, and lay off 400 employees, many of whom had worked there for more than 30 years.

Then in November, Guilford let 550 more people go with the shuttering of its Greenberg plant here.

In reality, Hayes said, those plants should have been closed a year-and-a-half ago, but “I didn’t change fast enough because my heart got in the way. I was always hoping for a miracle. Maybe government legislation would take place that could save us. I was on Capitol Hill fighting, and I knew I was losing. I didn’t move fast enough because I couldn’t face letting 1,000 people go.

“We probably lost $40 million by hanging on as long as we did, but I have no regrets about that. I wanted a miracle and it didn’t happen. The good Lord looks after us. We’ll find our way.”

With tears in his eyes, Hayes told affected employees on each occasion what had to be done and why. He got a standing ovation — and lots of hugs and kisses.

“All of our people, because they were good workers, are all employed by other companies now,” he said. “And I’ve received many letters and cards saying ‘thank you for what you’ve done, provided me a job’ for however many years.”

The decision, however, terribly affected Hayes, he added. “It was hard. It drove me crazy,” he said. “I had tremendous depression.”

Added Warner: “Chuck has a passion for the textile industry and for Guilford Mills. He loves people. He knew most of those employees on a first-name basis.”

Personal failures

While his business thrived for many years, his personal life was one train wreck after another. After growing up in poverty, he had let the “good life” get the best of him. He drank a lot and chased women, he said. His company always came first, he added.

Hayes bares his soul when speaking on the subject.

“I used to work all day and party all night,” he said. “There were always customers to meet and, gee, the booze was always there. As a result of that, I lost my first wife. I then lost my second wife and then my third. They said, ‘good-bye, Charlie.’ ”

After his last failed marriage, in 1989, Hayes began to use marijuana and cocaine, he said. Estranged from most of his family, he remembered wandering around his big house and wondering what to do next.

“I was miserable,” he said. “All of my life had been spent building Guilford Mills. I didn’t give a damn about anybody. I had lost my family and nothing else mattered.”

Someone recommended that he try The Pavillon, a treatment center in Quebec staffed by recovering addicts. He spent a month there working through the demons he shared with others.

“I probably would have lost my life if I hadn’t found what I found in Canada,” he said. “It changed my life. It really set me free — it set me free to face reality.

“When I was growing up on the farm,” he added, “my father used to beat the living hell out of me. I kept saying, ‘where are you, God?’ I didn’t know if He was there. But I found my higher power at The Pavillon.”

After completing the program, Hayes sat down and wrote letters to all of the family members he had let down over the years, including each wife and all of his children. He asked for their forgiveness.

“I have a family now, a family I had lost,” Hayes said. “You see pictures of my family all through this house. We all get together now and my children and grandchildren call every night and say, ‘Pop, I love you.’ It’s incredible.”

In 1995, Hayes took his children, grandchildren and his first wife on a cross-country bus trip.

Hayes was so impressed with The Pavillon, he raised money and moved it to the mountains of North Carolina, near Asheville, several years later.

“We’re now in our fifth year and have graduated more than 400 people,” he said. “People come from all over the world — drug addicts, food addicts, alcoholics, you name it. Miracles take place there. That facility is one of the proudest things I have ever accomplished.”

Hayes is now engaged to Deloris Gallagher, who he has dated for about five years. “She is the best person who ever came into my life,” he said. “She has really understood the inner-workings of a man, like myself, who can be crazy at times and wonderful at other times. And she is just wonderful. I’m as happy now as I’ve ever been in my life.”

The two haven’t set a wedding date yet because he doesn’t have a ring finger on his left hand, he said, laughing as he held up the hand with the missing digit. The finger was amputated several years ago because of a degenerative condition.

“At this stage of the game I’m just happy having a relationship that’s probably better than being married right now,” he said. “I don’t know what the future holds. I’m going to put my energy towards taking on ATMI for the year.”

One of Hayes’ biggest regrets, he said, is dropping out of high school. But in 1994, he completed night classes and received his high school diploma. He also established a literacy program at Guilford Mills.

Among those who learned to read through the program was a woman who wrote him a letter to tell him that now, she and her father could read the Bible together.

Hayes’ philanthropy in NC’s Triad area is near legendary. He has made large contributions toward boosting education and literacy. He also served several years as chairman of the board of trustees of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, which awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1998.

He can relate

Several times during the interview, Chuck Hayes mentioned the 1941 novel What Makes Sammy Run? by Budd Schulberg.

No doubt, he can relate to the central character, Sammy Glick, who climbed the ladder from copy boy to Hollywood mogul. Yet, despite his success, he still found himself wandering, alone and afraid, through his mansion.

Hayes has been there, done that.

He gets goose bumps just thinking about it.

Pro-textile clause

Week of July 29, 2002

House approves pro-textile clause

WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. House Tuesday approved a pro-textile measure to close a dyeing, finishing and printing loophole in the Trade and Development Act of 2000 and the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA).

The clause is attached to a $28.9 billion supplemental defense spending bill, which passed 397-32. The provision requires that all dyeing, printing and finishing of garments imported from the Caribbean and Andean nations be done in the U.S. in order to qualify for duty-free status.

Thousands of domestic textile jobs involved in those processes could be saved as a result of the provision, according to industry insiders.

Rep. Jim DeMint (R-SC), who championed the provision, said he considers it fulfillment of one of the promises exacted from House leadership in exchange for his vote on trade promotion authority (TPA) for President Bush in December.

“What many said could not be done has been done,” DeMint told The State of Columbia (SC).

DeMint’s critics, however, said the win could be short-lived if it is nullified within other trade agreements, such as a comprehensive trade bill that includes the TPA measure.

The Senate was expected to vote on the legislation later last week, after which the president is expected to sign it into law.

ATMI Chairman Van May, CEO of Plains Cotton Cooperative Association, Lubbock, TX, called the passage a “major victory” for U.S. textiles.

“We applaud Congressmen Jim DeMint for the strong leadership and persistence he showed in making sure that this language was maintained in the final bill,” May said. “We also commend Reps. Robin Hayes, Cass Ballenger, Howard Coble and the other textile-state members of Congress who have played key roles in convincing the House leadership on just how important this requirement is for our companies and our employees.”

The Trade and Development Act passed during the 106th Congress, while ATPA is pending in conference. Under these agreements, fabrics were to be produced in the U.S. before being sent to other countries for sewing and then sent back to the U.S., duty-free, for retail sale.

However, after these trade agreements were passed, Customs ruled that these fabrics did not necessarily have to be dyed/finished/printed in the U.S. to qualify for the duty-free status. This legislation clarifies the language.

DeMint, Hayes and other textile-state representatives who voted for the TPA measure have come under fire since casting that vote.

“Our textile industry is hurting and we have a clear choice — we can complain or we can work to do something about it,” Hayes said in a statement. “I believe to do nothing is to accept the decline of this industry and job loss. Getting this provision positively impacts 100,000 textile jobs and it represents a significant victory for their industry.”

NCCATT

Week of July 29, 2002

Customs agents trained at NCCATT

U.S. House Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC), with ATMI President Carlos Moore (L) and NCCATT President Dr. Jim Lemons, announces that U.S. Customs agents were to be trained at the NCCATT.
Photo by Devin Steele

By Devin Steele

BELMONT, NC — In an effort to aid the U.S. textile industry by nabbing illegal trade offenders, 11 U.S. Customs agents recently underwent training at the North Carolina Center for Applied Textile Technology (NCCATT).

During a press conference on July 15, U.S. House Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC) also announced incentives for companies to report unlawful trade activities.

Flanked by Carlos Moore of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI) and textile center President Dr. James Lemons, Myrick noted that part of the problem in catching offshore companies that engage in illegal trading activities, such as transshipment and counterfeiting, is a lack of education by agents.

“This will help solve that problem,” she said.

The agents went through “very intense” training for two days, according to Lemons. In addition to learning to identify fiber and fabric, the agents also were taught “some prolific methodologies for calculating productivity,” he said.

“In other words, we can track down some of these transshipments if we can prove mathematically that some of these countries don’t have the productive capacity to manufacture those goods,” Lemons said.

Janet Labuda, director of Textiles Enforcement and Operations Division for Customs, observed the sessions.

“This is good for the area, good for the technology center and very beneficial to the textile industry in general,” said Myrick, who is seeking a fifth term in NC’s 9th district, which includes Belmont.

Moore said that he and ATMI Chairman Van May of Plains Cotton Cooperative Association, Lubbock, TX, are excited about the training program.

“I’ve talked with a lot of companies in our industry and one of the recurring themes is that, if (competitors) play by the rules, we can compete with the foreign producers of textiles and fabric,” Moore said. “And that is a big task but I think training Customs people is really going to help us do that.”

The National Border Security Agency Act, which has passed the House and is awaiting action in the Senate, would provide 72 more Customs agents, which would further aid the industry’s cause, Myrick pointed out. She added that she would push for those agents to also undergo training at the textile center, should they be added.

Myrick also announced enticements for companies to act on suspicions that foreign competitors are attempting to circumvent trade agreements.

“Through a Customs program, reporting companies stand to collect 10 percent of any fine levied against a company cited for wrongdoing,” she said. “It’s an incentive. I mean, that’s the American way, right?”

She invited companies with such knowledge to call her D.C. office, so that Customs can be notified to investigate the matter.

Moore cited an example of how one country, which he would not name, has violated trade deals. An “unusual” textile product, which was identified as polyester, was obtained at retail and sent to a university for testing, he said.

“Sure enough, all five samples turned out to be cotton, which means they would not have been allowed in if they had been identified properly,” Moore said. “They were trying to evade the cotton quota, which they had already filled.”

Moore added that the numbers of those who cheat are low, but “the people who do cheat on the foreign exporter side and on the U.S. importer side give the honest folks a real bad name, and they also take away U.S. jobs, U.S. production and, as importantly, they give off the impression of the product being very shoddy because sometimes the transshipped goods are not nearly of the quality that they should be. And then nobody wants to buy the honestly produced goods.”

According to Moore, who cited Customs estimates, illegal transshipments of textiles and clothing may have totaled as much as $5 billion over the last decade.

“We know that if you do some rough estimates, you can easily figure out that there are some countries around the world that don’t have the capability to ship what they’re shipping, and you very quickly come up with a couple of billion dollars worth,” he said.

Evidence points to China and Pakistan as the worst transshipping offenders, Moore added.

“It’s an awesome task to try to stop transshipment,” he added. “But I think the more you look, the more you investigate, the more you’ll find.”

Machinery Manufacturers

Week of July 29, 2002

We, as industry, are to blame for problems

COMMENTARY

Editor’s note: The following letter was written by Joseph M. Gardner, vice president and general manager of Parks & Woolson Machine Co., Springfield, VT, in response to a membership survey and executive summary sent by the American Textile Machinery Association (ATMA) to its members. The letter is being published with permission from the author and the ATMA.

I would like to first acknowledge the fact that these are perhaps the most trying times for our industry. In light of that, your mission and ability to succeed is wrought with obstacles and it is my opinion that recognition of this fact and realignment of your strategy and tactics is clearly the right thing to do.

I have been a member of this affiliation for over six years now while employed with Parks & Woolson and in my prior position at GHM Industries (Gessner). When I was new to the ATMA I was actively involved and engaged.

My level of participation has dropped sharply to where I am presently just an observer.

This is an extremely unfortunate situation considering the fact that my “war cry” has and is “You are either part of the problem or part of the solution.” Non-participation is a symptom of resignation and unacceptable, in my book. In light of your recent initiatives I see possibilities that make the ROI of my time once again beneficial to me. I am making a personal commitment to participate.

That said, my reasons behind my lack of participation in the past are not without warrant and due consideration. The intent of this correspondence is to make you aware of these issues. I am sure you have considered these issues at length, so please allow me to reiterate the obvious. It is not my intent to insult anyone’s intelligence or waste anyone’s time. But it is important to me to know that my participation in the future is worth my time, as well.

It is my opinion that we make our home in the greatest country in the world. As you know our industry — specifically our customers’ industry, textiles — was by far the global leader for decades, without question, right up to the end of the ’80s.

What got us in that position to begin with? As an industry we leveraged our technological prowess, our command of process control and our work ethics passed down over generations and built the industry from scratch. As is with so many things, the correct road is not necessarily the easy road; it takes hard work and commitment, which our leaders had plenty of.

No one could compete with us then, but as you know things change and our business environment did just that in earnest. Starting in the ’80s and accelerating through the ’90s we saw our customers move their operations offshore and acquire materials from other than continental U.S. industry.

Bottom line was that the overseas interests simply copied our processes and in some cases our machines and began producing compliant-quality goods at a lower cost (part of which is lower labor). To compete, our customers were forced to leverage that benefit.

During the period of time that I participated in the ATME-I, I saw a drastic change from cross-pollination of technological and process ideas to one of how our government should protect our industry. Protection of our industry by our government is not only irresponsible, it is a waste of energies.

The fundamental reason we are in this situation is an industry and a people, we lost what our former industry leaders had in spades and that is the work ethic to overcome obstacles through hard work and commitment. Our industry from a technological standpoint has evolved at a snail’s pace.

It’s like once we made it to the top and the torch was passed we said, “we made it!”

We were foolish enough to believe that the world stopped changing. Why? Because it’s the easy road. We all want to exercise our executive privileges, spend several hours of our working day playing golf, bring home the big paycheck and blame the government for the problems we created. There will come a point where this industry will be unsalvageable and we as business leaders — not the government — will be the blame.

In terms of technology evolution, we have seen very little in the way we, to use an example I am familiar with, finish textiles (napping, shearing, sanding). Most of our customers are running at the same speeds as they did 20 years ago.

Like many industries, the development of newer technologies took a back seat. The easy road was to continue selling this type of equipment capability for as long as possible.

That worked right up to the point that the need to increase capacity in the industry ceased. We were content with being suppliers of necessity and not suppliers of choice. The result of this short-sightedness is evident in the number of textile equipment manufacturers that have gone out of business, all the while pointing the finger at the U.S. government for not protecting them.

As textile equipment manufacturers it is critical to service our customers by providing equipment that allows them to compete in the global market. We at Parks & Woolson recognize that the only way to succeed in an environment that our customers are competing in is by following a few basic principles:

1) Any new equipment must make obsolete old or surplus-like equipment through enhanced productivity;
2) Any new equipment must be evolutionary in design so seamless integration into existing or future I.T. platforms is easily achievable (MRP, SPC, QC systems); and
3) Cost of ownership must be significantly less than fielded systems (maintainability, acquisition, spare parts, etc.)

Following the above criteria, we designed from a blank sheet of paper the Phoenix Napper. We didn’t take the easy road and copy existing designs. The result is a platform that outproduces anything in the field (example typical standard of existing machines 26 YPM, Phoenix Platform 63 YPM).

Our systems are remotely accessible via the Internet or modem. We can leverage commercial packages, such as Netmeeting and remotely run our system while simultaneously video conferencing with the operator to assist remotely in process support.

Our systems are all fielded with the appropriate interfaces for seamless integration into any SPC and or MRP platform. Testimony to this strategy is the fact that we have fielded domestically 31 of these platforms in an environment that doesn’t require additional capacity and surplus used equipment is prevalent.

We need to return to the basics. Do what we do well. Innovation and continuous process improvement is critical to half the solution.

The other half, and perhaps our biggest opportunity, is a re-awakening of the spirit that made this country great and that is the work ethics, hard work, commitment and leadership by example. We need to “Walk the Talk” and recognize the fact that we have an obligation to our customers to provide them with equipment that is second to none.

We need to share information and leverage each other’s strengths, making the sum of our services greater than its pieces. For example, we may want to have a co-op type of approach to automation and producability and leverage through cross-pollination those things we do well for the greater good.

I believe that ATMA is in a perfect position to address these issues with its membership. We need to stop collectively pointing our finger outside our sphere of influence in hopes of comfort and for the purpose of blaming someone else for the situation that we created.

We need to look at ourselves and each other for support and cooperation if we really want to effect a positive change. Initially, awareness sessions on organizational development in terms of ethics, motivational issues, etc. would provide the quickest opportunity for us to equip each other and our customers with the weapons they deserve to compete and defeat our common enemies (offshore competition).

Make no mistake, this is a war. Our livelihood as a nation is at stake. We need to perceive this with the energy, passion and commitment appropriate for a war.

Stellamcor GmbH

Week of July 29, 2002

Stellamcor GmbH forms nonwovens partnership

HOF, GERMANY — Stellamcor GmbH, a division of Stellamcor, Inc., has formed a partnership with Grimm, Stellamcor, Anlagenbau (GSA), dedicated to supply the newest generation of air-lay nonwoven lines from a single location.

The company said it has experienced engineers on hand to help customers determine the best combination of equipment for their needs.

“Until now, firms specializing in nonwoven textile products had to travel to different countries to view numerous pieces of equipment they might want to install in their lines,” said Peter Wagner, director of Stellamcor GmbH in Germany. “Our 10,000 square-foot showroom provides a unique opportunity for manufacturers. Here, clients can see the latest state-of-the-art technology available to create a turnkey operation to their specifications.”

Included on display are two air-lay lines: a needlepunch line and a thermal-bonding line. The lines are equipped with the latest technology, including even feed chute feed; air-lay section; new air carding section with air-lay system; web needle punch machinery; a three-section double belt oven with brass woven belts; cross cutters; and edge trim machinery.

All of these machines are controlled by one central computer. In line, also, are air filtering, dust compacting equipment and waste-recycling machinery.

In addition to the showroom, GSA also will hold a series of special seminars. The first will help manufacturers determine production and maintenance procedures. Additional seminars will cover a variety of industry topics including, fiber preparation; waste recycling; and nonwoven molding.

“Our strategic alliance with GSA enables Stellamcor, Inc. USA to offer our customers the best nonwoven machinery with the best engineering expertise,” said Frank Levy, president, Stellamcor, Inc. “In this difficult economy, we are geared up to help clients save money during the decision-making process and make possible the creation of efficient manufacturing operations.”

Editorial

Week of July 29, 2002

Chuck Hayes: Morality play personified

CHARLES A. “CHUCK” HAYES finally got his place at the beach.

He never saw the company he had built into a $1 billion entity — and then stumble — emerge from bankruptcy proceedings. But, for about three days at least, he enjoyed his own place on the shore.

He never saw a textile industry he so passionately loved and defended recover from the worst downturn of his lifetime. But he was able to spend his final days looking at the ocean from his own condominium.

Longtime friend and associate Doug Galyon had for years tried to encourage Hayes, the Guilford Mills’ chairman, to find a place to go to “get away from it all.” Having never owned a beach home, Hayes finally broke down and bought a place to relief stress, at Myrtle Beach.

Three days later, on Sunday morning, he rose to watch TV. In less than an hour, was dead of an apparent heart attack.

“The last voice mail I heard Friday was from Chuck, who called to say how happy he was and how he liked the new place and how he thought he was really going to enjoy it,” Galyon said. “I think, with the reorganization and everything (at Guilford), he realized that he was about to enter into the next phase of his life, retirement, and he wanted to enjoy it.”

HAYES WAS A giant, literally and figuratively. A rotund man with a booming voice, he commanded attention. And his contributions to the textile industry — or “in-DUST-ry,” as he pronounced it — were enormous, too, as were his philanthropic efforts.

His was a classic rags to riches story — seasoned with heartache and humility, gusto and grief, passion and profanity. For years, he bathed in life’s excesses, not unlike that of Falstaff, the portly, lovable Shakespearean character whose indulgences slowly cause him to alienate the people around him.

Hayes, however, finally realized the hurt his wayward conduct caused those he loved most. And fortunately for him and his family, he lived long enough to make amends. He checked himself into a treatment center to free himself of the demons of drugs and alcohol, reconciled with his family and even returned to school to earn his high school equivalency.

He also met someone who helped keep him grounded and focused on the important things in life. Deloris Gallagher was “the best thing that ever happened to me,” he once said of the woman he had hoped to one day make his fourth wife.

There was another side of Hayes that only those closest to him knew, according to Galyon, and that was “a soft underside,” he said. “He was very compassionate. He didn’t reveal that very often. What people saw was a very gruff, tough, aggressive fellow. But he was very compassionate. There were hundreds of people who he personally helped, right out of his own pocket. And he also helped people not only with money, but with his influence. I can’t tell you the number of lives he touched.”

Some have said Chuck Hayes’ story is worthy of a movie, which we certainly would pay to watch. Brian Dennehy, one of our colleagues suggested, would play a perfect Chuck Hayes.

THE LAST FEW months of Hayes’s life were certainly some of his most trying. That Guilford Mills found itself being forced into plant closures, layoffs and then bankruptcy was devastating to Hayes, Galyon said.

“Chuck accepted his share of responsibility for that. He never shirked it. That was very painful to him because Chuck was builder. Chuck was never a maintainer — he was a builder. However, as the reorganization began to take shape and began to see the “new” Guilford Mills, he had reached a peace with the situation — and with himself.”

Hopefully, that peace helped put a smile on Chuck Hayes’s face as he watched the tide turn from his own place at the beach.

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