Chemists' & colorists' event to feature dual format

Sept. 1, 2003

Litrell to keynote AATCC conference

GREENVILLE, SC - The International Conference & Exhibition (IC&E), sponsored by the American Association of Textile Chemists & Colorists (AATCC), will feature a dual format this year.

The Concept 2 Consumer (C2C) track, introduced at last year's IC&E, will return and run concurrently with the Technical track.

The event will take place Sept. 9-12 at the Palmetto Expo Center here.

Janet Littrell, director of Consumer Marketing for VF Corporation, will deliver the keynote address during the conference.

Littrell's address is titled, "Speed to Market" and will focus on color innovation. She will deliver the address at 8:15 a.m. on Wed., Sep. 10.

In her address, Littrell will cover implementation of new color management processes that shorten time to market, reduce cost and improve overall product quality. She will describe a pilot program between VF brands and key vendors and the education process targeted to VF employees and key business partners.

Littrell has more than 27 years of experience in the retail apparel industry, working as a buyer and in merchandising and marketing. Her address will highlight the C2C track.

Attendees will have their choice of networking opportunities. Roundtable discussions vary from technical topics and industry needs to color management issues in the retail/ apparel segment.

The C2C track was developed to bring the creative aspects of the product development process together with the technical aspects and to address common problems with collaborative solutions.

This year's sessions will include presentations as well as roundtable discussions that invite audience participation.

The C2C track will continue to address issues that stand in the way of good color communication among design, production, quality control and retail professionals. Sessions will examine new technologies that offer innovative ways to develop, communicate and sell product ideas.

Presenters and moderators will focus on processes and procedures that will reduce lead times and enable development of more fashionable products at the right time and the right price.

From color science to technical textiles, from the basics to the complex, this year the Technical track has attracted an impressive group of presenters who will cover many aspects of textile processing and testing. The Technical track will focus on areas such as fiber innovations, preparation and dyeing.

Topics will include textile testing, textile care and environmental concerns. A diverse group of industry experts and researchers will give presentations on digital textile printing, flammability and biotechnology in textiles, with an opportunity for audience questions and comments.

The brightest young minds in textile technology, management, design and merchandising will be on hand in AATCC student chapter booths. Other opportunities include a welcoming reception, an awards banquet, the annual AATCC Foundation golf outing, a student Textile Bowl and exhibitor demonstrations.

Researchers of tomorrow will present their work during The Herman and Myrtle Goldstein Student Paper Competition on Wed., Sept. 10. The competition provides students an opportunity to develop, conduct and report on an original research project of their choice.

The Textile Bowl, also on Sept., offers teams of students the chance to test their knowledge of the industry by answering questions from a wide range of categories.
Incoming President Richard White (L) of Milliken & Co. presents outgoing President Tony Dotson a plaque for his service.
 
Doug Rightler, director of PCI (X&P) Ltd, goes over polyester feedstock volatility.

Trade, technical issues covered at TYAA event

Sept. 1, 2003

By Devin Steele

MYRTLE BEACH, SC - From trade to technical issues, more than 300 members and guests of the Textured Yarn Association of America (TYAA) got an earful during their 31st Summer Conference here recently.

Jock Nash, Washington counsel for Milliken & Co., and Willis C. "Billy" Moore III, chairman of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI) and executive vice president for Governmental and Investor Relations of Unifi, Inc., painted the trade side of the picture, while a number of speakers helped members brush up on the technical end.

In between, such topics as market trends and marketing added more-diverse composition to the canvas.

Oh, and Tony Dotson of KoSa swapped his presidential gavel for a service plaque with Richard White of Milliken & Co.

Dotson dedicated the conference to the memory of past president Bobby Rowland, who died this year.

In moving into the president's slot, White will be joined by fellow officers Chas Scott of Unifi, Inc., first vice president of Technical; Tommy George of Spectrum Textured Yarns, second vice president of Technical; Jim McBride of Cognis Corp., vice president of Membership; Alasdair Carmichael of Carmichael International and PCI Fibres & Raw Materials, vice president of Publicity, Publications and Archives; and Jerry Eskew of Day International, vice president of Conventions.

Two awards were given during the event. Roney Conkle, a charter member of TYAA with more than 33 years of experience in the industry, was presented the first TYAA Appreciation of Outstanding Contribution and Dedication Award.
Roney Conkle (R), a charter member of TYAA with more than 33 years of experience in the industry, holds the plaque recognizing him as the first TYAA Appreciation of Outstanding Contribution and Dedication Award recipient. Chas Scott presented the award.
Photos by Devin Steele
Johnny Knowles of Sapona Manufacturing speaks after being recognized by Sapona President Dean Lail. He was honored for his 27 years of service to the company and 44 years of service to the textured yarn industry.

Conkle has become a nationally recognized textile engineering professional known for his technical expertise in producing high-quality textured yarns. He recently retired from Unifi, Inc., Madison, NC, as senior development manager responsible for the conception and development of new nylon products.

Meanwhile, Sapona Manufacturing recognized Johnny Knowles, its chief operating officer and vice president of manufacturing, who plans to retire next year at age 65. He was honored for his 27 years of service to Sapona and 44 years of service to the textured yarn industry.

Other speakers included Jim Heslep and Gregg Adams of Instrumar Ltd., who covered on-line sensors; Carmichael and Doug Rightler, director of PCI (X&P) Ltd, who went over polyester fiber volatility and polyester feedstock volatility, respectively; Vic Angle, purchasing manager of Springs Industries, who spoke on "The American Home Furnishings Industry - A Strategy for Survival;" Jens Schumacher, who gave an overview of future texturing machines; Malcolm Hinchliffe, manager director of Fibrevision Ltd., who spoke on "Total Quality Control for DTY;" and John Foote and Steve Wagasky of Pace On-Line Measurement Systems, who addressed "Texturing and On-Line Measurement."

Board members for the new term include Ulrik Frodermann of Barmag/Saurer Group; Pat Murray of E.I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co.; John Edwards of Nan Ya Plastics; and Keith Adams of Burlington Industries.

Jerry King of Milliken & Co. will continue to serve as executive secretary.

Copies of presentations are available to TYAA members at www.tyaa.org.

AYSA, Chesnutt keep
pressure on Washington

Sept. 1, 2003

Editor's note: Following is a Q&A with Jim Chesnutt, president of the American Yarn Spinners Association (AYSA) and president and CEO of National Spinning Co., Washington, NC. Chesnutt and his group heads to Sea Island, GA, next week for their annual meeting. Chesnutt's responses come in questions posed to him in written form y Devin Steele, STN editor.

STN: You have had a busy year. Seems you attended every function offering the opportunity to voice concerns or challenge government officials over various issues. Did you budget for such an onerous time commitment as AYSA president?
Jim Chesnutt, president of AYSA and president and CEO of National Spinning Co., Washington, NC, speaks during a press conference announcing a grassroots lobbying effort by a coalition of 14 textile and fiber organizations in Greensboro, NC, last month. Allen Gant Jr., CEO of Glen Raven, Inc., of Glen Raven, NC, looks on.
Photo by Devin Steele

Chesnutt: Devin, it has been a busy year and, frankly, it had been expected. There are so many issues on the table that can have a negative effect on the industry. The CAFTA will replace the existing CBPTA that, as you know, has proved beneficial for yarn spinners by virtue of the "yarn-forward" requirement; however, it is highly likely that the new agreement will not be so positive and could even be detrimental to many of the AYSA members.

Recently the coalition has worked diligently on the "China safeguard" petition, which has been accepted and is now in the comment period before review by CITA. Yes, a lot of time, but it has been a privilege to represent our members.

STN: Also in recent months, you have been one of the most vocal industry executives by asking questions and expressing the industry's anxieties and challenges, in public forums and one on one with those with some control over the industry's destiny. Do you think you and your peers are making a connection as well as a difference in the industry's cause?

Chesnutt: I do believe our voice is being heard in Washington. However, we must continue to speak out and no longer be the silent majority in the manufacturing sector of the economy. Each time I go to Washington, I am told that we must speak with one voice as an industry in order to be effective. We have not and this has allowed those who represent us to get off the hook.

The problems caused by job losses in our country are becoming severe and no longer is it just a textile and apparel issue. Since Mr. Bush moved into the White House, 2.7 million jobs have been lost. The federal budget, most all state budgets, counties and municipalities are all experiencing deficits.

The current trade policy is just not working. It is essential that every member of our industry and others in manufacturing continue to speak out and influence change the only way possible: AT THE BALLOT BOX.

STN: During such recent public powwows, I have detected not only trepidation but even some downright anger in your voice and demeanor. From where does your passion and fight come?

Chesnutt: Yes, I am angry. Those who we have elected to represent us in Washington and in my own state, North Carolina, are just out of touch with reality. I believed the promises made to the industry by the Bush Administration and that these promises were made with integrity. However, this promises have not been kept. A government without integrity can only lead to severe issues for our country.

There is much hurt in our industry and especially in my home, Eastern North Carolina. People want to work and, while I don't expect our government to help us in a significant way, we must continue the fight to at least stop it from hurting the middle class in this country and especially those in our industry.

STN: You have had to make even more painful decisions this year with plant closings and layoffs. Please explain the reasons that forced these decisions. How did making these decisions affect you personally?

Chesnutt: Certainly, our company has not been immune to the China effect, a poor economy and retailers who just don't want to source domestically or at reduced levels. Our strategy is to "right size" our company for the market.

We have focused our plants based on market needs and consolidated to take advantage of the enormous capital invested in last five years. Our major issue, as is with many other AYSA members, is "who and where will our customers be?"

It is difficult to tell people who have been dedicated to this company for many years that their job must be eliminated. Few replacement jobs are available. Let me tell you a short story.

I saw one of our former employees preparing food for guests at a local Hampton Inn last week. She told me she wanted to come back to her family at National Spinning Co., Inc.

She starts at 4 a.m. every day, leaves at 10:30 a.m., goes to Wal-Mart for a second job and works as many hours as allowed. Her total pay is less than that at National, with no health-care plan, no vacation, no retirement and no future. So much for the service economy!

STN: Is the situation stabilizing at National Spinning?

Chesnutt: Yes, we feel very positive about the future, assuming some of the initiatives in Washington are successful. Our craft division is an excellent performer and a new venture in El Salvador in progressing as planned.

STN: Let's review the platform you laid out last year when you took the AYSA reins. Among your goals, you said you wanted the association to focus on membership in an effort to assure that AYSA represents the entire sales yarn industry. Were strides made in this area?

Chesnutt: Devin, we have more than 90 percent of the yarn production as members. However, there has been some slippage, for many reasons. We will continue to work to attract the remaining 10 percent. Importantly, the membership contributed much leadership during the year as we worked to accomplish our goals.

STN: Also, you said you wanted your administration and members to "be involved as much as possible in Washington with the implementing rules and regulations for the Andean trade bill and other trade legislation." The Andean legislation - allowing apparel imports from Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia to enter the U.S. duty free, if U.S. or regional textiles are used - was passed last year, of course. How involved were domestic yarn spinners in this bill and others?

Chesnutt: We have been deeply involved in Washington in all issues that affect the industry. Earlier, I mentioned the positive aspects of the CBTPA for our industry. We must continue to work to not have agreements that hurt us. TPLs, accumulation, etc. in the CAFTA will create problems.

We like the proposal put on table by USTR. However, there are evil forces (with lots of money) at work attempting to weaken the agreement. We must unite as an industry and fight to the end.

STN: The so-called "textile coalition" of 14 textile and fiber groups has been very visible and vocal over the past couple of months in airing your grievances - particularly in Washington, DC, and the Carolinas. Do you think your message is being heard, particularly by those who need to get the message?

Chesnutt: I am very excited with regard to the potential for this group to work together. I believe we had 14 groups sign on for the China Safeguards petition.

STN: Please explain the group's other methods for effecting change in Washington and in the consumer mindset.

Chesnutt: We are working on a grassroots plan to get all our employees to understand what is happening to our industry and the root causes. We will register those who are not registered to vote, send letters to Congress and do everything to take our message to the public.

STN: We've seen some movement being made on the China safeguard issue - perhaps in response to the coalition's stepped-up efforts - as the Commerce Department said it will consider three of four industry petitions for relief from a surge of Chinese imports. Are you at least encouraged that a move, as procedural as it is, has been made? How much confidence, if any, do you have in a favorable ruling being made?

Chesnutt: This is the litmus test for the Bush Administration. I feel positive with regard to our success and we must keep heat on with contact with Jim Leonard in Commerce Department. I believe our chances are more than 50-50.

STN: How do you think the outcome of these petitions will bode for future government decisions on these matters and prospects in 2005 and beyond, after textile/apparel quotas are dropped?

Chesnutt: This is a very important issue. China has not lived up to its agreements when she entered the WTO.

STN: The Vietnam trade deal, passed in the spring, seemed to be the last straw for many in the U.S. textile industry who had said they were willing to give the Bush Administration a chance to live up to its promises made in December 2001. After that deal was passed, I don't think I've ever seen the industry so angry as a whole. Was that one agreement the trigger that mobilized this industry, leading to the formation of the coalition?

Chesnutt: No doubt, the agreement created more anger than any issue I have every seen that affected the industry. It is still difficult to understand and the answers from USTR have been feeble at best. We simply were out-negotiated. Then to add insult to injury, the recent changes were just unbelievable. It is obvious those representing our industry and the U.S. just don't understand.

STN: I read somewhere recently that you probably wouldn't again vote for George Bush in the next presidential election, given his administration's failure to act in the industry's favor so far - a sentiment I've heard from a number of industry representatives. Let me put you on the spot: Which presidential hopeful is at least saying the right things at this point?

Chesnutt: President Bush is been a major disappointment for me. I believed this administration had integrity and would keep its promises. Unfortunately, Washington follows the money and is under control of the multinational corporations, banks and financial companies, the industrial/military complex and the retailers.

To be reelected to the White House or Congress is the most important issue for those serving. The money required is enormous. Election reform is essential for the middle class to have any influence.

To date, I have not seen an acceptable candidate for my vote. We will just wait and see.

STN: You were recently given the opportunity to reach a nationwide audience, with your interview on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" program. What kind of response, if any, have you heard from your comments on the show?

Chesnutt: All positive. I suppose the biggest surprise is the fact that so many people I know called or e-mailed to tell me they had heard the show.

STN: What are some of the other issues challenging yarn spinners?

Chesnutt: We must continue to represent all our members regardless of the segment of the market and do everything possible to influence Washington to act in a way so as not to harm the industry even more.

STN: What are some of the things yarn spinners are doing right in this environment?

Chesnutt: Unity of the industry is of extreme importance. Our membership is on board to effect this and has participated in the coalition in an effective manner.

STN: Please comment on the working relationship you have with your expected successor, Steve Dobbins of Carolina Mills, and his leadership strengths.

Chesnutt: Steve Dobbins is a trooper and totally dedicated to the industry. It has been lockstep with me during the year as we worked through issues. The AYSA will is fortunate to have him in a leadership role in a very difficult environment.

STN: What thoughts cross your mind as you prepare to leave office after having served the industry and the association in this leadership capacity?

Chesnutt: I am just grateful for the opportunity to serve this year as president of the association. It is an honor.

STN: How is registration numbers for the annual meeting? What do you hope members will take away from the meeting?

Chesnutt: Paid registrations are up. Our program is excellent.

Pickin' Cotton

Hopes for strong exports,
lower carryover continue

Sept. 1, 2003

By Odyll Santos

Some may wonder if the U.S. can do just as well as it did last year when it comes to exports. Many hope the U.S. can export the 11.8 million 480-pound bales expected for 2003-04, as lower ending stocks and higher cotton prices depend on achieving that. Foreign demand for U.S. growths is expected to be good and is expected to lift prices eventually.

"Price advancement is tied to the development of U.S. exports, given the disappearance of the domestic textile industry," said cotton marketing specialist O.A. Cleveland in recent weekly market comments.

But through the first half of August, the first two weeks of the 2003-04 season, the New York cotton futures market seemed to doubt that the year's export level is attainable. Price had drifted downward amid little buying interest from foreign mills.

After substantial buying activity before the 2002-03 season's recent end, foreign mills stepped away from the market, despite lower U.S. cotton futures prices. They had bought cotton when a sizable Step 2 export payment was factored into prices, effectively cutting those prices. Now, with a smaller Step 2 payment, mills are waiting for cotton prices to reach what they see as more attractive levels.

Even USDA's projections could not lift the market. In its August 12 supply/demand report, USDA raised U.S. production to 17.1 million 480-pound bales from 16.6 million in July. The crop now is closer to the 17.2 million bales produced in 2002-03. USDA pegged domestic mill use at 6.6 million bales, down from 6.8 million in the previous month and slashed from the 7.3 million level seen last year. However, at 11.8 million bales, the export forecast remained steady and is just off last year's 11.9 million.

Cleveland believes the U.S. can reach its export goal. Foreign mills are expected to return to the market in the next several weeks.

"U.S. exports can easily reach 11.8 million bales," Cleveland said. "Recall (that) just one year ago, or even just six months ago, if someone suggested the U.S. would ship 12 million bales in 2002-03, they would have been referred to the funny farm. The world textile market is out there. We just have to fit the pieces of the puzzle together."

With U.S. textile mills continuing to grapple with bankruptcies and facility closings, and with domestic consumption expected to decline as a result, the export market is the likely destination for much of U.S. cotton. Cleveland noted that a substantial portion of the crop in the U.S. Southeast likely would go to foreign buyers, which are interested in middling cotton as well as 1-3/32 to 1-1/8 inch cotton. "The U.S. textile industry, what there is left of it, is a partial market, but a large volume of the cotton must go (to) export," he said.

Export results for the first week of the 2003-04 marketing season were notable. While net upland cotton sales were just 61,004 running bales for the week ended August 7, shipments totaled 294,981. Pima, or extra long staple, cotton net sales were 2,614 running bales, while shipments were 2,378.

According to USDA data, upland commitments total about 2.8 million running bales (2.9 million 480-pound bales) through August 7, which is 27 percent of projected exports for the current season. That is slightly behind total commitments that were 31 percent of expected exports reported at this time last year.

Industry veteran Holmes
named president of INDA

Sept. 1, 2003

Holmes

CARY, NC - Rory Holmes, a veteran of more than three decades in the nonwovens and healthcare industries, has been named president of INDA, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry.

Holmes replaces Ted Wirtz, who announced his retirement late last year after seven years as president of the nonwovens association. Wirtz has served on an interim basis until a successor could be found. Holmes will assume the position on October 1.

Holmes joins the nonwovens association with an extensive experience spanning more than 30 years in nonwovens manufacturing and in the marketing and sales of nonwoven products. Most recently he was an associate director of technology transfer at the Nonwovens Cooperative Research Center at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC.

For the past three years Holmes has also been a consultant to various companies within the nonwovens industry, providing market research, product evaluation and technology reviews for a host of global companies.

In addition to his most recent positions, from 1999-2000 Holmes was vice president and general manager of APEX Technologies, Miratec Brand, at Polymer Group, Inc., Benson, NC. He was intimately involved in the development and launch of the high-technology fabric systems based on APEX technology and before that had a distinguished career with Johnson & Johnson.

"Rory Holmes knows the nonwovens industry and the industry knows Rory, and he brings impressive management and leadership skills to INDA as it embarks on an aggressive expansion and creating exceptional valued-added products for its members," said Dennis Tavernetti, INDA chairperson and global vice president of BBA Nonwovens Group.

"His knowledge of the nonwovens industry, both domestically and internationally, combined with his technical expertise and general management skills, make him an ideal person to lead INDA into a challenging future."

"INDA, thanks to the leadership of Ted Wirtz, is well-positioned to embark on an aggressive expansion within the global nonwovens and engineered fabrics industries," Holmes said. "Along with the excellent INDA staff and with the guidance of the INDA board of directors, we can solidify and expand INDA's leadership role in the global nonwovens and engineered fabrics businesses."

"Among the short- and long-term opportunities for INDA are the inclusion of technical textiles at the triennial IDEA International Nonwovens and Industrial Fabrics Exposition and Conference, scheduled for April, 2004 in Miami Beach; continued strong representation of the nonwovens industry among government officials in Washington, DC; increased communications with INDA members through specialty publications and research projects; and even closer relations with nonwovens associations around the world," he added.

Holmes' experience in the nonwovens and personal care industries also includes a position as vice president of sales, marketing and technology for the Medical and Industrial Business Units of PGI (Chicopee, Inc.) in Dayton, NJ, from 1995-1999.

From 1990-1994 Holmes served in various management positions at Johnson & Johnson, Dayton, NJ. Holmes was also with Chicopee in various technology positions for 20 years beginning in 1970.

"I look forward to the challenge of working with the INDA members, board of directors and staff as we continue to lead the nonwovens and engineered fabrics industries," Holmes said.

Editorial

Sept. 1, 2003

Chesnutt comes out swinging

IS THIS the U.S. textile industry's last stand? It's beginning to look that way. And, thankfully, this venerable manufacturing sector isn't taking its beating lying down. It has endured body blows, low blows and sucker punches. It has been wobbled by undercuts by trade "partners," blind-sided by unilateral trade deals and booed by fellow WTO members. It is bloodied, swollen and aching.

But it's not down for the count - yet.

Thanks, in part, to brawlers such as Jim Chesnutt, who has helped the industry get in a few jabs of its own. As president of the American Yarn Spinners Association, he has been one of the industry's most vocal - and visible - leaders. He has taken off the gloves in recent months to chide a U.S. government whose policies and failure to respond have led to so much of the industry's deep gashes and weakened its legs. In recent months, he has publicly sparred with federal government officials, been a major mouthpiece for the recently formed coalition of textile and fiber producers and turned up in various local, regional and national media outlets. And he has spent nearly as much time in Washington, DC, as he has in Washington, NC, headquarters of National Spinning Co., where he serves as president and CEO.

And, like many of his textile peers, Chesnutt has often needed a cut man - and occasionally a tissue. After all, having to part ways with loyal, hard-working employees can be an emotional experience for anyone.

INDEED, Chesnutt cares about this industry's future - and it shows. As many of you, he loves this industry and its people. And he has a deep fondness for the folks east of Raleigh - the oft-neglected, generally impoverished region known as "Down East," home of vinegar-based pork barbecue, (diminishing) tobacco fields and his beloved East Carolina Pirates. To be forced in recent years to put more of those fine people on the streets and, perhaps, in the welfare line no doubt grates on his soul. After all, he himself has been on the lower end of the social strata, having grown up on a farm in tiny Turkey, NC, before working hard to get into college and climb the corporate ladder.

As many of his industry brethren who voted for President Bush, Chesnutt placed hope, trust and confidence in his administration and showed exceptional patience that promises it made to the industry two years ago would be kept. But that patience is wearing thin among Chesnutt, his industry colleagues and others, including the most fervent Bush backers. Even Bush cheerleader Sue Myrick, a GOP House representative from North Carolina whose district has hemorrhaged more than its share of textile jobs in recent years, lashed out against the president last week.

At some point over the last six months or so, Chesnutt got angry. Long delays in getting the so-called China safeguard mechanism implemented, the passage of the Vietnam trade "deal" (for the Vietnamese, that is) and the continuing bloodletting by the industry has brought Chesnutt to the boiling point. Even some of Chesnutt's fellow AYSA members, including Steve Dobbins, Malloy Evans and Andy Warlick, have joined the chorus of fed-up textile executives and have been outspoken in their criticism of U.S. government inaction.

IF THIS IS the industry's last stand, no one can say it went down without a fight. Chesnutt has helped lead the charge, but numerous others have been in the ring, as well. Dobbins, Chesnutt's expected successor, will have his hands full as AYSA's top elected official, but his scrappiness and willingness to join the fray is indisputable.

The odds are stacked against the industry as long as the opponent - and its accomplices in the government, retail sector and importing community - don't fight fair, but we expect a continued knockdown, drag-out in the coming months. And we encourage more of you to strap 'em on and enter the fracas.

Before the final bell sounds.

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