NCMA ANNUAL MEETING

Week of September 30, 2002

Group manages to expand roster, despite state woes

Milt E. Gold Jr., president and CEO of Amital Spinning Corp., New Bern, NC, this week will turn over the gavel as chairman of the North Carolina Manufacturers Association.

Editor’s note: Following is a Q&A with Milt E. Gold Jr., who has served as chairman of the North Carolina Manufacturers Association (NCMA) during the past year. Gold, president and CEO of Amital Spinning Corp., New Bern, NC, will turn over the gavel this week during the group’s annual meeting at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club, Southern Pines, NC. In reflecting on his term, Gold answered questions submitted to him by STN Editor Devin Steele.

STN: What were your goals when you became NCMA chairman and how did you go about meeting them?

Gold: Recognizing the tremendous downturn our textile members have experienced in recent years due to the international trade situation, my chief goal was to continue the process of expanding NCMA membership beyond its traditional core. I pursued this goal by working closely with NCMA President Jim Bell in developing new approaches and marketing plans designed to attract new members, while at the same time working to retain the core membership.

STN: As other states, North Carolina is experiencing its share of problems. The unemployment rate hit 6.9 percent in April, the highest point since hitting 7 percent in February 1984, and was still at 6.8 percent in July. Manufacturing has taken a big hit in that area, of course. How is NCMA working to help displaced members and solving the problems that have plagued many companies?

Gold: NCMA recognizes that the central cause of manufacturing job loss in North Carolina has been international trade practices, such as Asian currency manipulation, quota violations and the like. The association participates in groups working to address these practices, such as the Coalition for a Sound Dollar and the American Textile Alliance. In addition, NCMA lobbies our N.C. Congressional delegation on related federal legislation, such as TPA (trade promotion authority).

It was our own Senator (John) Edwards who favorably amended the Senate TPA bill to both set firm goals in international trade negotiations and help displaced manufacturing workers, although the Edwards amendments were weakened by the final House-Senate Conference Committee Report.

STN: With so many North Carolinians filing unemployment claims, what has the legislature done to address this issue? What effect has this had on manufacturers?

Gold: Fortunately, North Carolina has enjoyed a healthy unemployment insurance fund, which has been adequate to pay the unprecedented claims to this point. Next year, however, there will doubtless be legislation to replenish this fund through payroll taxes. NCMA will be working to ensure that this legislation is reasonable and that it puts no more burden on manufacturers than is absolutely necessary.

STN: How has manufacturing contraction affected NCMA’s membership numbers? How do those figures compare to last year’s at this time?

Gold: Obviously, because our dues are based on employment figures, among other things, NCMA is adversely affected when our members are hit hard by a shrinking economy and massive layoffs. In addition, several of our members have declared bankruptcy in the past year, although they continued membership in NCMA.

On the bright side, 24 percent of our members actually paid more dues this year than last. We also added 19 new corporate members and 10 new associate members this year. In addition, we currently have six companies taking part in our new trial membership offer and anticipate that most, if not all, of these companies will join after their trial period is up.

STN: Since the association opened its ranks to non-textile firms about three years ago, has the percentage of “other” manufacturing members steadily grown? What are those figures today? Who are your new members since last year?

Gold: Yes, the percentage of “other” manufacturing members has increased. As you know, last year we formed the NCMA Boat Builders Division and, with the help of our BBD Chairman, Randy Ramsey of Jarrett Bay Boatworks, we currently have 20 BBD members — 16 corporate and four associate members.

Forty percent of our members are non-textile manufacturers. New members recruited are: Albemarle Boats, Inc.; Burckhardt America; Carolina Classic Boats; CMI Industries; Coats North America; Confluence Watersports Co.; Custom Steel Boats; Fountain Powerboats, Inc.; Grady-White Boats; Hatteras Yachts; IFG International Fiberglass; Jarrett Bay Boatworks; Ken Craft Manufacturing Co.; Mann Custom Boats; May-Craft Fiberglass Products; Parker Marine Enterprises; Pillowtex Corporation; Regulator Marine, Inc.; Tiara Yachts; and Triumph Boats.

STN: How was the organization “sold” to potential members during the past year?

Gold: In a variety of ways, including direct mail on specific issues, prospect invitations to committee meetings, seminars and conferences, speeches, telephone calls and plant visits. In addition, trial membership is being offered to those prospects who participate in NCMA activities, such as our recent Tax & Accounting Seminar.

STN: How have the state’s financial troubles affected NCMA membership?

Gold: Ironically, the state’s financial troubles have underscored the need for NCMA among the membership. This is because the state is actively looking for new sources of recurring revenue, and tax proposals are under consideration that would be harmful to manufacturers.

STN: What were some of the most devastating headlines in the state during the past year?

Gold: Loss of manufacturing jobs and plant closings would certainly top the list. In addition, the state budget crisis has been an ongoing concern for our members as additional sources of revenue are sought. The drought, with its accompanying water restrictions, has also been very much in the news of late.

STN: What are some of the legislative/regulatory issues or concerns NCMA dealt with this year?

Gold: There are several:
• SB 1292. IRC Update Reference. The recently enacted federal Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act of 2002 includes an accelerated 30 percent bonus depreciation allowance for certain assets placed in service between 9-10-01 and 9-11-04, and an extension of the carryback period for net operating losses occurring in tax years ending in ’01 and ’02 from two years to five years. Since North Carolina uses federal taxable income in its corporate tax calculations, federal law significantly affects North Carolina tax revenue. NCMA Tax Committee experts have assisted in drafting legislation that will ensure that manufacturers will be able to take advantage of the bonus depreciation during the next several years.
• SB 1292. Throw-out Rule for Corporate Apportionment. This highly technical provision, adopted by the House, would exclude certain out-of-state sales of tangible personal property from the sales factor used to apportion business income to North Carolina for tax purposes. The net effect of this rule would be to increase a manufacturer’s corporate income tax from 6.9 percent to over 10 percent. NCMA successfully lobbied to have this rule struck from the final budget bill.
• HB 1549, 1645, 1694. These bills would repeal the sales tax cap on manufacturing machinery purchases. NCMA successfully opposed these bills.
• HB 1548. This bill would repeal the sales tax cap on boat purchases. NCMA successfully opposed this bill.
• HB 1520, 1753, SB 1223, 1410. Bill Lee Act Amendments. NCMA ensured that all business incentives, such as tax credits and incentive payments for the creation of new jobs, are available to NCMA member companies, as well as out-of-state corporations considering locating facilities in North Carolina.
• NCMA Tax Committee experts drafted technical language to resolve unforeseen problems with the subsidiary dividends legislation which was enacted last year.
• SB1120, 1121, etc. Blank bills. These, and numerous other blank bills, are routinely introduced to avoid legislative procedural deadlines. NCMA tracks blank bills to ensure that they are not used as vehicles for harmful legislation.
With respect to non-tax legislation, NCMA was actively involved with the following bills:
• SB 1162. Defraud Drug Tests. NCMA and the Attorney General’s Office drafted this bill, which will make criminal the sale of devices used to defraud company drug-screening tests.
• SB 1078. Improve Air Quality/Electric Utilities. This is the so-called “Clean Smokestacks” bill. NCMA participated in negotiations leading to the elimination of the proposed 7 percent surtax on industrial electric bills. This bill has been enacted, and electric rates will remain frozen for five years with no surtax.
• SB 1037. No Air Permit Required Until Facility Operational. NCMA successfully supported this bill, which will overcome an Attorney General opinion to the effect that air permits must be approved and issued before facility construction can begin.
• NCMA also successfully opposed the Insurance Department’s attempt to drastically increase surety bonds on Workers’ Compensation self-insureds and NCMA blocked attempts by the trial lawyers to expand Workers’ Compensation occupational disease coverage.

STN: What are the bright spots in manufacturing in North Carolina?

Gold: Politicians, both on the state and federal levels, have finally realized the enormity of the impact of recent trade legislation and illegal trade activities on North Carolina’s manufacturers. Currently, the U.S. Commerce Secretary is working with the industry to help level the playing field in future trade agreements. We are cautiously optimistic about the level of support the industry will receive from the current administration, but only time will tell.

Some of our textile members are seeing business improvement, with orders increasing. The nonwovens segment of the textile industry is actually seeing growth. Responding to this, the Nonwovens Cooperative Research Center at the N.C. State College of Textiles opened a state-of-the-art spunbond and meltblown research and development lab in May. According to College of Textiles officials, the lab is capable of blowing and stretching microfibers into webs of nanofibers incorporating high-performance characteristics used for protective apparel for soldiers, firefighters and police, among other items.

The U.S. leads the world in technology and production of nonwovens, generating $38 billion in annual revenues and 160,000 jobs in the U.S. North Carolina has 29 nonwoven firms, almost twice as many as any other state. Those 29 firms employ 16,000 people in our state and produce more than $3 billion in annual revenues, according to NCSU College of Textiles figures.

Also, the explosion of research using nanotechnology has led to new achievements in fabrication, processing and tool development. Examples of these new applications include information technology, nanoelectro-mechanical components, interactive and smart textiles, medical sensors and probes and super-efficient engines. Nanotechnology researchers are also working on machines that can cruise through a person’s veins to track viruses and military uniforms that can detect and repel chemical weapons. (Basic information about nanotechnology was provided by NCSU.)

Finally, North Carolina has the second largest number of boat builders of any state in the U.S. The industry has held steady during 2002, with pockets of good growth. Our boat-building members have indicated to NCMA in recent weeks that they are seeing an increase in orders.

STN: What “exciting” is going on within the organization?

Gold: We have a new membership development program in which we will be offering trial memberships in NCMA so that prospective members can see the benefit of belonging to the association before they have any financial stake. The Executive Committee and I are enthusiastic about this new program and look forward to seeing the results of it in 2003.

NCMA created an Energy Division this year, which has held two meetings thus far. The mission of this division is to maintain clear lines of communication with energy suppliers to lower energy costs for NCMA member companies and ensure that North Carolina manufacturers have access to a dependable supply of energy.

In addition, the ED is presently reviewing and will respond to the recently proposed State Energy Plan, as well as other energy proposals made at the General Assembly and other branches of state government. Currently, we have 14 division members representing 10 companies.

NCMA is constantly revamping its programs to ensure that they offer value and benefit in our ever-changing global marketplace. For example, NCMA joined a coalition of textile and manufacturing associations in opposing certain provisions in the proposed U.S. EPA Textile MACT Standard. If our position is adopted, it will save many members the pain of permit and reporting requirements, not to mention costly changes in manufacturing operations designed to reduce the emission of certain air pollutants.

The NCMA Human Resources Division Board of Directors is currently working to revamp the H.R. Division Annual Meeting to open the meeting to more Human Resources professionals and contain travel costs associated with the meeting. We are also working on adding “hot topic” seminars to our meeting schedule in 2003.

STN: What are a company’s benefits of NCMA membership?

Gold: Companies who join NCMA enjoy the following benefits:
• enhanced political strength through numbers, coalitions and a united voice. Group action adds strength and prevents any single company from coming under government scrutiny;
• our Raleigh-based staff provides an “alert” system to identify legislative and regulatory issues directly affecting manufacturers;
• professional legal and lobbying experience to effectively handle the technical and governmental issues involving manufacturers;
• access to educational meetings, NCMA committees and state-level meetings and conferences. These provide technical and cost-savings advice, as well as open doors to state officials and regulators. One-day workshops on topics such as safety, tax and accounting and human resources are held throughout the year; and
• coordinated media advocacy and relations. One central source for media communications ensures the correct facts are conveyed and gives manufacturing’s side of issues.

STN: What are the biggest challenges facing manufacturing, particularly in North Carolina, in the coming years?

Gold: At the federal level, international trade negotiations and market access. At the state level, maintaining a reasonable tax system that encourages investment; and ensuring reasonable state regulatory programs and access to an affordable health care system for our members and their employees.

STN: How has NCMA responded to these challenges?

Gold: Through participation in industry coalitions, acting as a liaison with the N.C. Congressional delegation and lobbying at the state legislative and regulatory level. In addition, NCMA affords its members educational opportunities and the ability to actively participate in policy-making through its committee and division structure.

STN: Why is serving in a leadership role such as this important to you?

Gold: From a selfish standpoint, my business benefits from a strong and united manufacturing association such as NCMA. In addition to this, I take pride in knowing that the state and its citizens benefit by the creation and expansion of good-paying manufacturing jobs in North Carolina, and this is what NCMA is all about.

STN: Please describe the working relationship you have with your officers and board and the NCMA staff?

Gold: We are fortunate to have an Executive Committee and Board of Directors made up of individuals dedicated to building the association for a united approach to the problems facing manufacturers. Our Board and Executive Committee meetings have proved most helpful in identifying and prioritizing policies and practices of maximum value to the membership. The NCMA staff has been proactive in suggesting new approaches and has quickly implemented Executive Committee recommendations to achieve our common goals.

STN: Would you like to address the job Jim Bell has done during his first year as president?

Gold: Jim has tirelessly pursued the mandate set forth at our Board meeting last year at Sea Island. This year has certainly proved worse than forecast for manufacturing, but despite this, Jim has created new programs and strengthened existing programs designed to build the membership. I am convinced that we are on the right track and poised to advance as the economy improves.

STN: How long have you been a member of the association?

Gold: Since 1992.

STN: How has NCMA helped you grow professionally?

Gold: NCMA has given me the opportunity to learn about other industry across our great state, especially boat manufactures. I find it very interesting the similarities of concerns that are common among manufactures, such as utility cost and control and rising health cost. Additionally, having the opportunity to sit face to face with our business leaders is a great learning experience.

NCMA ANNUAL MEETING

Week of September 30, 2002

Group ‘returning to roots’

By Devin Steele

RALEIGH, NC — The North Carolina Manufacturers Association (ATMA) is “staying home,” so to speak.

Responding to the downturn of the manufacturing sector, the association, which in recent years has scheduled its annual meeting out of state, will hold the event in North Carolina this week. The 96th annual meeting is slated for Wednesday through Friday at the Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club in Southern Pines.

The decision to hold the get-together in its own environs has been “very positive,” according to NCMA Chairman Milt E. Gold Jr.

“Not only are we supporting North Carolina’s tourism industry, but being closer has enabled more people to attend our annual meeting this year,” said Gold, president and CEO of Amital Spinning Corp., New Bern, NC. “Attendance will increase by at least 45 percent over last year’s meeting.

Among speakers will be James C. Leonard III, deputy assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of Commerce; Elaine F. Marshall, NC Secretary of State; and Van May, chairman of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute and president and CEO of Plains Cotton Cooperative Association.

“An added benefit to holding our meeting in North Carolina is that it has helped us get government officials because of the shorter travel time,” Gold said.

He noted that the meeting represents a “unique blend of our history and our future. We are ‘returning to our roots,’ in some ways, meeting just down the road from where this association held its annual meeting for decades.

“We face some of the same frustrations and challenges as did our predecessors,” he added. “Post World War II, the association changed its name from the Cotton Manufacturers of North Carolina to the North Carolina Textile Manufacturers, a move made to expand membership and political clout. In 1999, NCTMA became the North Carolina Manufacturers Association for much the same reason.

“At our 1952 annual meeting, hot topics addressed by the association included unemployment compensation; workers compensation; labor laws; environmental regulation; and the state budget. Little has changed in the ensuing 50 years.”

Also on the speakers docket is Randy Ramsey, chairman of the NCMA Boat Builders Division and president of Jarrett Bay Boatworks; John N. Davis, executive director of NCFREE; Thomas G. Murphy, executive vice president of manufacturing and wholesale distribution, RSM McGladrey; and motivational speaker, Wayne Ates, a.k.a. the “The Minister of Mirth.”

Also, David Hoyle, a member of the NC Senate, will be presented the group’s Chairman’s Award.

During the event, Gold is expected to be succeeded as chairman by James R. Cowan of Stonecutter Mills Corporation, Spindale, NC. Cowan held the top post of the North Carolina Textile Manufacturers Association in 1998-99.

“I sincerely hope that all of our members will go away from this year’s annual meeting energized about the future, both for their companies and for NCMA; appreciative of the ways the association is protecting their interests each and every day; and connected to the other soldiers in our ongoing battle for manufacturing in North Carolina,” Gold said.

AATCC

Week of September 30, 2002

AATCC plans to build bridges with ‘C2C’ theme

By Devin Steele

The American Association of Textile Chemists & Colorists (AATCC) has an underlying objective for its annual International Conference & Exhibition (IC&E): To build bridges.

An admirable goal, indeed — and the sort of out-of-the-box thinking that may be needed to get this industry out of its doldrums and headed in the right direction.

The event, under the theme “Concept to Consumer (C2C),” runs Tuesday through Friday at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, NC, and reflects a newly established initiative of the association to provide a forum to discuss issues surrounding the creation of product, from initial concept to final consumer.

“We are trying to build a bridge between the mills, designers, cut-and-sew and retail,” said John Y. “Jack” Daniels, AATCC executive director. “There will be new exhibitors and people at the conference as a result of efforts begun in January to target this group of people. Obviously, Rome was not built overnight, and this initiative will likewise take us a number of years to build.

“With CBI and NAFTA, it is critical for the U.S. textile industry that we all work to improve communications among all related textile and apparel segments.”

This year’s conference will include a Concept to Consumer track that will address challenges facing companies today, including color management and communication, new design and production technology and ways to reduce costs and condense lead time.

The keynote presentation, under the catchy title, “Politics, Viagra, and Other Popular Remedies: Catch 22 and the Textile Industry’s Search for Relevance,” will be given by John A. Boland III, GTMA’s Executive in Residence at Georgia Tech. Boland is the former president and CEO of Dominion Textile, Inc. of Montreal, Canada.

“In addition to the new C2C initiative, we believe we have created strong technical sessions that are well balanced and will provide a good bit of practical knowledge in textile dyeing and finishing,” Daniels said.

Planned technical sessions will be related to business and marketing; advances in dyeing; functional finishes; biotechnology; troubleshooting for preparation, dyeing and finishing; innovative technologies; color science; product quality; and textile care.

Exhibits will feature CAD/CAM systems, digital printing equipment, color management, color science, dyes and chemicals and testing services for the apparel and textile wet processing industry.

More than 40 exhibitors will display their wares at the trade show, a modest increase from last year’s 37 in Greenville, SC.

“The textile industry is beginning to rebound, and our conference in Charlotte will be centrally located, which should be a big plus,” Daniels said.

In addition to general C2C activities, new exhibitors featuring CAD/CAM equipment will exhibit. One of the highlights will be DuPont’s introduction of its joint effort with Ichinose in the development of an ink jet printer, which will be on display.

“This year we are also asking the attendees for help in assessing a series of fabric samples for whiteness,” Daniels said.

Available will be a special booth that features fabric samples developed for this study. AATCC Committee RA 36, Color Measurement Test Methods, has completed a round-robin test of spectrophotometric measurements of the samples and requires visual data to compare with the instrumental data.

David Hinks of the College of Textiles at NC State University and Roland Connelly of SheLyn Inc., who serve respectively as chair and subcommittee chair of RA 36, are overseeing this activity.

One of the most mouth-watering events is the business and marketing session, featuring a discussion on trade issues related to textiles and apparel, from 9:15 a.m. until noon on Wednesday.

Phil Goodman of Boehme Filatex will moderate this session, which includes James C. Leonard III, deputy assistant secretary of commerce for Textiles, Apparel, and Consumer Goods Industries; Jock Nash, Washington Counsel for Milliken & Co.; Ronnie T. Daugherty, owner/president of Miami Thread, Inc. and a candidate for U.S. Congress from North Carolina’s 10th District; Neil Cahill, retired vice president of the Institute of Textile Technology; and Jerry W. Miller, president/chief operating officer of United Knitting.

“This should be a most interesting and novel session for IC&E,” Daniels said.

Other events include the popular Textile Bowl for students, exhibitor product demonstrations, a student paper competition, poster presentations, a guest program and annual awards presentation.

Two of the world’s top textile scientists will be honored during the awards presentation on Thursday. Max A. Weaver will be presented The Olney Medal for achievement in textile chemistry and the Henry E. Millson Award for Invention for his innovations in textile dyes for polyesters and polyamides. Charles E. Gavin III will be honored as the recipient of The Harold C. Chapin Award.

The AATCC Foundation will feature its inaugural golf outing for charity on Tues., Oct. 1 at the Rocky River Golf Club nearby in Concord, NC.

For more information about AATCC or the event, visit www.aatcc.org.

3-PEAT

Week of September 30, 2002

ATMA, allies again to gather jointly

FALLS CHURCH, VA — Maintaining the tripartite format it tested earlier this year, the American Textile Machinery Association (ATMA) is holding its Executive Retreat with two other capital equipment manufacturer associations this week.

The event is taking place today and Tuesday at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC.

The retreat is being held in confederation with the fall meetings of the American Paper Machinery Association (APMA) and the Process Equipment Manufacturers’ Association (PEMA), both of which share the executive staff and offices with ATMA.

By allying, the groups are able to share the cost of high-caliber speakers and attendees have the opportunity for intra-industry and inter-industry networking, according to organizers.

Keith Eades, president of Sales Performance International, Inc., is the keynote speaker. Eades will deliver two presentations: “Pipeline Analysis and Opportunity Coaching for Top Executives” and “Filling the Pipeline and Moving Opportunities Through It — Guidelines for Top Executives.”

“Both sessions will be interactive with practice exercises to facilitate transfer of knowledge,” said Harry W. “Buzz” Buzzerd, president of ATMA and executive director of PEMA. “The goal is to have attendees walk away with tools — not just ideas — that can be immediately useful.

“A take-away package will be provided with tools to use to better manage and sell.”

The program also includes an ATMA-only session, where ATMA-specific needs will be addressed.

In addition, the agenda features a captive insurance program update. The popular-issue roundtables will also return, with the topics being decided by a vote of the members.

AYSA ANNUAL MEETING:

Week of September 30, 2002

Commerce official: My agenda must be your agenda

Part 2

By Devin Steele

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV — Another Bush Administration official recently reached out to help “rebuild trust” between the U.S. textile industry and the government.

Grant Aldonas, under secretary of Commerce for International Trade, addressed members of the American Yarn Spinners Association (AYSA) during their 35th annual meeting here. He brought with him a number of assurances for this hard-hit industry sector and made a case that the White House is working on behalf of their interests.

Like Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans and commerce official William H. Lash III, Aldonas has visited a number of textile operations and spoke to various textile groups during the past nine months. He said that creating a partnership with the industry is imperative as the administration seeks to fulfill commitments made during last year’s House vote on trade promotion authority.

“We have to have a strong relationship with the industry so that we can rebuild lost trust,” said Aldonas, who was introduced as “our friend” by AYSA President Jim Chesnutt of National Spinning. “That’s central for us in order to move ahead aggressively on trade and improve the economic prosperity of this country.”

Aldonas explained the president’s position on trade and how free trade affects the economy. Acknowledging that the manufacturing sector has taken the biggest blow during the most recent economic downturn, the classic fundamentals for a full recovery are good, he said.

Part of the administration’s role in spurring an economic rebound is to create an environment for investments that drive manufacturing, Aldonas said.

“Government’s not very good at trying to fine-tune the economy,” he said. “The tools that you can use, either fiscally or monetarily, are rather blunt instruments. The best thing we can do, ultimately, is to make sure that we provide a framework, then set the ground rules so that business can do the things it’s supposed to do, which are innovate and to be productive.”

The administration is very much pro-U.S. manufacturing, regardless of what many may have drawn from Bush’s position on global trade, Aldonas added.

“We want manufacturing to grow. I happen to be a believer that manufacturing in this country matters. Ultimately, the thing you don’t want to lose is the expertise in this room,” he said, to a round of applause.

Noting that international trade is an economic driver, Aldonas fired off a number of statistics he said supports the importance of doing business in a global market.

“Exports have created 20 million jobs since 1990,” he said. “Last year, exports supported about 12 million jobs directly, not to mention indirect employment. One in every five manufacturing jobs is supported by exports. Workers and jobs supported by exports receive 13 to 18 percent higher wages than the national average.

“The number of jobs in U.S. manufacturing plants that export increased 21 to 36 percent faster than those that don’t. And 38 percent of all economic expansion in the United States was between 1994 and 1997 and trade now accounts for one-third of the U.S. gross domestic product.”

The best thing the government can do is to make sure that competition is fair and the playing field is leveling, and the administration is working fervently to that end, Aldonas added. “Competition happens to be both our best ally and our toughest opponent,” he said.

Aldonas also noted that both President Bush and Evans were surprised to learn that, despite contraction, textiles remains the largest sector of manufacturing employment in the country.

“The lights go on when you put it in those terms,” he said. “It is not clear to people, because of the way the media portrays the industry in many respects, that what goes on in this industry really does matter.”

With that in mind, U.S. trade officials are charged with making sure that textile and apparel market access is a priority in all trade negotiations, he said. No longer will textiles be a bargaining chip, he added.

As such, U.S. negotiators will ask for at least as much from trading partners as the U.S. gets back and that they will resist any requests to shorten the quota phase-out period, he said.

The government also is working on export expansion initiatives, he said, noting that the Commerce Department helped bring forth the United States’ participation as a partner country at the Heimtextil home furnishings show in Germany this January. The department, including Aldonas, is also conducting trade missions in the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa and Andean countries and is planning export seminars for the textile industry.

“My agenda has to be your agenda,” Aldonas said. “I need to know what your needs are, so that I’m carrying your water when we get into these conversations.”

TQCA, ATIE

Week of September 30, 2002

TQCA, ATIE schedules joint meeting

GASTONIA, NC — After several years of exploring the possibility, the Textile Quality Control Association (TQCA) and the Association of Textile Industrial Engineers (ATIE) will hold a joint meeting for the first time.

The Fall Conference will take place this week, Wednesday through Friday, at the Wyndham Myrtle Beach Resort at Myrtle Beach, SC.

Neil Cahill, a senior official with the Institute of Textile Technology, Charlottesville, VA, will open the business session on Thursday with a presentation, “What is the Textile Industry Becoming?”

After Cahill’s remarks, the session will be split into three tracks. Mike Whisenant of Cone Mills will discuss “Cone’s Return to Profitability;” David Dickerson of Sara Lee will speak on “Leadership in the Absence of Authority;” and Clyde Parker of Star Leadership Development will present a three-part seminar, “Seven Steps to Success.”

Three more tracks afterward include a panel discussion on “New, Synthetic, Value-Added, Functional Apparel Fabrics.” Mike Meadows of Milliken & Co. and Dr. Krishna Parachuru of the School of Textile and Fiber Engineering at Georgia Tech will be featured.

Also, Timothy Clapp of North Carolina State University will cover “Mistake-Proofing Your Process,” while Parker will continue with part 2 of his program.

An optional program on “Supply Chain Management” is slated for the afternoon. Karl Pendergrass of Milliken & Co. will conduct the session.

Fred Isenberg of New Generation Computing will kick off Friday’s session with a discussion on “Global Apparel Trends — Impact on Quality,” while Parker will conclude his presentation.

Cahill will close the session with a review of the conference.

Material World

Week of September 30, 2002

Material World scheduled for next week

MIAMI BEACH — Strategically timed to follow the European shows and showcase the color, design and fabric trends for autumn/winter 2003/2004, Material World will return to the Miami Beach Convention Center here next week.

The event is scheduled for Oct. 7-9. As the international full-package and fabric sourcing exhibition for the Americas, Material World will feature an expanded exhibitor base, according to organizers.

“From design to delivery, this exhibition provides members of the fabric-related industry with a one-stop resource for all their business needs,” said Tim von Gal, executive vice president of show management company Urban Expositions.

The show will highlight the introductions and innovations from leading companies from North, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Europe in every sector, including fabric, trim, yarn, components, educational institutions, contractors, manufacturers, technology, full-package providers, publications, services, associations and others.

In conjunction with the trade show will be a pre-show, half-day conference tailored for top-level decision makers from noon–4 p.m. on Sun., Oct. 6. Titled “How to Position Your Company Now for 2005,” the program will bring together leading industry experts in the legal, economic and business fields to discuss the challenges and changes that will be brought on when the final phase of textile and apparel quota elimination occurs in 2005.

Fiscal notes

Week of September 30, 2002

WestPoint announces further restructuring

WEST POINT, GA — WestPoint Stevens, Inc. on Sept. 20 announced additional restructuring plans and cut its 2002 sales target.

The initiative calls for the reallocation of production assets from bath products to basic bedding products and closings of non-performing stores in its retail stores division.

These actions caused the company to withdraw its prior annual earnings guidance of 35 cents to 40 cents, before restructuring costs.

WestPoint said it expects the moves to result in a charge of about $36.5 million, or 47 cents per share. WestPoint said it has cut its sales growth guidance from unchanged to 2 percent after previously forecasting 2 percent to 4 percent. Sales are expected to be in line with its previous guidance of $475 million, the company said.

Cone Mills affirms earnings guidance

GREENSBORO, NC — Cone Mills Corp. affirmed its earnings guidance, despite recent uncertainty in capital markets and the large number of negative earnings pre-announcements by other companies.

The denim maker said it expects to earn 8 to 10 cents per share in the third quarter and 20 to 25 cents per share for the year.

Also, the company affirmed annual estimates of EBITDA, or EBITDA of $56 to $59 million, including Cone’s pro rata share of Parras Cone.

Levi Strauss sees earnings decline

SAN FRANCISCO — Levi Strauss & Co. announced said that third-quarter net sales grew 3.5 percent to $1,02 billion compared to $984 million in the comparable quarter a year ago. Net income declined 9 percent to $14 million, versus $15 million in the same period last year.

Guilford

Week of September 30, 2002

Guilford set to emerge

GREENSBORO, NC — The creditors and stockholders of Guilford Mills, Inc. have voted overwhelmingly to accept the company’s reorganization plan, clearing the way for the company to emerge from bankruptcy proceedings.

The bankruptcy court on Sept. 19 approved Guilford Mills’ reorganization plan.

Guilford filed voluntary petitions for Chapter 11 reorganization under on March 13. The company had exited several businesses over the previous year to focus on its strongest operations: automotive, technical textiles and select apparel businesses.

Under the plan, the company’s suppliers will be paid in full and ownership of the company will change. Guilford’s senior lenders will own 90 percent of the company, with the balance being owned by exiting shareholders.

Senior debt, which will consist primarily of a three-year revolving credit facility and a three-year term loan, will total $145 million, down from $270 million before entering bankruptcy court.

Briefs

Week of September 30, 2002

Ocean State Finishing to close after 27 years

WOONSOCKET, RI — Ocean State Finishing, a dyer of knitted woolen goods for the women’s apparel industry, closed its doors on Sept. 19.

The company blamed the decision on foreign competition and an unfavorable regulatory climate.

Ocean State filed for receivership about a year ago, with about $1.5 million in debt it could not pay, according to reports. Company President Bob Kneeland then reached a deal to make an offer to buy the company’s equipment and form a new company. But when he found out it could take up to six months to process the company’s application for a wastewater permit, investors pulled out of the deal, Kneeland said.

Employment numbers had dropped from about 80 about two years ago to 28 at the time of the closing.

The family-owned company was founded in 1975.

Pillowtex amends loan agreement

KANNAPOLIS, NC — Pillowtex Corporation has asked lenders to amend terms of its loan agreement, four months after the company emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The company has also agreed to provide its loan lenders revised projected financial statements for 2003 through 2005.

Editorial

Week of September 30, 2002

Lightning struck Gold (so he was told)

MILT E. GOLD JR. got the shock of his life — literally — on August 19, 2001. He and a partner had been run off the golf course by a rainstorm and, on the way home, he stopped at a gas station for a fill-up. As he squeezed the handle, he felt something peculiar, then noticed the guy at the next pump cussin’ like a sailor and jumping up and down. Hmmm, he thought, that’s strange. He finished filling the tank, walked inside and was asked by the clerk, “Are you OK? It looked like that lightning hit you.” He said he was fine.

Maybe that’s what happened, he thought on the way home. He then noticed his left arm start to swell. When he arrived home, his wife Jennifer knew something wasn’t right. “What’s wrong? You’re as white as a sheet.” He explained what he thought had happened — that he had taken an indirect hit from a lightning bolt that may have struck the gas station canopy — and she convinced him to let her take him to the emergency room. Tests, along with the blister on the bottom of his foot, confirmed that, indeed, electricity had run through his body. He checked out fine, and can now call himself a lightning survivor — though he doesn’t even remember hearing the accompanying blast of thunder.

Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

WHICH IS AN unusual position for Gold, considering he’s been in the right place at the right time in recent years. The chairman of the North Carolina Manufacturers Association (NCMA) certainly has been the perfect person to serve in a leadership position during these transitional years, as the association moves from a textiles-only group to a broader manufacturing coalition. Consider that about two years ago, Gold was named to head the then-newly created Membership Committee, formed to attract companies from outside the textile industry. And, as an officer during the past two years, his message has carried more weight with prospective members.

Why does this put Gold in the right place at the right time, you ask? Well, because Gold is one of the few NCMA members who live east of I-40, which has been fertile ground for prospects. Gold serves as president and CEO of Amital Spinning Corp., New Bern, NC, located in the heart of boat-building country — and it’s no surprise that they constitute the largest number of non-textile manufacturing members in the association. Last year, NCMA formed a division for these members, who joined its ranks in large part due to the recruiting efforts of one of their neighbors, say NCMA officials. Twenty boat builders and associated companies are now on board and, during Gold’s term as chairman, 19 corporate members and 10 associate members have been added to the NCMA scrolls.

This growth has helped NCMA remain strong, despite the loss of so many textile industry members, as well as economic woes and the state budget crisis. Credit Gold.

Right place, right time.

BUT BACK to his close call. Gold said his “electrifying experience” — and the events of September 11 less than three weeks later — gave him a newfound perspective. “Absolutely. How could it not?” said Gold, who will turn over the chairmanship this week when the association holds its 96th annual meeting. “Sometimes, we all have felt invincible, but these kinds of incidents open your eyes.”

He certainly thinks twice whenever thunder clouds start to gather, especially if he’s outside. He knows if it happened once, it could happen again. “I’ve had two holes-in-one in my golf career, so I guess lightning can strike the same place twice, and in many fashions,” he said.

ETC.

If you see us headed your way this week, you may want to stand clear. Industry events are bumping butts and falling all over each other this week, and your resident textile scribbler plans to make the rounds to as many as possible. If you see us, chances are good that toothpicks will be holding our blood-shot eyes open, double expressos will be coursing through our veins and our hair will be standing on end. (Shaddup back there; we like it that way.)

Hey, we’re not complaining. Activity in this industry usually means business transactions are in the works.

But go easy on the ol’ hack, will ya? Don’t say you haven’t been warned.

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