STA Virtual Annual Meeting
Membership rolls reach highest mark since 2001
Posted July 9, 2020
By Devin Steele (DSteele@eTextileCommunications.com)
During a first-of-its-kind gathering in the 112-year history of the Southern Textile Association (STA) amid the COVID-19 crisis, awards were presented and officers were elected via a virtual Annual Meeting on June 30.
Despite the global pandemic, it was announced that the association has reached the 519-member mark – its highest membership numbers since 2001.
Rick Carpenter of Conitex Sonoco USA was elected president by the STA Board of Governors, replacing Matt Shannon of Greenwood Mills, who was elevated to board chairman, Past President Mike Kingsmore of Hi-Tech Chemical announced in his report of the Nominating Committee.
Cameron Hamrick of Hamrick Mills was elected first vice president and Charles Poston of Klüber Lubrication was elected second vice president. Evans Tindal of Coats North America was voted in as new member-at-large.
Past STA President Jay Self, president & CEO of Greenwood Mills, received the David Clark Award from Ed Cox, STA past president and chairman of the STA Awards Committee and Plant Manager of Burlington Fabrics.
The David Clark Award, named for the founder of STA, honors past presidents of the association who continue to contribute distinguished leadership and service to the group and through it to the textile industry for 10 or more years following their service as president.
Self served as president of STA in 2009-2010 and has been a tremendous supporter of the association, Cox said. He was named president of 131-year-old Greenwood Mills in 2005.
Self joined Greenwood Mills in 1991 and has held several management positions during his career both in the United States and abroad with responsibilities for purchasing, production planning, sales and manufacturing. He is a graduate of Clemson University and holds an MBA from the University of South Carolina.
“STA is where I got my start with this industry, going to meetings at Presbyterian College back in the day,” Self said in accepting the award. “This means a lot to me. The people I’ve met and the connections I’ve made have been invaluable to me. The confidence I gained in myself to lead an organization allowed me, from here, to go on to NCTO (National Council of Textile Organizations) and lead that organization at a time when the Trans-Pacific Partnership was coming through. And thank goodness, that met the demise it did.”
He added: “I still enjoy coming to STA events and supporting the organization and maintaining my connections with everybody in the industry. If we all get up and work hard every day and put in the time, at the end of the day, it’s still the connections that are made. The friendships last longer than any monetary gains that any of us will ever have in our jobs. I appreciate it and I look forward to seeing everybody in person at some point.”
Carpenter was honored by Hamrick, president of Hamrick Mills, with the George Abbott Membership Award, established last year in honor of STA Past President George Abbott, who is retired from Inman Mills and is often referred to as “Mr. STA.” This award is presented each year to the member who recruits the most members.
Carpenter graduated from North Carolina State University with a B.S. in Textile Technology in 1980. After graduation, he went to work with Fieldcrest Mills, which later became Fieldcrest Cannon, one of the largest sheet and towel producers in the world at the time. He spent 19 years in manufacturing management and engineering.
Since 1999, he has been in sales at Conitex Sonoco USA, a worldwide producer of paper carriers for the spinning industry. Their U.S. operations are based out of Gastonia, N.C. He is currently the Sales Manager for the U.S, and Canada.
“That name on the award means the world to me,” Carpenter said in accepting the plaque virtually. “We all work on membership – it’s our lifeblood. I’m not sure how I got credit. It’s a group effort in a lot of ways. But to win an award with George Abbot’s name on it makes it more special. George, thanks for all you do and have done for me and the STA. I’m very proud of this award.”
After his remarks, Shannon said: “Nobody deserves that award more than you. You really are an asset to this organization.”
Chairman Andrew Barker of Matrix Yarns was presented a gavel plaque symbolic of his becoming chairman emeritus and a life member of the Board of Governors.
“I’m very humbled and gracious,” Barker said. “To echo what Jay had said, this is kind of where I got my start. I’m thankful to all of you who I’ve served with and learned from. I could not be more confident in the future of this organization. Thank you to everyone, and to (Secretary/Treasurer) Lillian (Link) as well for keeping us together throughout the years.”
Carpenter announced that the next scheduled meeting, the annual Summer Marketing Forum, also will be virtual. The event will take place each day at the lunch hour the week of August 17-21. For more information, visit Southerntextile.org.