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Summer Marketing Forum

Nearly 100 attend STA’s first in-person event in 19 months

Posted September 29, 2021


BELMONT, N.C. – Nearly 100 U.S. textile industry professionals attended the Southern Textile Association’s (STA’s) annual Summer Marketing Forum at the Textile Technology Center at Gaston College here earlier this month, and almost 20 others watched the event online.


Under the theme, “STRONGER TOGETHER: THE PATH FORWARD – U.S. Textile & Apparel Industry Strengthens Through Sustainability, Innovation, Reinvention,” the forum is STA’s first in-person gathering since February 2020.

STA President Rick Carpenter, sales manager at Conitex Sonoco, Gastonia, N.C., welcomed new members, advised about forthcoming meetings and called a moment of silence for Tommy Ariail, a 60-year STA member and Board of Governors’ member who died in July.


Jim Booterbaugh, president & CEO of National Spinning Co. and longtime emcee of the forum, was his usual entertaining self while holding the mike, especially when giving his annual list of life hacks and fresh jokes and asking attendees to yell the names of college mascots of each speaker.


Ron Roach, president of Contempora Fabrics, Lumberton, N.C., presented "Shifting Gears – Contempora's Pandemic Response.” A circular knitting that supplies fabric to team sports, including Major League Baseball, and other sectors, the company pivoted into Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at the onset of COVID19 and was shipping 300,000 face masks per week at its peak. He explained how Contempora rapidly transitioned through communication and collaboration.


Paige Mullis, brand director at Glen Raven, Inc., covered, “Building a Culture of Innovation for Growth.” With responsibilities including brand development, innovation and community, Mullis is founder of Glen Raven's innovation program, Glen Raven 3.0, The Concept Gallery, Studio and Lab, all resources for activating the next great idea. She offered inspiring and insightful methods the company uses to create an innovate mindset throughout the organization.


Ged King, CEO of the Sales Factory, discussed, “The Consumer After the Vaccines.” The Sales Factory is a brand growth company employing 70 consultants in Raleigh, N.C., and in Greensboro, N.C. An N.C. State graduate and an adjunct professor of practice in the School of Business at Wake Forest University, King discussed consumer and retail trends resulting from the pandemic.


Sara Chester provided insights into the Morganton, N.C.-based Carolina Textile District (CTD), an enterprise of the Industrial Commons, where she serves as executive co-director. CTD is a member-governed and member-driven network of values-aligned textile manufacturers in North and South Carolina. The CTD hosts workshops and programs and provides contacts and resources that help both new and established companies grow and thrive.


Roger Tutterow, Ph.D., professor of Economics at Kennesaw State University and it’s the Henssler Financial Endowed Chair, went over how COVID-19 sidelined the economy. He noted that the recession lasted from February 2020 to May 2020, although it felt like a longer period of time.


“The manufacturing sector did quite well during the pandemic despite the fact it was going into a headwinds against the U.S. dollar,” he said.

Presenting virtually from California was Liz Lipton-McCombie, director of Global Sustainability at Levi Strauss & Company, who covered, “The New Wave of Sustainability: Increasing Consumer Expectations and Transparency.”

The STA is combining its Northern and Southern Division Fall Meetings this year into one meeting, set for October 19 at the Textile Technology Center. Visit www.SouthernTextile.org for more details.


– Devin Steele

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