Annual Networking Conference
BURSTING AT THE SEAMS
Members turn out in force for long-awaited in-person event
Posted October 7, 2021
By Devin Steele
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – Nearly 100 members attended SEAMS’ annual Networking Conference here last month, its first in-person event in nearly two years.
Attendees heard from a plethora of dynamic speakers, including keynoter Al Carey, executive chairman at Unifi, Inc. and former CEO of Pepsico North America; keynoter Bayard Winthrop, founder & CEO of clothing brand American Giant (virtually); Ram Sareen, CEO and founder of technology solutions provider Tukatech; Claire Crunk, founder of Trace Femcare and Southeast Hemp Fiber; Scott Gutche, senior director of U.S. Sourcing and Manufacturing for Walmart (via video); and Material Return’s Bob Carswell, research and development director, and Patrick McClure, enterprise manager.
Also, an open forum discussion focused on the difficulties the industry is facing regarding recruiting, hiring, training and retaining employees. Jill Coleman, vice president of Global Business Development and Sales at Motif, moderated the engaging, informative session.
During the Business Sessions, officer and board member elections were announced, and SEAMS, with strategic partner the Reshoring Initiative®, announced winners of the 2021 Sewn Products National Reshoring Awards. Plus, the association presented its highest honor, the Sarah Friedman Award.
Officers, directors elected
SEAMS’ President Jeoff Bodenhorst Jr., president of LACorp (Lebanon Apparel Corp.), Lebanon, Va., will conclude his two-year term on December 31. He will be succeeded by newly elected Ron Roach, president of Contempora Fabrics, Lumberton, N.C. Elected vice president was Britt Moore, director of Customer Services at Minnesota Knitting Mills, Mendota Heights, Minn., while Brent Jones, general manager at Henderson Machinery Co., Greensboro, N.C., was tapped secretary/treasurer.
Elected directors were Wayne Wilson, Prime Medical, Largo, Fla.; Dennis Jackson, Venus Group, Fort Lawn, S.C.; Mindy Martell, Clothier Design Source, St Paul, Minn,; Susana Almack, Almack Liners, Chatsworth, Calif.; and Marty Bailey, TSG Apparel, Long Beach, Calif.
Elected Supplier Directors to serve three-year terms were Ryan Smith, Printcraft Company, Inc, Lexington, N.C.; Stacey Bridges, Carolina Cotton Works, Inc., Gaffney, S.C.; and Jim Hopkins, Hamrick Mills, Inc, Gaffney, S.C. Board Members not up for election for 2022 included Bodenhorst Jr., ex-officio; Tanya Wade, education director, Manufacturing Solutions Center, Conover, N.C.; and Alex Whitley, supplier director, Contempora Fabrics, Lumberton, N.C.
Sewn Products National Reshoring Awards
Venus Group, based in Foothill Ranch, Calif., with additional cut-and-sew operations in Fort Lawn, S.C., was presented with the Cut & Sew Manufacturers Award. Soft-Tex International, based in Waterford, N.Y., was presented the esteemed Brand Award for its fiber and hybrid pillows, memory foam pillows and mattress topper products.
The winners represent progressive companies focused on the made-in-America movement supporting the economy and bringing production of goods back to the country.
“SEAMS is thrilled to partner on this award and be able to celebrate our winners at our annual conference with their peers and colleagues in attendance after a very difficult year in 2020,” said Will Duncan, executive director, SEAMS. “Our membership not only continues to grow but grows stronger. These winners represent all of our members focused on the made-in-America movement with SEAMS.”
Editor’s note: Yours truly was presented the Sarah Friedman Award, named in honor of the former executive director who helped transform the association from a small, regional apparel manufacturing group into the widely recognized national association for the sewn products industry. I handle SEAMS’ social media and newsletter content and am truly honored to have received this award.
Please click on photos below to read full summaries of speakers.
Contempora Fabrics produced custom, polo-style knit shirts to give to attendees.
See more photos below