Process improvement manager
Carolina Cotton Works, Gaffney, S.C.
When did you start in the textile industry?
I started my journey in the textile industry four-and-a-half years ago.
What is your background?
I started as a quality inspector. From this point I was promoted to team lead. Not long after I was advanced to be a floor production supervisor. I am now a process improvement manager.
What types of products does your company specifically produce and what types of end products are they used in?
Our company produces finished fabrics ranging anywhere from 100% cotton, polys, wovens and many more. Our end products range from T-shirts to the automotive upholstery. Also during this pandemic we have been finishing fabric to be used in face masks, hospital gowns and military applications.
What does your job mean to you, your family and your community?
My job means absolutely everything to me. I am able to provide for my family. We provide jobs for many people in our community. CCW is an all-around great place to work.
What is your role in producing PPE products or inputs for these products for your company?
My role is process improvement. I follow each process on new samples to develop a first quality end result.
How does it feel to have your company step up to address the PPE shortage during the pandemic?
I am proud to be working with a company that is helping provide needed products for our country. It feels great to be able to help produce fabric that is potentially lifesaving.
Why is it important for textiles to be made/cut and sewn and/or finished in America?
Not only having textiles back in America strengthens our economy, but it also helps with rapid distribution of products, especially during a pandemic.
As the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread exponentially, Carolina Cotton Works (CCW) knew it must step up to shift its operations into a PPE focus. CCW, a specialty dyeing and finishing operation, has spent much of its time during the pandemic processing fabrics for masks, gowns and scrubs in various constructions, including cotton, blends and 100 percent polyester, and composed of spun and filament yarns. Some are being infused with antimicrobial and DWR (durable water repellent) ingredients.
“We had to pivot and come up with a new set of fabrics,” said Sales Manager Stacey Bridges. “We knew the market needed masks, gowns and scrubs quickly. With all of these being new fabrics, we did not know what to expect. Our chemical vendors were instrumental in taking a large greige bank of apparel fabrics and turning them into PPE fabrics with DWR and antimicrobial treatments. We could not have done it without our current brands and chemical suppliers.”