Elba Torres


Creative Ticking, Gastonia, N.C.

When did you start in the textile industry?

My passion for fabrics and sewing started at an early age. My introduction and focused study on the craft began during my years at Evay Patria Custodio Franklin High School in Las Marias, Puerto Rico back in 1985.


What is your background?

I have a varied background and have worked with many types of fabrics. After receiving my education, my first job, which lasted 15 years, was working with denim and making jeans. I later gained experience sewing women’s intimate apparel and understanding how to work with knitwear and more delicate cloth. I have even constructed military fabrics like backpacks and jackets to protect servicemen. I have also worked specifically with yarn and spinning. Along the way, I have gained so much knowledge of textiles and yarns, and also a strong understanding of all the machinery that goes along with it.  


What types of products does your company specifically produce and what types of end products are they used in?

Along with the recent mask project and PPE equipment, Creative Ticking cuts and sews items for the bedding marketplace and mattress manufacturers. We create so many items here like mattress covers, pillows, sheeting and any other bedding product you can think of!  


What does your job mean to you, your family and your community?

My job is so much more than a job, it has helped direct my life path. I see how my experience has brought me to where I am today! I have a great passion for what I do because I know it helps so many people around the world. If they are benefitting from the sleep products we make or being protected by a mask, then it is a great joy for me. I know my family sees how just one person can impact so many, simply by doing what they love. I feel like my life was a culmination to be a part of this team and be of service.


What is your role in producing PPE products or inputs for these products for your company?

When the masks were first needed, many things had to be planned for in the beginning like mask design, machine types and how to go through the general process. I started by working with my supervisor, George Jimerson, to prototype and fine-tune the products. The masks also had to be designed in a way that best utilized our machines and operators efficiently. We developed a process, and then I trained all operators on the new machinery.

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How does it feel to have your company step up to address the PPE shortage during the pandemic?

Looking back, I feel extremely proud and satisfied. There were very difficult moments and long days. And, in those moments I am so thankful that none of us ever got sick. I really thank God for the ability and experience to help and be a part of the team during this time. It was not really my hands, it was God’s. I simply shared!


Why is it important for textiles to be made/cut and sewn and/or finished in America?

Well, I can answer from my perspective. At first, when I came to the U.S., it was difficult to find work in my profession because many companies go out of the country for this type of work and craft. Here, they do not, and I am thankful for this. Plus, we make so many different products and it keeps me pleased and excited to come to work every day!

Creative Ticking's efforts


In March, Beverly Knits and its partner companies, Creative Ticking and Altus Finishing, began working with other U.S. manufacturers to make face masks for the Department of Health and Human Services in an effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The Beverly Knits companies, along with industry partners, increased fabric manufacturing and cut-and-sew production in order to deliver 20 million face masks by the required deadline.


“Producing 20 million masks was an incredible challenge, but all of the employees within our companies stepped up and met the deadline,” said Ron Sytz, owner of Beverly Knits, Creative Ticking and Altus Finishing. “We are proud of the efforts of our employees as well as our contribution to keep our country safe.”