Parkdale, Belmont, N.C.
When did you start in the textile industry?
I started my career with Parkdale in September of 1996.
What is your background?
I have been working in textiles for 24 years. I started out as an open-end spinner and have been working in the lab for 21 years. Throughout the years, I have been to many classes to learn how to pinpoint problems in our different processes.
What types of products does your company specifically produce and what types of end products are they used in?
We produce cotton and various blend open end, ring spun and Vortex yarns. Our products go into under garments, socks, pants, shirts, outerwear, military apparel and now face masks. We also have our U.S. Cotton Division that makes health and beauty aids cotton products. They have also assisted in producing swabs for COVID-19 testing.
What does your job mean to you, your family and your community?
As a working mother, Parkdale has provided a comfortable life to my family and me. Parkdale truly believes in “family first.” Therefore, I have been able to attend softball and football games of my children. Not only is Parkdale family oriented, but they also always look for ways to give back to the community. Partnering with the YMCA, multiple schools, hospitals and the United Way and other organizations are some the ways that Parkdale gives back into the community I live in.
What is your role in producing PPE products or inputs for these products for your company?
I am a part of the shipping and receiving team that gets our products to our customers. I also keep up with inventory so we can make sure we keep enough product to serve our customers.
How does it feel to have your company step up to address the PPE shortage during the pandemic?
It is an absolute blessing and an amazing feeling to know that my company stepped up in a time of need. Personally, my husband has Stage 4 COPD under hospice care and my daughter works in the healthcare industry, so I know that it is important to stay safe. My company was able to help in keeping everyone safe. I am so proud that I work for such a caring company that stepped up when the need arose.
Why is it important for textiles to be made/cut and sewn and/or finished in America? Learning about plants closing and knowing how many lives affected by that decision is one of the reason I feel that it is important to keep textiles in America. I also think that it is important to keep textiles in America due to the supply and demand needed within America. We are to help give back to the nation that gives us so much, and Americans need their jobs to provide for themselves and their family.
Parkdale Mills is one of the largest textile companies in the industry. As a result of COVID-19, it had to pivot, adapt and retool its product offerings to meet the new needs created by the pandemic. Their manufacturing footprint allowed them to mass-produce PPE for the United States. Consequently, it was able to large contracts for 3-ply cotton face masks with government agencies and state departments, as well as service essential businesses, several counties, schools and universities.
"Parkdale's vision, flexibility, technology and manufacturing expertise allowed us to pivot our business the way we did. We are fortunate to work for a company that Is capable of reacting this way for the good of its community and associates," said Johanna Pichardo, Parkdale PPE manager.