Shawmut, Burlington, N.C.
When did you start in the textile industry? 1983
What is your background?
I was 17 when I started working here (Glen Raven at the time). I worked in the dye house for a while but have spent the majority of my time in the finishing department.
What types of products does your company specifically produce and what types of end products are they used in?
Rolled goods for automotive interiors, medical, military, filtration and other markets.
What does your job mean to you, your family and your community?
It’s honest work that I enjoy. I like that every day is something different and the opportunities to problem solve. For my family we can provide and live comfortably.
What is your role in producing PPE products or inputs for these products for your company?
I run the tenter frame, where we apply finish and set the characteristics of the fabrics that go into PPE.
How does it feel to have your company step up to address the PPE shortage during the pandemic?
It feels good to be a part of something like that – to be a help. People like to be a part of something, and it’s something different for us.
Why is it important for textiles to be made/cut and sewn and/or finished in America?
Jobs! It allows for us to take care of our families and grandkids, remodel the house, eat what you want to eat, live comfortably. We live by a code of ethics and treat everyone with respect.
Shawmut was quick to pivot from the automotive market to meet the surge in demand for PPE. In a very short time, the company’s operators learned new skills and products as they cross-trained in new departments. The entire supply chain and engineering teams worked quickly to source raw materials and present a product to the plant that could be run efficiently and at high volumes.
“It was an incredible team effort, and allowed Shawmut to supply PPE materials to multiple processors across North America,” said Plant Manager Bill McGowen.
Said Belinda Journigan, manufacturing manager at the Shawmut Park Avenue facility: “We were presented with a new product mix. Though we had a very brief ramp-up period, we conquered. Everybody took pride in producing our medical products because we were able to contribute and continue working. We took pride in the fact that they were made in America.”