Unifi, Inc., Yadkinville, N.C.
When did you start in the textile industry?
I started in 1962. I’ve been working in textiles since I was 18. I began my career working at Hanes in Winston-Salem, N.C. Then I worked at Narrow Fabrics in Advance, N.C. When Mr. (Allen) Mebane built the Unifi plant in Yadkinville, I worked there the very first night, working third shift in creeling. I eventually moved to quality control, where I’ve been ever since. Next year, I will celebrate my 50th anniversary with Unifi.
What is your background?
I am a statistician and I ensure quality control across all departments at the Yadkinville plant, including R&D, machinery and knitting.
What types of products does your company specifically produce and what types of end products are they used in?
Unifi, Inc. is a global textile solutions provider and one of the world's leading innovators in manufacturing synthetic and recycled performance fibers. Through REPREVE®, one of Unifi's proprietary technologies and the global leader in branded recycled performance fibers, Unifi has transformed more than 20 billion plastic bottles into recycled fiber for new apparel, footwear, home goods and other consumer products.
What does your job mean to you, your family and your community?
When Unifi came to Yadkinville in 1971, it was a very small town. Unifi changed the lives of so many people when it came to this area. Even now, we’ve created 1,000 or more jobs and the company is still hiring. Most of the people that work here live in Yadkin County.
What is your role in producing PPE products or inputs for these products for your company?
The yarn that is made here at Unifi goes into hospital masks, gowns and other PPE products. Through my work in quality control, I ensure that all of the yarn we make meets all of the critical standards that have to go into making the gowns and masks.
How does it feel to have your company step up to address the PPE shortage during the pandemic?
It makes me very proud to work for a company that has shifted gears in a time where essential PPE materials are extremely needed. Everyone at Unifi has stepped up to make these materials, and we’ve also taken big steps to help reduce the spread of the disease.
Why is it important for textiles to be made/cut and sewn and/or finished in America?
By making our products here, we are able to meet the standards that our customers need and depend on. By making our products here in the U.S., it allows for a more efficient and faster supply chain that’s able to reach our customers more quickly, getting them the top quality products they need.
Unifi continues to supply yarns and fibers to more than 100 companies that are producing the masks, gowns and other personal protective equipment needed by our first responders, medical personnel and military during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have customers actively engaged in the fight against COVID-19,” said CEO Eddie Ingle. "We’re proud that our company is playing a part in that fight by providing the fiber they need.”
Unifi’s fiber is an essential ingredient in the production of hundreds of critical components and products including masks, gowns, sewing thread for gowns, sterile wipes, drapes and elastics for masks and face shields.