Fabricators pivot, persevere and prosper

April 1, 2021

COVID-19 made an abrupt entrance in 2020, catching almost everyone off guard. It quickly became clear that waiting it out wasn’t an option for most businesses. Many pivoted, looked for opportunities and took calculated risks to keep their employees working and the bottom line healthy during what has proved to be a challenging, unpredictable and, …

A ‘mixed bag’ for U.S. textile manufacturing

The year 2020 was not a particularly good period to assess the health of the U.S. textile manufacturing industry—or, for that matter, many other types of industries. But industry participants report that the optimism manufacturers felt at the beginning of the year was still there at the end, despite the havoc wreaked by the pandemic.  …

The textile industry finds a path forward

by Pamela Mills-Senn California was the first U.S. state to issue a statewide stay-at-home order because of the spreading pandemic, and with that decision, Jonathan Palmer, CEO of Grass Valley, Calif.-based Autometrix Inc., became one of many business leaders navigating a company through uncharted waters.  “We had several customers who were waiting for us to …

COVID-19 survey: Labor and supply chain challenges dominate pandemic struggles

More than a year after the declaration of a global pandemic, it’s no surprise that a majority of companies in the industrial fabrics industry were negatively affected by the events of 2020. But the struggles were uneven, with some companies pivoting to new markets and others experiencing a positive effect. Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) …

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Managing remote workers

March 1, 2021

Ways for both managers and employees to reap the benefits of remote work. by Lin Grensing-Pophal In 2020 the world suddenly changed for all of us. Impacted by COVID-19, companies around the country and around the world found themselves forced to consider an option that many had formally eschewed—remote work. While remote work, aka telecommuting, …

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Women on overcoming challenges and bringing innovation to the textile industry

Three noteworthy innovators drive the textile industry forward with imagination, tenacity and expertise.  Innovation and creativity in the world of textiles are always worthy of attention. But because the textile industry—like so many others—has been dominated by men, the contributions of women have often gone unnoticed. Women have always participated in and led the textile …

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Pandemic demand drives shade market

Pent-up pandemic demand drives surprising economic growth and environmental innovation in the shade market. by Jeff Moravec  For many businesses, just keeping the doors open was a challenge in 2020. But for many shade fabricators and manufacturers, as the year progressed, the shade market heated up, and business became surprisingly good. Pandemic-related projects—including those related …

Matthew Dickerson: Daring to succeed

February 1, 2021

Matthew Dickerson took a chance on shade sails and succeeded—by welcoming failure and hard work while chasing goals.   by Holly Eamon A 6-by-4-inch yellow paint chip sits in a shadow box on the office wall of Matthew Dickerson, president and CEO of Tenshon, a shade sail manufacturer in Mesa, Ariz. More than a conversation …

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Closing the gaps in the textile supply chain

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased textile supply chain pressures, requiring companies to adopt creative strategies to keep materials and products moving.  by Pamela Mills-Senn With many moving parts, the textile supply chain requires hiccup-free involvement from entities up and down the line to ensure it functions properly. But with something so complex, the chain is …

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Shade around the world: custom canopy projects

Wherever the sun shines, people need shade. These recent canopy projects from around the world fulfill that mission with inspired design and expert execution.  by Jeff Moravec Custom canopy projects can present unique challenges to their creators, but that’s a reason many designers, fabricators and installers enjoy them. These projects give them a chance to …