To sew or to seal: expanding the toolbox

November 1, 2018

To sew or to seal is a question that some fabricators have answered by gearing their offerings toward products that utilize either the former or the latter, but not both. While this kind of specialization can be a viable and lucrative strategy, expanding the toolbox to incorporate both sewing and sealing can often prove even …

Safety Components puts its business acumen to work for charity

Following the events of 9/11, Joey Underwood, senior vice president of Safety Components in Greenville, S.C., witnessed several neighborhood efforts to raise money for families of the fallen firefighters in New York City. “I remember driving past a bake sale and thinking, ‘We’re in that business—we should do something, too,” he says. Safety Components develops …

Riding the pendulum of industry change: Awnings by Bigley and Hogshire

“We have to be diverse and knowledgeable about the various types of products people are making in the industry,” says Taylor Bigley, co-owner and president of Awnings by Bigley & Hogshire, Hampton Roads, Va. “What’s in demand changes—the pendulum swings each way—and we have to react to it.” The roots of Awnings by Bigley & …

Harold Warner and Dynamic Air Shelters develop larger and tougher inflatable structures

October 1, 2018

“I love the word resilience,” says Harold Warner, majority owner and president of Dynamic Air Shelters in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. “Whether you’re operating on a physical plane or a psychological plane, resilience enables you to deflect danger and harm. What our company has done is expand and elevate the state of inflatable resilience in response …

Fabrics bring museum exhibits to life

Visitors to the new Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson, Miss., are bound to be moved by the multiplicity of impressions, sounds, lights and graphic images that could only be presented with the aid of fabric. “This Little Light of Mine,” the name of the main exhibition at the Jackson museum, aims to immerse visitors …

‘Mass to membrane’ continues to influence the future of architecture

August 1, 2018

Nicholas “Nic” Goldsmith, FAIA, has been a major player for more than 40 years in the development of fabric architecture in North America and around the globe through his leadership of the innovative architectural/engineering firm FTL Design Engineering Studio, based in New York City. I’ve known Nic for more than 20 of those years, and …

SEG graphics find more appeal with architectural clients

Ask average consumers what springs to mind when they hear the words “signs and banners,” and they’ll likely describe wayfinding placards and lengths of logo-imprinted fabric hanging from street poles. And although placards and pennants have their place in the sign and banner arena, this is a market segment with innovative and expanding applications in …

Selling shade, comfort and style

July 1, 2018

Who could have predicted, even 10 years ago, that Amazon would have driven shade and awning companies, let alone everyday retail stores, into changing their operations to meet the demand for overnight response rates? Yet today, more than we’d like to believe, sales behemoths like the online portal Amazon and similar services have taught consumers …

Recruiting the next generation of workers

Labor shortages are real and troubling, but a variety of organizations and manufactures are working on strategies to attract the next generation of workers–getting actively involved with public education and student training and recruitment. The dearth of skilled labor is an increasingly common lament heard from manufacturers of all stripes. It’s not a sudden or …