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IFAI Expo 2016

Final Report: IFAI Expo 2016 Draws Near-Record Attendance

Posted October 27, 2016


IFAI Expo 2016, the textile industry's show of record, attracted 5,023 participants to the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, from Oct. 18-21.


Attendees were treated to four days of product demonstrations, education, networking, exhibits and awards recognizing industry achievement.


"We couldn't be happier with this year's Expo," IFAI President/CEO Mary Hennessy said. "Interest in the event has rarely been higher and that's proven by a record-setting number of exhibitors and huge interest in the event from the industry at large."


Attendance at this year's Expo was rivaled only by IFAI's 100th Anniversary event in Boston in 2012. IFAI Expo is the largest display of specialty fabrics and technical textiles in the Americas.


Exhibitors were pleased with the way Expo unfolded.  "It gave us an opportunity to, in a more concentrated way, listen to the customer," said Leib Oehmig, President/COO of Glen Raven Inc. "It's something we really look forward to. For us, it's a slam-dunk."


Attendees had the chance to meet with a record number of exhibitors. "It's a good opportunity to mix with our suppliers, a good time to rub shoulders with others in the industry," said Monte Sharp, President of Sharp's Tarps, Grant's Pass, Oregon, USA, who attended his 32nd consecutive IFAI Expo last week. "Expo helps us to stay on top of was a very good show overall."


Expo highlights included a revamped ShowStopper program which highlighted new products, three times the number of Campfire Session educational opportunities over 2015's show and excellent participation in both the International Achievement Awards (IAA) and Industrial Fabrics Foundation (FF) events. Attendees also had the chance to earn Textile Testing Certificates from North  Carolina State University after complete a spectial testing course.


GeoCharlotte, a single-day geosynthetics program, also drew engineers and exhibitors to Charlotte for a day of education and networking ahead of March 2017's Geotechnical Frontiers event, which will be co-hosted by IFAI.


Attendees also heard from a stable of keynote speakers including business ethics expert Chuck Gallagher, author and marketing executive Linda Kaplan Thaler and former Walt Disney World customer service guru Dennis Snow.


IFAI Expo 2017 will take place in New Orleans, Louisiana  from Sept. 26-29.


For additional information, contact IFAI Marketing Communications Manager Jeff Papas at (651) 225-6933 or by email at

On-Site at the IFAI Expo

Gloria and Mathew Mei of Ling Yang Limited

Day 3: Exhibitors are Happy, All is Well. It was a second day of the exhibition being open and the traffic was steady. First time exhibitors like Gloria and Mathew Mei were very satisfied with the reception to their environmentally-friendly Sileather, an interior and exterior upholstery fabric. The material is made by combining silicone resin with materials such as non-wovens and super-dense woven materials.  End markets for Sileather include marine,outdoor furniture and healthcare. Several US companies were reported to be seeking out distribution arrangements with them. 

Mark Harries and Ted Fetterman of Bally Ribbon Mills

69th Annual International Achievement Award Winners Announced. The winners of the prestigious IFAI International Achievement Awards were announced at the start of the day.Almost 300 entries from 10 countries were received this year for the 42 product categories. Seven major category "Best in Category" winners were highlighted:


     Fabric Structures: Xiangtan BBG Shopping Mall ETFE      Skylight by Shanghai Taiyo Kogyo Co., Ltd.


     Awnings and Canopies: Abdali Mall ETFE Canopies by Covertex Membranes                (Shanghai) Co., Ltd.


     Fabric Environments: NHL Hockey Pucks by Rainier Industries Ltd.


     Marine: Caryali Custom Sofa by Canvas Designers, Inc.


     Tents: Dining Under the Stars by Mahaffey Fabric Structures


     Geosynthetics: Erosion Repair Underneath the Gatun Locks of the Panama Canal        by TenCate Geosynthetics Americas


GeoCharlotte Introduced. New this year was a special one-day event called GeoCharlotte. Designed to promote the upcoming Geotechnical Frontiers event taking place March 12-15, 2017 in Orlando, Fla., USA, the Charlotte conference was targeted for civil engineers and industry suppliers. It featured 10 presentations on geosynthetic applications, plus a table-top exhibition with 19 participating companies. Show management didn't reveal the number of registrants but it looked like about 80-90 delegates. Posted October 20, 2016

Visitors waiting for the show to open.

Day 2: Exhibition Opens/Annual Meeting Held. The IFAI Expo exhibition opened today to a steady good-sized crowd. Athough show management won't release pre-registration figures, it was reportedly one of the highest in years. It took a while to get all the visitors processed when the show opened but by afternoon there was a nice buzz on the filled exhibition hall. The show floor was divided into three sections -- shade, advanced textiles and specialty fabrics. 

On the show floor, Professor Maureen MacGillivray of Central Michigan University delivers a "camp fire" talk on the critical shortage of worker skill training.

Association Leadership Elected. Prior to the exhibition opening, the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI), the owner and organizer of the IFAI Expo, held its membership annual meeting. Newly elected board members were Dennis Bueker, Keyston Brothers (second term), Brian Rowinski, Rainier Industries, LLC, and Roy Chism, The Chism Co. David Segal, Edward Segal Inc., was appointed to fill an unexpired board position.


At the meeting, IFAI announced four new Honored Life Members (HLM), an honor designed for individuals who have shown a commitment to the association. The new HLMs are Tyron (Spooky) Apple, Glen Raven Inc., John Caporaso, Glen Raven Inc., Al Johnson, Glen Raven Inc., and Steven Toth, Glen Raven Inc.


Also revealed at the Annual Meeting were the IFAI Outstanding Volunteers for 2016: Amit Kapoor, First Line Technology, Keith Gardner, Crown Resources LLC, Mike Gatti, Herculite Products Inc., Ron Paratore, Trivantage LLC, and Mark Welander, MFC, Fabricon LLC. Posted October 19, 2016

Student Design Contest Winners

Day 1: Advanced Textiles Student Design Winners Announced. The first day of the IFAI Expo started in Charlotte, N.C., USA, with a series of sessions under the banner of Advanced Textiles (AT). The day ended with a cocktail reception for the participants that included the announcement a team of students from the University of Massachusetts -- Lowell had won the AT Student Design Contest for their project Windhawk Solutions. The project was an inflatable wind-energy system that can generate enough power to eliminate the need for diesel energy in austere environments. Members of the student team were Linda Pratto, Christian Bain, Patrick Anderson, Dana Pierce and William Hallissey.The project was a collaboration with the U.S. Army, Natick Soldier System Center and U.S. Army Belvoir Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center. Posted October 18, 2016


Steve Warner


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Coming Events

  • April 4-5: Meeting Changing Material Flammability Requirements for Ground Transportation, Dearborn, Mich., USA

  • April 11-13: SWIFA 2018 Conference, Addison, Texas, USA

  • April 14-17: ITM 2018, Instanbul, Turkey

  • April 15-18: NetInc 2018, Charlotte, N.C., USA

  • April 19: 117th Scientific Session of the Institute of Textile Science, Montreal, Que., Canada

  • April 24: Smart Fabrics Summit 2018, Washington, D.C., USA

  • April 26-27: SYFA 2018 Spring Conference, Charlotte, N.C., USA

Click here to view the complete technical textiles events calendar that includes show information links.

Report Published on the US Technical Textiles Industry

I am pleased to announce the first part of my report 2018 State of the U.S.Technical Textiles Industry has just been published by Textile World magazine. 


This first part features a general industry overview, plus an evaluation of the status and impact of US trade positions.


The second part, featured in the April/May issue will cover major end markets for technical textiles such as automotive and military.


Click here to go to the Textile World website to read the first part. 


Steve Warner, Publisher

Status of China’s Industrial Textiles Industry

BeaverLake6 Report is pleased to present a new report on the state of China's industrial textiles industry, presented through our exclusive exchange with China Textile magazine. In China's 13th "Five-Year Program" period, industrial textiles are focused on new materials and applications for environmental protection, infrastructure construction, medical treatment and health care, emergency and public safety, and military and civilian integration. Click here to go to the article.

New Dates for ITMA Asia + CITME 2018 Textile Machinery Show

The joint owners of the ITMA Asia + CITME 2018 textile machinery exhibition have announced new dates for the 6th combined showcase to be held at the National Exhibition and Convention Centre in Shanghai, China. The new dates are October 15-19, 2018. According to show owners CEMATEX and Chinese partners, the Sub-Council of Textile Industry, CCPIT (CCPIT-Tex), China Textile Machinery Association (CTMA) and China Exhibition Centre Group Corporation (CIEC), the shift in the exhibition dates is due to a new national initiative, which affected the scheduling of all events at the exhibition center in October. [Note: BeaverLake6 Report is an industry media partner for the show.] Posted February 11, 2018

New Glen Raven CEO Interviewed for Textile World Magazine

CEO Leib Oehmig

In October at the IFAI Expo 2017, I had the opportunity to sit down with -- at the time -- incoming Glen Raven CEO Leib Oehmig for an interview that has now been posted on the Textile World website and will also be in their printed November/December issue.


I've known Mr. Oehmig for probably more than 20 years and have watched his steady management progression within the Glen Raven organization. During the interview, he was very gracious with his time at a busy show and transparent in answering questions on a far-ranging number of topics including the management transition from Alan Gant, Jr., to Mr. Oehmig, the first non-Gant family member to lead Glen Raven. Click here to read the interview and learn more about the thoughts of one of our industry leaders.


Steve Warner


"Buy American" Amendments Needed in US FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act

As the saying goes "Politics make strange bedfellows." Today we find more than one-third of the Senate Democrats urging the inclusion of key amendments in the US FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (2018 NDAA) that would strengthen the US government's "Buy American" policies.


Versions of the NDAA were recently passed by both the Senate and House and a joint committee is working out a single bill. The submitted Senate version, however, left out proposed key amendments designed to prevent the weakening of domestic sourcing for the US military. One amendment included the prevention for lifting of the restrictions in place for domestic sourcing of wearable electronic products and another amendment prevents certain exceptions to the Berry Amendment which would allow non-domestic sourcing through memoranda of agreement with foreign governments.


What's the "strange bedfellows" aspect? Well, "Buy American" is also one of the key positions taken by the Trump administration. So, we have both the Democrats and the Trump administration on the same side, trying to keep strong the US domestic capability for supplying the military. Strange bedfellows given the current political animosity in Washington...but still the cooperation is vital for the US domestic textile industry. 


Steve Warner


Posted November 3, 2017

Is Saving the US Navy's Peacoat a Matter of National Security?

Since last August, the US Navy has been planning to phase out its iconic traditional wool peacoat in favor of a less expensive, synthetic cold weather parka which is lighter in weight and more versatile in types of inclement weather. It actually replaces two types of coats and the seabag the wool coat is stored.


The wool coat, however, has some powerful friends in the US Congress. Companies such as Northwest Woolen Mills in Woonsocket, R.I. and Sterlingware in Boston, Mass. Altogether, the supply chain involved in the manufacture of these woolen peacoats -- including sheep farmers -- is estimated to account for 400 jobs in the Northeast. Add to the drama that the new parka, made by the long-time military supplier Propper, is expected to be manufactured in Puerto Rico, a perceived feeling the new coat will be made by non-American workers. Read more...


Steve Warner


June 29. 2017

President Trump's Reveals 2017 Trade Policy Agenda

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has released President Trump's 2017 Trade Policy Agenda. The document, officially called 2017 Trade Policy Agenda and 2016 Annual Report of the President of the United States on the Trade Agreements Program, outlines the new Administration’s four trade priorities:

  • Defending the US National Sovereignty over Trade Policy
  • Strictly Enforcing US Trade Laws
  • Using Leverage to Open Foreign Markets
  • Negotiating New and Better Trade Deals

​BeaverLake6 Report has created a special page within this website and placed the first chapter of the 336-page document which summarizes the policy. Click here to read it. Posted March 2, 2017

What's the NCTO Game Plan for the Post-TPP Era?

Back on March 24, 2016, I was one of the first to predict the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement was a dead deal. In fact, I said that I wouldn’t be surprised that, if Donald Trump became President, the agreement is shredded on day one of his new administration. Well, I was off by three days. Yesterday, President Trump signed an Executive Order, officially withdrawing the United States from the TPP agreement. Now the question is can the National Council of Textile Organizations put together a comprehensive plan for the domestic textile industry in a post-TPP era? Click here to read the rest. Posted January 25, 2017

Steady Growth Prospects for Expanding Specialty Geosynthetics

There are literally dozens of market reports for the many market sections and subsections within the technical textiles industry. In 2017, BeaverLake6 Report will be introducing a few of these reports to our viewers. The first report being features is The Future of Spcialty Geosynthetics to 2021. It was developed by Smithers Apex, a market research firm based in the United Kingdom. 


In exchange for the promotion, Smithers Apex agreed to write an exclusive expanded executive summary of the market report for our readers. Click here to view the market summary. Posted January 9, 2017

2016 China Textile Innovation Conference Explores the Roads to a Textile Power

Sun Ruizhe

2016 China Textile Innovation Conference, as an annual summit of industry innovation, was held in Beijing on December 12th, 2016. The conference, themed on “New Opportunity, New Advantages, New Vitality” – Stepping Towards a Textile Power, comprehensively summarized the industry innovation achievements and explored the new advantages in development in order to grasp the strategic opportunity of the new round of industrial changes. BeaverLake6 Report is pleased to present a report on the conference via our partnership with China Textile magazine. Please click here. Posted December 21, 2016

In My Opinion

Re-Shoring: Good for the Goose is Not Good for the Gander?

Domestic PFD Manufacturer's Application for FTZ Additional Production Authority Riles Textile Industry Trade Associations. There is a nasty fight taking place these past few months behind the closed doors of Room 48019 at the Herbert C. Hoover Building in Washington, D.C. The room is the office of the Foreign-Trade Zones Board. The fight pits domestic technical textile industry suppliers and a coalition of textile-trade associations against a fairly large domestic end-product cut-and-sew manufacturer. Click here to read the story.


Steve Warner


Media Partners

In My Opinion

In 2015, I posted more than 425 items of interest for our industry on the BeaverLake6 Report website. In reviewing it all last week, it got me to thinking about putting together a list of influential events, news and trends that I observed during the past year. I have focused primarily on the US marketplace but each of “the things that mattered” to me has global implications.


So, here go my thoughts in no particular order of importance. Let me know if you agree or if I have missed some. Click here to read the list.


Steve Warner


Posted January 17, 2016

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Secretary Gary Locke, US Dept. of Commerce, and Steve Warner Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Steve Warner

Success in our industry is all about knowledge, integrity and developing relationships. BeaverLake6 Group, LLC, publisher of BeaverLake6 Report, is a management consulting firm focused on helping businesses understand the complex global technical textiles industry.


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