Sandy Sturner is the managing director of Marine Tech LLC, a St. Thomas, Virgin Islands-based sail and canvas shop that thrives on challenging and unusual projects. Established in 1999, Marine Tech focuses during the winter “high” season on marine canvas with an emphasis on mega-yachts, and during the balance of the year concentrates on awning …

I went to school with many kids whose parents had businesses, and they thought that just because their parents ran a successful business, they could just step in and be successful as well,” says Blair Belluomo, owner and president of Belle Isle Awning in Roseville, Mich. “So many of them failed because they hadn’t had other …

Bea Heinz, owner of Jefferson Tent & Awning Co., St. Louis, Mo., has a bit of experience in the custom canvas industry—51 years to be exact. Established in 1911, the majority of Jefferson Tent & Awning’s business consists of the custom manufacture of commercial and residential canvas awnings as well as all types of canvas …

Debbie Lacy, general manager of The House of Canvas Inc., Glendale, Ariz., takes pride in her family owned and operated custom awning business. From residential and commercial window awnings to shade screens and roll curtains, everything from start to finish is done in-house. Here, Lacy shares her thoughts about the business, her predictions for the …

Internship programs are an untapped resource for finding the next generation of leaders for specialty fabrics businesses. After decades of building businesses within the textile industry, entrepreneurial baby boomers are entering a new phase of life. As CEOs, business owners and managers consider transitioning out of their leadership positions, they’re dealing with a lot of …

Training staff to be empowered, involved and empathetic means success in the present and in the future. Although it was years away—10 to be exact—from when Jerry Grimaud, president of Lawrence Fabric & Metal Structures Inc., St. Louis, Mo., became the company’s sole owner in 2005, he didn’t waste any time considering an exit plan. …

Mal Maher is the CEO of NC Carpet Binding & Equipment Corp., a Newark, N.J.-based company that manufactures machinery and offers supplies for the flooring trade. Founded in 1947 by his uncle and grandfather, Maher got his start in the family owned and operated business in 2000. Here, Maher shares his thoughts about production challenges, …

How to determine if an employee stock ownership plan is right for your company. An exit plan is generally not at the forefront of a company owner’s mind, especially at the height of career success, but it’s no less important than any other business strategy. When the time comes to step down, a comprehensive exit …

From RFID to GPS, Mike Holland uses all the newest tools to keep Chattanooga Tent Co. at the leading edge. “We embrace technology here,” says Mike Holland, president of Chattanooga Tent Co., Chattanooga, Tenn. “Especially when it comes to material handling, we’re always looking for anything that can help us work smarter and be more …

Anton van Druten’s knowledge of the stretch tent industry spans the globe, literally. As owner of Swift Tents, a Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada-based business that specializes in the installation of stretch tents and in the training of riggers and event crews, van Druten became familiar with the tent industry while living in South Africa. Here, …