Outlook Conference 2010 presents growth opportunities

(Roseville, MN - May 24, 2010)--The 120 attendees from major companies in the specialty fabrics industry heard good news from Colonel Kurt D. Wilson. He was one of the speakers at the Outlook Conference 2010 at Pinehurst, NC, presented by the United States Industrial Fabrics Institute (USIFI) and the Narrow Fabrics Institute (NFI). Outlook Conference is the premiere leadership forum for the industry.

According to Colonel Wilson, "The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP) military shelter procurement for tents will stay with C + T (Clothing and Textiles) rather than moving to the Construction and Engineering (C + E) goup." The industry had pushed for this since they felt that C + E was less familiar with engineered fabric requirements for sophisticated shelters as is Clothing and Textiles.

Conference attendees were given a somewhat rosier picture for the specialty fabrics industry this year than they received in past years.

Dr. John Connaughton, University of North Carolina-Charlotte (at left), told the group that pent up consumer demand and slowly-growing consumer confidence will fuel some improvement in 2010 along with continued low interest rates and improving job growth.

The flies in the ointment, however, are the long-term nature of modern recession recovery (probably twice as long for this recession as the recovery following the 1982 recession) and the difficulty in obtaining business and consumer credit.

The tight credit market can be attributed in part to the rise in excess bank reserves brought about by government actions in the bank closures of 2008. As Dr. Connaughton said, "Until the banks quit stock-piling cash in their vaults, the recession recovery will continue at its slow pace. His advice: Borrow now if you can, because three to four percent inflation is coming.

The two-day annual Outlook Conference attracts decision-makers from the entire industrial fabrics industry. Each year the program includes forecasts about fiber and market economics, with Alasdair Carmichael of PCI Fibres on hand again this year to point out trends in the specialty fiber markets. David Hart from PCI Fibres, UK, also addressed specific market forecasts.Hart predicted that fine denier polyester and nylon filament products have a better growth opportunity for U.S. companies because Asia isn't as sophisticated in the manufacture of fine denier filament.

Panelists Auggie Tantillo, Executive Director of AMTAC (American Manufacturing Trade Coalition), Cass Johnson, President of NCTO (National Council of Textile Organizations), and Steve Lamar, Executive Vice President of AAFA (American Apparel and Foortwear Association), discussed legislative and trade actions affecting the technical textile industry.

First-time attendee Debra Aperfine, President of Chameleon International, LLC, said, "I learned so much this past week. I could not believe all the information being poured out in such a short amount of time. The speakers were phenomenal, and it was amazing to make so many new contacts. You can count us in for all future Outlook Conferences." IFAI Board of Director member and President of TriVantage Steve Ellington concurred saying, "Excellent program, excellent location, and excellent value--on point with industry needs and advocacy."

Outlook Conference 2011 will be held May 2-3, 2011, at The Greenbrier, in White Sulphur Springs, WV.

Outlook Conference 2010 Sponsors:

The Outlook Conference is a joint effort of the U.S. Industrial Fabrics Institute (USIFI) and the Narrow Fabrics Institute (NFI), both divisions of the Industrial Fabrics Association International. The program centers on economic, legislative and trade and business drivers affecting the specialty textile industry. The two-day annual event is held in the Southeast region of the U.S., allowing many companies easy access to the program.

The Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI), is the largest specialty fabrics trade organization in the world. IFAI publishes seven market-specific magazines in print and online, organizes major industry events, and through hundreds of activities supports the success of 2,000 member companies located in over 58 countries.