Crafting shade at Auvents Ombrasole Awning

April 1st, 2019

Ombrasole designs, manufactures and installs awnings of all types for North American climates—many of which feature Emilio Petrongolo’s custom and patented motors. Emilio Petrongolo can trace his fascination with canvas and sewing back to his childhood in Italy, where his grandmother made jute bags for storing wheat. Petrongolo, director of R&D and marketing at Auvents […]

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Going the distance: Rob Kotowski rebuilds the family business

December 1st, 2018

"We don’t anticipate that the completion of a project is the last time we talk with our clients,” says Rob Kotowski, owner and president of Lake Shore Boat Top Co., St. Clair Shores, Mich. “We typically follow up with them a couple of weeks after they’ve taken delivery of their projects to make sure they’re […]

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A commitment to growth: Don Alhanati uses automation and lean manufacturing to ensure market diversity and growth for CustomFab USA

November 1st, 2018

One of the keys to our success is our investment in advanced automated equipment,” says Don Alhanati, founder and president of CustomFab USA in Garden Grove, Calif. “That, and the fact that we have a creative staff. We are always looking at ways to do things smarter.” Alhanati had worked 12 years at a manufacturing […]

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

October 1st, 2018

"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 & […]

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

September 1st, 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 to […]

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Nigel Richings combines a hands-on, solution-minded approach with a vision for excellence to keep Undercover Canvas and Awnings growing

August 1st, 2018

You can either look at challenges and decide you can make things work and get on with it, or you can worry and then panic,” says Nigel Richings, founder and owner of Undercover Canvas and Awnings Inc. in Wildey, Barbados. “It’s one side of the coin or the other. I just don’t get scared. I […]

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Brenda Hagerty and Porcupine Canvas: sales and customer-focused marketing

July 1st, 2018

"Cold calls are a thing of the past,” says Brenda Hagerty, co-owner and president of Porcupine Canvas Manufacturing Ltd. in Boucherville, Quebec, Canada. “Calling someone out of the blue to try to sell them something just doesn’t work in today’s industry. What clients want are our feet on the ground.” Hagerty’s history with Porcupine Canvas […]

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Geoff Kilmer at PhotoWorksGroup matches technology with clients to stay successful

June 1st, 2018

We focus on identifying industries versus just finding customers to generate new business,” says Geoff Kilmer, founder and CEO of PhotoWorksGroup, Charlottesville, Va. “When we specialize in an industry, we become better known within it, which results in more references so we don’t have to sell as hard—and we can concentrate on doing a good […]

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David Murray at Fiesta Tents goes for the gold

March 1st, 2018

Running a business is hard work. There’s always a time when you’ve got to change the way you’re doing things,” says David Murray, founder and president of Fiesta Tents Ltd. in Saint-Laurent, Quebec, Canada. “Every year you have to review your business—you have to review and correct.” The inspiration for starting a business came in […]

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New IFAI chairman Steve Ellington shares his vision for the Industrial Fabrics Association International

November 1st, 2017

With the geopolitical challenges and opportunities the specialty fabrics industry faces, we, as an association, need to make sure that we continue to educate our members and provide them with opportunities,” says Steve Ellington, president of Trivantage LLC, Glen Raven’s distribution and marketing services subsidiary in Glen Raven, N.C. “We need to make sure that […]

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