Meet the members of IFAI and hear about the benefits of membership in their own words. Members come from all over the world and from every market segment, and each brings a unique view on the industry.
A hands-on approach: Mike Kallas, Roeming Industries
Mike Kallas’ penchant for problem solving and process building helps Roeming Industries successfully navigate change.
"It’s important to be a part of something larger than my company for the common good of the industry. IFAI provides opportunities to continually develop knowledge, which is especially valuable for people newer to the industry like myself. I’m constantly learning and growing, and IFAI has been a big part of that growth."
A focus on what we do best: Greg Keeler, Oyster Creek Canvas Co.
How Greg Keeler turned a harborside whim into a high-end marine shop.
"Our claim to fame is our culture—it’s a really fun place to work. It helps with employee retention and happiness."
Pride and passion: Hidefumi Araki, Taiyo Kogyo Corporation
Hidefumi Araki’s leadership style emphasizes equality, teamwork and personal growth.
"When you are satisfied with the outcome of a project you forget about the blood, sweat and tears you poured into it."
Exceeding Expectations: Shari Albertson, Austin Canvas & Awning
No challenge is too big—or too small—for Shari Albertson to take on, from million-dollar projects in the middle of a pandemic to proving why she’s the best woman for the job.
"It is important to show grace during this challenging time. We are all just trying to do our best with what is available to us."
Growth Path: Amy Bircher, MMI Textiles Inc.
New IFAI board chair Amy Bircher focuses on improvement, innovation.
"Anybody’s lack of passion or excitement to innovate in our industry were opportunities for us. We exposed good opportunities and gained trust and built relationships with customers and the buyers."
Embracing the unexpected: Matt Carroll, Hoover Architectural Products
Hoover Architectural Products blends fabric, metal
"Opportunities come and go all the time. I’m always asking, ‘Are we positioned to take advantage of good opportunities when they come along?"
Strength in simplicity: Wayne Heflin and Glenn Russell, Cross Canvas Co.
Straightforward product designs and a clear company vision drive success and stability for Cross Canvas Co.
"U.S.-made products don’t work for every budget, but customers turn to us because they know they’ll receive the highest quality and our undivided attention."
The next step: Jeff Newkirk, Precision Custom Canvas
Pushed by the pandemic, Jeff Newkirk envisions a growth plan for Precision Custom Canvas.
"We’ve set ourselves apart as not being everybody’s canvas and upholstery shop, but of serving the middle and upper-end boat markets, with an average boat size of 35 feet or larger. "
Generations of innovation: Donato Fraioli, Air Structures American Technologies Inc. (ASATI)
For more than half a century, ASATI’s Fraioli family has advanced air-supported structure technology.
"There’s no school or textbook where you can learn this stuff. We believe that out of every challenge comes a solution."
Smart moves: Karl Deardorff, SLO Sail and Canvas
Karl Deardorff has combined a love of sailing with strategic decision-making to build SLO Sail and Canvas.
"The way to get control of the outcome is to get control of the process, and the way to do that is to become an expert in that process, which in our business is sewing."
Ready for anything: Scott Sutherland, Olympic Tent/Tacoma Tent & Awning
From tents to rocket covers, Scott Sutherland relishes taking on risks and reaping the rewards.
"I am very proud of creating a sustainable, enjoyable work environment for the next generation by adapting philosophies and processes that lead employees to frequently say, “This is the best place I have ever worked."
Tailored solutions: Monica Stockburger, Salty Cushions
Monica Stockburger combines marine fabrication performance with artistry for the vessels of Alaska’s Kachemak Bay.
"We’re not going to make something that will just get you through one season. We’re going to provide solutions that help you and others enjoy your boat more and motivate you to spend more time there."
Daring to Succeed: Matthew Dickerson, Tenshon
Matthew Dickerson took a chance on shade sails and succeeded—by welcoming failure and hard work while chasing goals.
"I’ve learned to accept that you are going to fail—sometimes marvelously—but you have to keep pushing forward."
Small & Strong: Carolyn Hajek, Pride City Awning & Canvas
Pride City Awning & Canvas founder Carolyn Hajek has built her business on trust and loyalty.
"I took on just about any business that came through the door—anything I could make with a sewing machine."
Innovating for the end user: John Delaloye, Diamond Brand Gear
John Delaloye combines Diamond Brand Gear’s history and reputation with a strategy that focuses on doing what lower-priced competitors can’t.
"To some extent, we don’t view ourselves as a traditional outdoors company. Our end users are out for longer stays, they want more durable products, and they’re thinking about different things relative to performance. But our philosophy is that we want everyone to have access to camping, so we want products that aren’t intimidating to anyone. "
Science and art: Barry Adams, Peachtree Awnings
Barry Adams finds his passion in the science and art of leading two growing awning companies.
"We try to be solution sellers. When we go into a sales situation, we look at the problem the customer is trying to solve. If you solve their problem, then you will most definitely have a satisfied customer. "
Strategy for Growth: Jan Kellogg, CCP Manufacturing
Jan Kellogg looks at the big picture for each job that CCP Manufacturing takes on, leading the company into new markets.
"My way of growing the company was that when someone came to us asking for a product, I would evaluate that product, as in, “Does this have scalability? Is this used in a wide range of the marketplace? Is it something we should try to expand upon beyond this one customer?”"
On location: Kevin Greenwood, Stage Tops USA
Stage Tops USA owner/CEO Kevin Greenwood takes his show on the road, manufacturing and installing massive fabric projects for the world’s biggest live events.
"Modern technology is great, but it’s also a hindrance. Too many people rely on a computer. I still draw with my scale ruler. "
The happiness equation: Patrick Howe, Wholesale Shade
For Patrick Howe and Wholesale Shade, high-quality custom shade sails are the product of a happy and efficient workplace.
"The highest level of employee happiness comes from knowing that the job you do is important, that your opinion counts and you are included in the decision-making of the company. "
Restoration specialist: Bob Grambsch, Canvas Replacements/ Camper & Recreation Inc.
Bob Grambsch leads Canvas Replacements in rejuvenating The Trailer camping market with new, high-quality tent tops.
"Back in ’91 or ’92 I would wonder how long this would last—when would we run out of campers to cut and recanvas? It hasn’t happened yet. "