General Manager of the Protective Market, Glen Raven Technical Fabrics
Patti Bates is the General Manager of the Protective market for Glen Raven Technical Fabrics, one of three operating divisions of Glen Raven, Inc. Patti leads all commercial and operational functions related to the company’s GlenGuard® brand of arc-rated/flame-resistant (AR/FR) fabrics, which are used to make protective apparel for industrial applications. Since joining Glen Raven in 1988, Patti has held positions across numerous functional areas including business development, product development, and operations. In addition to her responsibilities as GM, Patti is the Vice Chair of Glen Raven’s Global Strategy Team, and a leader in the company’s mentorship program. Throughout her career, Patti has been active in several industry trade groups and associations, including Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI). She currently serves as the Vice Chair of the United States Industrial Fabrics Institute (USIFI) and as a Representative on the Textiles and Apparel Chapter of the Industry Trade Advisory Committee. Patti holds degrees from Peace College and North Carolina State University and lives in Burlington, NC with her husband, Hal. Patti and Hal have two children, Elizabeth (28) and Robert (23).
Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker and TEDx speaker
Sarah Moshman is an Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker and TEDx speaker whose work has been featured on Upworthy, Marie Claire, CNN, and Good Morning America.
Sarah has worked behind the camera on hits shows like Dancing with the Stars, Top Chef Masters, Minute to Win IT and more.
After directing two short documentaries about female empowerment in young women, (Girls Rock! Chicago (2010) and Growing up Strong: Girls on the Run (2012)) she set out to direct her first feature doc The Empowerment Project: Ordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Things (2014) which has been screened over 700 times around the US and around the world in schools, groups, organizations and corporations starting conversations about gender equality. With Indieflix as the distributor, the film has been sponsored by major brands like Nordstrom, American Girl and Microsoft to spread this message far and wide.
Sarah's second feature doc, Losing Sight of Shore follows the incredible journey of four women who rowed across the Pacific Ocean. The film was released globally in 190 countries on Netflix in May 2017.
Next up she's making a documentary examining sexual harassment in the workplace entitled NEVERTHELESS. Sarah is dedicated to telling stories that uplift, inform and inspire as well as showcasing strong role models on screen and in life!
What is YOUR story?!
Sara provides government consulting services and trade analysis to U.S. manufacturers and associations and works in government relations advocating on behalf of the domestic textile industry. Her work focuses on tracking pending trade initiatives and pressing for strong textile rules in U.S. free trade and preference agreements. Sara represents the United States Industrial Fabrics Institute (USIFI) and Narrow Fabrics Institute (NFI), two divisions of the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI), and the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) as well as serving on the Industry Trade Advisory Committee on Textiles and Clothing (ITAC 13).
It’s never too early to start, and Amy Bircher took that very seriously. At the age of 7, Amy began working at National Dye Works, her parent’s textile dyeing and finishing plant. It was there where she developed a love for the industry and for business. 40 short years later, Amy now owns and operates MMI Textiles, Inc., her own textile firm. Much of her journey came full circle when she purchased NDW in 2007, being able to continue the family business while growing her own.
With a Bachelor of Science degree in Textiles from West Virginia University and proven leadership and experience from sitting on the board of directors of the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) – Amy is determined to stay active in the industry she loves while sharing what she knows with others whenever that opportunity presents itself. She is actively engaged with the students and faculty at her alma mater, where she sponsors a scholarship for those in the textile and fashion merchandising field.
As President and Founder of MMI Textiles, Inc – now celebrating their 22nd year in business – Amy leads her team in sales and product development. She is very passionate about textile innovation and making sure to stay relevant in this ever-changing industry. Amy has filed a design and utility patent for the creation of CTEdge™ - a concealed edge technology used in webbing and tape and within the military and law enforcement markets, and always has product development at the forefront of her yearly goals. She has won the local Northeast Ohio Weatherhead 100 award four years in a row and was a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2016 and 2017.
Amy lives in Bay Village, Ohio with her husband, her son Josh, daughter Sam, and her dog Cubbie. You can find her cheering on whatever WVU or Cleveland sports team is playing, boating on Lake Erie, traveling or enjoying being outdoors.
Head of Technological Innovation - Smart Textiles, CTT Group
Justine Decaens studied in textile engineering in France at Ecole Nationale des Arts et Industries Textiles (ENSAIT). She, then, moved to Canada and continued a Master in Mechanical Engineering at Ecole de Technologie Superieure (ETS). Her Master’s project was led in collaboration with a research center: CTT Group and aimed at the performance evaluation of winter clothing for arctic climate. This study included traditional insulation media but also new active heating technologies, for which a specific test method was developed.
In 2015 she started working as a project leader at CTT Group in the department of smart textiles at CTT Group. She led over 50 R&D projects including some large scale ones. These projects ranged from heating garments, lighting textiles to the integration of all sorts of textile sensors (pressure, heart rate, etc.)
She is now Head of Technological Innovation for Smart Textiles and continues to supervise the developments in smart textiles. She is also part of the ASTM committee for smart textiles standardisation (D13.50) and the head of a task group for market research. She is also very active in the textile community and has a seat on the board of the Institute of Textile Sciences (ITS).
Government Affairs Manager, Unifi Manufacturing, Inc.
A native of North Carolina, Jane began her career in government relations on Capitol Hill working in a Senate press office and later in the House of Representatives as a press secretary. Upon returning to North Carolina, Jane joined Unifi to establish the company’s government relations program.
Jane’s experience has included her service on the Board of Directors for the National Council of Textile Organizations, the U.S. Industrial Fabrics Institute, the North Carolina Forum for Research and Economic Education, and the North Carolina Job Training Partnership Council. Jane currently serves as a member of the President’s Industry Advisory Committee for Textiles and Apparel in Washington.
Kathie Leonard founded AMI in 1979, and is a 100% small woman-owned business with two manufacturing plants in Central Maine, with 50 employees. For over 38 years, the company has specialized in making a wide variety of heat-resistant textile products to save energy and protect people, plant and equipment from fire and extreme heat. Industries served include petroleum, power generation, ship building and repair, metals and automotive -- in maintenance, OEM and construction operations. The company has also patented a modularized insulation kit, designed for use primarily in institutional and commercial HVAC systems to save energy and meet sustainability goals.
Wendy McBay is vice president of marketing for Tensar International Corporation, a global producer of geogrid products, with headquarters in Alpharetta, Georgia, and four manufacturing facilities globally. A two-time graduate of Auburn University, Wendy received her B.S. in Marketing as well as her M.B.A. from there.
Wendy started her career with Acuity Brands Lighting, a global lighting and controls manufacturer, as administrator of the database behind the company’s proprietary ordering system. She subsequently moved into positions of increasing responsibility and diversity, in areas including customer service, market research, pricing management, distributor marketing, marketing communications and channel management. Wendy also became a Six Sigma green belt during a two year assignment implementing Lean Manufacturing in Acuity’s plants and distribution centers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. From there, Wendy continued in construction-related companies, serving as senior director of marketing for Reed Construction Data/CMD and head of North American marketing for Bekaert.
During her two year tenure with Tensar, Wendy has used her passion for customer and market focus to drive marketing priorities that are creating growth for the company. She is currently serving as chair of the Marketing Task force for the Geosynthetics Materials Association, with a goal of increasing industry awareness and usage of all products in the geosynthetics category.
Wendy has been married to her husband, Mark, for twenty years and they have three children: Meredith (14), Austin (11) and Caroline (9). In her free time (if that exists for a working mom), she enjoys running, traveling, spending time with family and watching Auburn football.
Denise and her father worked hand in hand to bring OTEX to where it is today – a solid leader in the manufacture of narrow fabric textiles for the fire/safety, military, industrial and aerospace markets. In 1999, C.M. Offray & Son was nominated for and won the NJ Family Business of the Year award. Since that time, Denise has been a proud member of the NJ Family Business Association and is currently a board member. In 2008, she was promoted to Chief Operating Officer. In 2014, 4th generation Denise A. Offray assumed the role of President & CEO of the privately-held Offray Specialty Narrow Fabrics, Inc.
She is the first female in her family’s proud history to own the company and is certified by the WBENC. Denise is also a member of the WPO.
Under her direction and leadership, the company continues to expand efforts to develop and market products for continued growth in the medical device, outdoor, military, load management, aerospace, static dissipation, e-textile, and composite markets. In 2016, the company went through a complete re-branding. Consistent with this, Denise made the strategic decision to change the name of the Company to OTEX – “O” representing the Offray family name. “Tex” representing the 4 generational family of weavers in the textile industry.
Quality, technology, research & development, service, and continuous improvement are permanent goals paving the way for continuous growth at OTEX Specialty Narrow Fabrics, Inc.
Drawing from her own personal experience, Denise conceived of and patented a revolutionary concept for an all-fibrous breast implant. This innovative device is based on the cell in-growth properties of the artificial vein. After several years of self-funded testing at various prestigious university hospitals; its research findings have been gifted to a pharmaceutical company outside the US who may bring production and utilization of the device to fruition.
Throughout her career, Denise has been in direct contact with customers and suppliers alike, and has had many wonderful experiences that include working with both the White House and State Department, supplying ribbon for various local and national events.
At the start of the Regan Administration and continuing over the following 12 years; Denise was proud to assist in the selection of ribbon decoration requirements for the Congressional Ladies Luncheon held yearly to honor the various Presidents’ wives. The family’s ribbons have also graced the necks of Bronze, Silver and Gold Medal winning athletes at four Olympic games, as well as many Special Olympics events held both nationally and locally.
Additionally over the decades, Offray sponsored a nationally-recognized “Yellow Ribbon” campaign for the Iranian Hostages, a Red Ribbon campaign for Aids Research, a Green Ribbon campaign for Organ Donors, and a Pink Ribbon campaign for Breast Cancer Awareness. Offray ribbons are on permanent display at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, a branch of the Smithsonian Institute.
Robin Ritz is Creative Visionary and Owner at InCord, where she has been a driving force in sales and management for more than ten years. A bi-lingual graduate of Central Connecticut State University, Robin also studied abroad in Leon, Spain and earned her B.A. in International Studies in 1998.
Robin began her journey at InCord in 1996 doing various administrative jobs and established herself full time in 2008 as the Amusement Division Sales Manager. Over the next eight years, Robin helped drive the growth of the division by reaching into new markets and providing excellent customer service.
By 2016, Robin realized even more untapped market potential by grouping the Amusement division with the Sports, Theatre, and Specialty divisions together into InCord Play; the new side of InCord comprised of divisions dedicated to netting solutions relating to fun, adventure, and play. Robin led InCord Play as the Lead Ambassador of Fun, also completing training as a Certified Playground Safety Inspector to help guide InCord Play’s design and product implementation.
As InCord continued to mature and prosper, Robin’s overall leadership role grew to carry on the family business as Creative Visionary and Owner. Drawing from her past experiences abroad and prior work as a Human Resources Director, Robin empowers multi-cultural departments to share constructive ideas and work together to succeed. Robin also shares her teachings as a certified Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach to help employees overcome their challenges and reach their goals through small steps, embracing new ideas and perspectives.
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