Outlook Conference 2023: Successfully connects U.S Manufacturers and Fabricators

Outlook Conference 2023: Successfully connects U.S Manufacturers and Fabricators

Roseville, MN, May 23, 2023 – Textile industry professionals converged on the up-and-coming, textile-rich city of Greenville, S.C., April 30-May 2 for three days of networking, information gathering and activities during the Advanced Textile Association’s (ATA’s) annual OUTLOOK® Conference.

Organized by the ATA Dvision, United States Industrial and Narrow Fabrics Institute (USINFI) and with additional programming by the Military and Geosynthetic Materials Association (GMA) divisions, the event attracted nearly 100 attendees to the historic Westin Poinsett. A day and a half of informative business sessions were filled with knowledge and idea exchange as well as insights from various thought leaders in their areas of expertise.

Aside from business, attendees were able to attend a minor-league baseball game, participate in a golf tournament and stroll the bustling streets of downtown Greenville on a guided walking tour for foodies and history buffs that featured stunning views of the picturesque Reedy River falls. Greenville, which once boasted 19 textile mills and thousands of employees who called the mill villages home, still honors its textile heritage with a mural on the side of a three-story building downtown recognizing the city as the “Textile Center of the World.”

“I think we accomplished our goals for the conference,” said USINFI Chair Bob Hancuff of Burlan Manufacturing, Gastonia, N.C. “We wanted everyone to come away with something valuable, whether a new industry insight or personal connection with a colleague. I was personally able to do both.”

He added: “The educational programs were well above average. We had a solid set of programs that were able to reach all segments of our specialty fabrics membership.”

The first morning featured Military Sessions that ran concurrently with Infrastructure Sessions, which preceded an afternoon covering updates on Washington policy, a leadership panel and an interactive discussion on leading through uncertain times. Supply chain logistics, a fiber market update and an economic overview highlighted Day 2.

“My colleagues and I found the Military Sessions enlightening, with discussions surrounding current market challenges and opportunities,” said Karli Wolf, Trelleborg Business Development Manager, Government & Defense, Rutherfordton, N.C. “Networking with key executives and experts across industries was equally beneficial. ATA events continue to provide excellent platforms for discussion, debate and building connections.”

Greenville local Mike Alexander, vice president & general manager of industry supplier Frankl & Thomas, said the event left him energized and optimistic about the future of the industry.

“I enjoyed another OUTLOOK, and I always come away impressed,” he said. “It was a great conference. I learn something each time I attend, and the networking and fellowship among members are outstanding.”

Added Jeff Sponseller, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Miller Weldmaster, Navarre, Ohio: “OUTLOOK is an inspiring opportunity to share expertise that empowers all of us to shape the future of the industrial fabrics industry together.”

Speakers covered a plethora of important topics, including federal trade and policy updates by Auggie Tantillo, president of SRG & Associates and retired president & CEO of the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO). He highlighted the recent USINFI Advocacy Days in Washington, D.C., where 24 separate meetings with elected officials or their staff took place, and legislative developments that included buy-American requirements under the National Defense Authorization Act, China 301 and forced labor issues, the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill and government procurement issues.

For the second year, presenter, Dr. Melissa Furman, MS, DBA, founder and consultant at Career Potential, LLC, captivated the audience with a deep dive into organizational leadership through uncertain times that are occurring at an accelerated pace. During the engaging, interactive session, she provided recommendations and strategies for navigating ongoing challenges such as generational preferences, employee burnout and work productivity, to name a few.

To close out the conference, the highly sought-after Dr. Roger Tutterow, professor of Economics at Kennesaw State University, provided a riveting economic update in his typical homespun manner that mixes hard numbers with humor. Tutterow, who holds the Henssler Financial Endowed Chair and serves as director of the Econometric Center, discussed the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on the retail sector and real estate, prospects for resolution of supply chain and labor market dislocations, the recent upturn in inflation and ongoing changes in Federal Reserve policy changes.

Join us May 5–7, 2024 at Wild Dunes in Isle of Palms, SC for the next OUTLOOK® Conference.

Contact Information

Company: ATA, Advanced Textiles Association