Specialty Fabrics Review April 2024 - 18

[ BRIEFS ] swatches
2024 MFA Conference: lively and invaluable
T
he 2024 Marine Fabricators Conference that took place Jan. 25-27 in St.
Pete Beach, Fla., was bustling with energy, creativity and goodwill. With a
total of 315 registrants, 65 first-time participants and 52 exhibitors, veterans
and newcomers alike enjoyed the buzzing show floor, well-attended education
sessions and special networking events that included a Fabricator Olympics
(kudos to winner Jess Flegel, Oyster Creek Canvas), an impressive shop tour of
Awning Works and an over-the-top beach-side costume party.
First-time attendee Tina Heaston of NautiLoft Custom Canvas LLC in Punta
Gorda, Fla., says she particularly enjoyed the roundtable discussions, which
involved moving among different groups to discuss topics such as small tools,
employee retention, upholstery and digital technology.
" Meeting everyone and networking was key, " says Heaston. " Learning so
many different topics in a short burst of time was invaluable to me. "
As for what she would say to someone on the fence about going to next year's
conference, " I'd say 'Do it!' The information and networking that you'll receive
will do nothing but help you and your business. The cost, time lost in the
shop and the energy can be reproduced with your newly found friends in your
networking pool. The knowledge, speed and the confidence that you gain from
the classes can only benefit you in the long run! "
Second-year attendee Annie Mahle, owner of Georges River Canvas in
Rockland, Maine, says this conference was very special due to the participation
of veteran Australian fabricator David Elliott. " He's a legend, " says Mahle, who
vows to attend the conference each year going forward " for the sake of my
business and in support of our collective good work. "
Kentwool Co., a wool yarn manufacturing
company, celebrates 180 years in
business, spanning five generations of
Kent family ownership. Founded in 1843,
Kentwool, formerly known as The Kent
Manufacturing Co., has played a role
in monumental moments in American
history, manufacturing uniforms for the
Union Army in the American Civil War and
supplying the U.S. Armed Forces during
both world wars.
In an effort to encompass a broader
scope within the textiles industry, the
members of the Outdoor Fabric Products
Association of New Zealand voted to
change the association's name to the
Advanced Textiles Association-New
Zealand (ATA-NZ).
18 SPECIALTY FABRICS REVIEW / April 2024
Web Industries Inc., a global
manufacturing partner in the aerospace,
medical, personal and home care,
and industrial markets based in
Marlborough, Mass., has named Megan
Glidden as chief financial officer. Glidden
comes to Web Industries from Shirley,
Mass.-based Bemis Associates Inc., a
privately owned manufacturer.
HEYtex USA announced that effective
immediately, Mitch Sanner will succeed
Mike Melton as the company's CEO as
Melton begins to shift to retirement.
Melton will stay on for the next year and
report to Sanner. Additionally, Randy
Kesterson will begin working at HEYtex
USA as interim COO.
IN MEMORIAM
Robert " Bob " McGilvray Jr., of Hull,
Mass., passed away at the age of 68
on Christmas Day 2023, after a long
illness. His career began in the marine
industry in the 1980s, and eventually he
became the general manager of the U.S.
office and distribution center of Serge
Ferrari USA, in the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.,
area. He was a member of the Marine
Fabricators Association and Industrial
Fabrics Association International, among
others. In lieu of flowers, donations can
be made to the Alzheimer's Association.
NASA has selected 12 companies to
provide research, engineering and
mission integration services for the
International Space Station (ISS) program,
including Aegis Aerospace Inc. The $478
million Research, Engineering & Mission
Integration Services-2 or REMIS-2
contract will support the work of the ISS
program based at NASA's Johnson Space
Center in Houston, Texas.
The Tranzonic Companies, a
manufacturer of personal care and
protection, contamination control, and
cleaning products, has named Joe
Vitale to the newly created role of chief
corporate development officer. Vitale
will provide strategic direction and
leadership as the business expands
through acquisitions, investments and
partnerships and will collaborate with
executive leadership on company strategy.
Haelixa, a provider of physical
traceability solutions, announced the
appointment of a new CEO, Patrick
Strumpf, and the addition of Stefan
Karlen to the board of directors.

Specialty Fabrics Review April 2024

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