By Jill Lafferty
Bud Weisbart, vice president of A&R Tarpaulins Inc., refers to himself as a practical idealist. He believes that the people in the specialty fabrics industry have the knowledge and skills to benefit lives around the world, but need to partner with some deep pockets, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to make a difference. Weisbart offers the hypothetical proposal of the tent industry partnering with a larger foundation to address the problem of fabric shelters in Haiti that, after more than a year in use due to the January 2010 earthquake, are falling apart.
“What if through [a foundation’s] resources and our know-how we combined to create subsidiaries of our businesses in Haiti to build and repair tents and fabric shelters,” he suggests. “There are possibilities we should open our minds to pursuing.”