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Specialty Fabrics Review interviews Marc Shellshear, senior vice president of USA SHADE & Fabric Structures

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How did your nickname “Dr. Shade” come about?

I don’t remember exactly how it started but, like many, I’ve been in the industry a long time. And though much of my focus now is on sales, I know a lot about the technical side of the business as well. People around here have fun with it and say things like: “If you want to know anything about shade, talk to Dr. Shade. He can tell you where to get purple shade cloth if that’s what you want.”

What are your thoughts on the benefits of diversification vs. a tight product focus?

There are benefits to both approaches, but for us, we have decided to have two extremely focused areas. At times I have been tempted to entertain taking on a project that is outside of our scope of work, but one of my mentors [George Ochs] would reign me in and say: “We can do that, but we don’t because it would take focus away from what we do so well.”

Sigrid Tornquist is a freelance author and editor based in St. Paul, Minn. She is also the associate editor of InTents magazine, a publication of the Industrial Fabrics Association International.

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