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Specialty Fabrics Review interviews Michael König, owner of Sunshade Group NZ Ltd.

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What are your duties as president of OFPANZ?

First, we make sure everything works well and the organization continues to thrive. More specifically, we are working with IFAI on constructing a new website and are reviewing the constitution of the organization to make sure it is meeting the needs of its members. For the association to survive, members must see value in belonging; they must recognize a return on their membership—be it through meetings or conferences, education, publications like Specialty Fabrics Review or just plain networking. In June OFPANZ will celebrate its 25th anniversary, so we’re also planning celebrations for that.

The Sunshade Group NZ and subsidiaries manufacture more than shade products. What other types of projects do you work on?

Because New Zealand’s population base is so small it’s important that we be able to do a little bit of everything—auto upholstery, marine covers, enhancing outdoor living areas, to huge shade structures and many one-off projects in between. Recently we received a call from a woman whose roof-mounted solar hot water heating system was overheating. We created a system so she could pull a cover over the solar panels when it gets too hot and open it up again when she needs more solar heat. We’d never done anything like that before or seen anything like it, but our production manager sat down and figured out how to do it. We take pleasure in taking a problem, sitting down and finding a way to solve it.

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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