First things first. As Mick Jagger once famously sang, “Please allow me to introduce myself.” If I just planted an earworm in your head, I apologize. My name is Tim Goral and I’m the new senior editor at Specialty Fabrics Review. I come to Industrial Fabrics Association International from a long career in business journalism, having worked in such diverse fields as education, outdoor retailing, the hospitality industry and others. The textile industry is a new area for me and, as I’m learning, it’s one that covers a lot of ground, if you’ll pardon the pun. From clothing to shelters, and from decoration to architectural fabric structures, textiles touch on nearly every aspect of our lives in ways that few industries do.
I don’t have to tell you that last year was horrible. Now, as 2021 draws to a close, the industry again has had its share of disruptions—new variants of the coronavirus, nationwide labor shortages and a critical supply chain disruption that echoes 2020—but it has adapted, it has retooled and, importantly, it has expanded into new markets, while continuing to serve existing markets.
Next year will bring its own challenges and, as with this year, they will be met with creative thinking, innovation and determination. And Specialty Fabrics Review will be there to report on those innovations, while delivering tips, best practices and successful strategies to help you thrive in a rapidly changing world.
For now, though, it’s time to celebrate. These days, longevity is a rare thing, but this month the IFAI Expo will be celebrating 100 years of in-person shows. That’s a remarkable achievement for any industry, and it shows that the textile industry is not only alive and well but continuing to grow.
By the time you read this, I hope that I will have met many of you at the Expo in Nashville. I have many questions and you have answers. I want to learn from you. No matter what industry I have been associated with in the past, the conferences and expos have introduced me to people who have their finger on the pulse. You have the ideas, you have connections, and you know what to expect. And if you didn’t go to the Expo this year, feel free to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me what’s new.