Crafting shade at Auvents Ombrasole Awning

April 1, 2019

Ombrasole designs, manufactures and installs awnings of all types for North American climates—many of which feature Emilio Petrongolo’s custom and patented motors. Emilio Petrongolo can trace his fascination with canvas and sewing back to his childhood in Italy, where his grandmother made jute bags for storing wheat. Petrongolo, director of R&D and marketing at Auvents …

Shane Cossette and TRS Industries keep customers covered, improve existing products, and invent new ones

March 1, 2019

I set aside much of my time to move throughout our building so I can work with managers to keep us on the same page,” says Shane Cossette, COO of TRS Industries, Fargo, N.D. “Something my dad instilled in me years ago was that not only is the customer always right, but it’s our responsibility to …

Paul Aumento relies on employees and customers to keep Creative Textile Solutions a responsive manufacturer

February 1, 2019

Nova Scotia is a small market and Halifax is a smaller city compared to some others, so we’ve had to diversify to continue a successful year-round employment,” says Paul Aumento, co-owner and president of Creative Textile Solutions Ltd., Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. “So we expanded our markets right away to include whatever can be manufactured …

Melynda Norman-Lee brings tented events to life, continuing a tradition of success at JJL Events Inc.

January 1, 2019

“When I work on challenging projects I see the possibilities, not the restrictions,” says Melynda Norman-Lee, event project manager for J J L Events, Toronto, Ont., Canada. “I start visualizing the final outcome when I first start talking with the client. If I haven’t captured that vision from the beginning, I won’t be able to …

Going the distance: Rob Kotowski rebuilds the family business

December 1, 2018

“We don’t anticipate that the completion of a project is the last time we talk with our clients,” says Rob Kotowski, owner and president of Lake Shore Boat Top Co., St. Clair Shores, Mich. “We typically follow up with them a couple of weeks after they’ve taken delivery of their projects to make sure they’re …

A commitment to growth: Don Alhanati uses automation and lean manufacturing to ensure market diversity and growth for CustomFab USA

November 1, 2018

One of the keys to our success is our investment in advanced automated equipment,” says Don Alhanati, founder and president of CustomFab USA in Garden Grove, Calif. “That, and the fact that we have a creative staff. We are always looking at ways to do things smarter.” Alhanati had worked 12 years at a manufacturing …

Riding the pendulum of industry change: Awnings by Bigley and Hogshire

October 1, 2018

“We have to be diverse and knowledgeable about the various types of products people are making in the industry,” says Taylor Bigley, co-owner and president of Awnings by Bigley & Hogshire, Hampton Roads, Va. “What’s in demand changes—the pendulum swings each way—and we have to react to it.” The roots of Awnings by Bigley & …

Harold Warner and Dynamic Air Shelters develop larger and tougher inflatable structures

September 1, 2018

“I love the word resilience,” says Harold Warner, majority owner and president of Dynamic Air Shelters in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. “Whether you’re operating on a physical plane or a psychological plane, resilience enables you to deflect danger and harm. What our company has done is expand and elevate the state of inflatable resilience in response to …

Brenda Hagerty and Porcupine Canvas: sales and customer-focused marketing

July 1, 2018

“Cold calls are a thing of the past,” says Brenda Hagerty, co-owner and president of Porcupine Canvas Manufacturing Ltd. in Boucherville, Quebec, Canada. “Calling someone out of the blue to try to sell them something just doesn’t work in today’s industry. What clients want are our feet on the ground.” Hagerty’s history with Porcupine Canvas …