The business of yurts: round architecture

February 1, 2018

I never had an interest in going into business to just duplicate a product that already existed,” says Alan Bair, founder and owner of Pacific Yurts Inc. in Cottage Grove, Ore. “But early on I realized the yurt is a unique warm space that is limited only by the imagination. When you go into that circular …

Inspiration-driven marine fabrication, and sheltering San Francisco’s homeless

January 1, 2018

Having a really good life is not financially driven. It’s inspiration driven,” says Liz Diaz, MFC, owner of North Beach Marine Canvas in San Francisco, Calif. “Working on and around the water is a singularly lovely employment. I am inspired all the time by my location, by the San Francisco Design Center, by my tools …

New IFAI chairman Steve Ellington shares his vision for the Industrial Fabrics Association International

November 1, 2017

With the geopolitical challenges and opportunities the specialty fabrics industry faces, we, as an association, need to make sure that we continue to educate our members and provide them with opportunities,” says Steve Ellington, president of Trivantage LLC, Glen Raven’s distribution and marketing services subsidiary in Glen Raven, N.C. “We need to make sure that …

Lloyd Verduyn focuses on continuous improvement in products and processes at Verduyn Tarps

October 1, 2017

“As a company, we believe in the Japanese principle of Kaizen, which is the philosophy of continuous improvement,” says Lloyd Verduyn, president and owner of Verduyn Tarps, based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. “For us, that extends beyond processes and personal efficiency to our products as well. We’re never finished making our tarp systems better. That …

Elissa Decker’s fabric expertise helps Moss Inc. build global growth

September 1, 2017

The properties of any fabric will be determined by the combined characteristics of its fiber, yarn, construction method, and dyeing and finishing processes,” says Elissa Decker, senior manager of materials, Moss Inc., Chicago, Ill. “It’s such an exciting time to work in the industry, because there’s a lot of performance that you can build into …

Chad Miller keeps American National Manufacturing on top of changing market demands

August 1, 2017

People often ask if we make a particular product, and the answer is often no. But can we? To that, the answer is yes,” says Chad Miller, director of contract manufacturing of American National Mfg. Inc. and formerly co-owner of Plas-Tech Sealing Technologies, Corona, Calif. “We have everything we need to make new products. All …

Mike Peterson reshapes company culture at SugarHouse Awning

July 1, 2017

Mike Peterson restructures an awning company’s culture by asking hard questions, collaborating on the answers, and fearlessly changing the rules. Our old philosophy was to focus on profitability and the end result—and in order to get there we did our best to take care of our customers, and our employees came last,” says Mike Peterson, …

Transitioning to new leadership for the family business

June 1, 2017

Kate Mitchell transitions her diverse fabrics business on the Alaskan frontier to her children- who value a courageous past and anticipate a bright future.  We didn’t homestead like the Kilcher family from Discovery Channel’s ‘Alaska: The Last Frontier,’ but we were here before the roads were paved,” says Kate Mitchell, founder and co-owner of NOMAR …

Mastering the craft

May 1, 2017

Jerry Margrave keeps his company on track by staying on top of industry skills, technology and opportunities to solve customer problems. “Every time the phone rings we have a new opportunity to see how we can help somebody,” says Jerry Margrave, MFC, owner of Specialty Trim & Awning Inc., Bakersfield, Calif. “That’s the way we …

From the ground up

April 1, 2017

Cheryl Yennaco rebuilds a business by making the tough decisions, hiring the right team and setting meaningful and measurable goals. “Last year was our best year, and we’re at another point of growth right now,” says Cheryl Yennaco, owner and general manager of Melrose, Mass.-based Atlantic Awnings. “That growth started when we decided to clean …