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 …

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Performance finishes for performance textiles

October 1, 2018

Perhaps the people who develop textile finishings by coating or laminating could best be described as the unsung problem solvers—superheroes, even—of the textile performance world. Do they wear capes? Maybe they should—textile capes finished with performance-enhancing treatments. Problem solving is the basis of their work, as they treat textiles to enhance performance, in response to …

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

“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 & …

Nonwovens in the automotive industry

September 1, 2018

“I just want to say one word to you. Just one word. Plastics.”  When Dustin Hoffman’s character Benjamin Braddock heard those words in the iconic movie The Graduate in 1967, the use of plastics—or polymer-based materials—was on the rise. (This, although plastics had been around for almost 100 years; the first synthetic polymer was invented …

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

“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 …

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Sign language: The fabric sign and banner market is hotter than ever

Ask average consumers what springs to mind when they hear the words “signs and banners,” and they’ll likely describe wayfinding placards and lengths of logo-imprinted fabric hanging from street poles. And although placards and pennants have their place in the sign and banner arena, this is a market segment with innovative and expanding applications in …

Amy Poe builds Wyckam from a marine canvas business into a custom sewing shop

April 1, 2018

As a small business owner you have to be able to adapt to many different situations and needs,” says Amy Poe, owner of Wyckam in Portland, Ore. “You pretty much need to be able to do everything. Even if you hire something out you still have to have a basic understanding of what it is …