Targeting the future was the goal of the 2019 Outlook Conference, sponsored by Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI). This year’s Outlook Conference, held May 6-8 at the beautiful Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee in Greensboro, Ga., attracted 111 textile manufacture leaders, who gathered for education and updates on government relations, economics and sustainability.
“The USIFI advisory board and the staff members who produced the 2019 Outlook Conference did a great job,” notes IFAI president and CEO Steve Schiffman. “Great content, great venue and a lot positive feedback from attendees and sponsors!”
Sessions began with the third-ever Military Morning. Sixty-eight attendees came to the conference early to take part in this military focused education. Ron Houle of Pivot Steps Consultants, Burke, Va., kicked off the meeting with “Making (Some) Sense of the DoD Budget.” Houle was followed by a presentation from the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and a session on the supplier chain prospective of the Berry Amendment.
As Outlook launched in full, presenters took new approaches with educational sessions, kicking off with a sustainability panel. Colin Touhey of Pvilion, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Karen Leonas of North Caroline State University (NCSU), Raleigh, N.C.; and Chad Bolick of UNIFI, discussed sustainability and what this means for companies and the supply chain. The discussion reconvened the next day with returning Outlook presenter, Aubrey Hilliard of Texican. Hilliard emphasized that the time for making changes in manufacturing practices is now.
The conference featured two keynote speakers. David Hinks, Dean of Wilson College of Textiles at NCSU, spoke on his journey in the textile industry along with his thoughts on innovation and workforce development. Byron Reese, futurist and technologist, closed out the conference with his optimistic views on the future of humanity.
Along with the education, the attendees enjoyed lakeside networking, golfing and skeet shooting. The retreat atmosphere gave attendees opportunities to learn, recharge and network.
“The Outlook Conference was easily one of the best conferences I have attended,” remarked first-time attendee, Kasper Van Veen of Vintex Inc. “The content was thought-provoking and insightful, and the speakers proved to be well qualified to share their views on the topics. The outstanding location and the ease of networking among the attendees contributed to make this a great experience.”
Industrial Fabrics Association International is a member-owned, member-driven trade association representing the global industrial fabrics industry since 1912. IFAI invests more than $8 million each year to advance the industry and support member companies. IFAI provides members with relevant information, sourcing solutions and networking opportunities to sustain and grow their business