Symposium Schedule

Techtextil North America 2021 Symposium

The highly acclaimed Symposium gives attendees the opportunity to listen and learn from industry leaders and subject matter experts as they discuss some of the most pivotal advancements in research and technology and shed light on the current global economic state and its effects across industries. The show’s theme this year is “Accelerating Technology” and aims to highlight the textile industry’s high level of innovation and contribution to the global supply chain through advanced technology.

Symposium Schedule

Monday, August 23, 2021

There is a tremendous amount of speculation around what a post-pandemic world will look like, with the textile industry asking itself: What will change and what will go back to how it was before?

 What is, at this point, beyond speculation, is that the post-pandemic supply chain and manufacturing ecosystem will be vastly different. Over the coming years, there will be an increased focus on the global manufacturing dynamic, with companies weighing more and more the geopolitical implications – such as disruptions in supply, transparency for labor, material sources, and quality control – of manufacturing in developing countries around the world.

A critical component of this discussion should be the development of a stable domestic textile machinery and manufacturing base to support various needs of the US economy including: continuous demand for commodities, emergency needs for rapid product development, scalable manufacturing for critical supplies like PPE, and what is needed from the federal government to support domestic textile investment.

Moderated by: Frank Henderson, President & CEO, Henderson Sewing Machine Co. 


Imagine designing a garment that can be immediately visualized and manufactured using the same data. Today, the imagination is the only place that can happen. The value proposition is different for apparel brands, textile mills, and garment makers. But other industries have shown how technology can connect the players so that design and engineering are integrated to define an optimized product that flows transparently through material creation, cutting, sewing, and distribution. AI-enabled line planning isn’t enough. 3D design visualization isn’t enough. A lean factory with robots isn’t enough. Digitalization must be comprehensive with a data thread that connects every phase. This session will bring together leaders from every phase of apparel to provide insight into a comprehensive solution.

Moderated by: Keith Hoover, Partner, Black Swan Textiles


  • Brad Ballentine, CEO, Fox River Mills
  • Dr. Gary Fedder, Howard M. Wilkoff Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Faculty Director, Manufacturing Futures Initiative (MFI), Carnegie Mellon
  • Frank Henderson, Frank Henderson, President & CEO, Henderson Sewing Machine Co.
  • Ada Sunesun, VP, Go To Market Strategy, PVH

Learn more about what it takes to commercialize an innovative fiber in this interactive session.  Speakers will share their experiences in the journey of progressing an idea to end product in the world of technical textiles.

Moderated by: Sam Buff, Vice President & General Manager, Manufacturing & Textile Innovation Network


  • Kevin Urman, Fibers Technology Director, Ascend Fibers 
  • Meredith Boyd, Senior Vice President – Innovation and Technology, Unifi  
  • Cheryl Smyre, Director of Advanced Materials, Parkdale Mills

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

As issues related to sustainability are becoming of increasing importance for the textile industry, suppliers, manufacturers and brands are more closely examining their design, development, production, and required after-market care of textile products. In this interactive session, industry experts will discuss the sustainability journey for both home and commercial laundering. What are the impacts, and how can we lessen the environmental repercussions?

We will dusciss topics including: 

  •  Material Development and Selection
  •  Cold Water Wash
  •  Fiber Shedding & Microplastic Pollution
  •  and more!

Moderated by: Todd Cline, Director of Research and Development, Sustainability and Wellness, Procter & Gamble


More speakers to come!

A moderated panel of experts discuss how they envision circularity in textiles proceeding.

 Textile production has become one of the most polluting industries, producing 1.2 billion tons of CO2 per year. Natural resources are put under substantial pressure, causing high levels of pollution; including the use of toxic chemicals, dangerous dyes, and synthetics fibers seeping into water supplies and in our ocean. The circular textiles industry can be defined as a regenerative system in which fabrics are circulated for as long as their maximum value is retained, and then returned safely to the biosphere when they are no longer of use. In a circular model, products are designed and developed with the next use in mind. Less than 1% of clothing is recycled into new clothing. What are the ideas that will drive this new economy? Perhaps these panelists will help you invigorate your company to begin thinking circular.

Moderated by: Andre West, Director, Zeis Textile Extension, Wilson College of Textiles, NCSU


  • Eric Henry, President, TS Designs
  • Dr. Sonja Salmon, Industrial Partnerships Manager, Associate Professor, Textile Engineering, Chemistry & Science, Wilson College of Textiles, North Carolina State University  
  • Dr. Julie Willoughby, Ph.D, Chief Scientific Officer, CIRC

Sustainability and transparency will affect the value of your brand more than anything else in the next two years. Get it right and you’ll succeed. Get it wrong and your brand may never recover. This is true for all brands – ingredient brands as well as consumer brands. Everyone in the supply chain must adapt to shifting demands for sustainable products that must perform. The retail customer will not accept anything but absolute transparency and will reward those brands that are able to deliver specific, concise and accurate data validation. This session will explore best practices in creating sustainable supply chains and the importance of validating, documenting and certifying performance through testing, chain of custody and supply chain collaboration.

Moderated by:: Joe Walkuski, Founder and CEO, Texbase


Wednesday, August 25, 2021

This session will expose the need for scalable solutions for PPE focusing on respirators, surgical masks, and facemasks, and effective infection prevention strategies that can be deployed quickly and globally to contain pandemic threats while mitigating financial risks worldwide. Learn how PPE market has been impacted by global supply chain issues and continues to present a unique challenge to the global economy in terms of best practices needed to re-open economies effectively while putting into practice strong mitigation strategies to contain the spread of infections. In this presentation-style panel session, our industry experts and researchers will present and discuss this market and their innovative approaches in handling and supporting infection controls and management, current testing standards adapted by industries to evaluate these PPEs for the level of performance and protection they offer to the wearer from airborne particles and from contaminated liquid, and share established compliance and regulatory landscape by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that has allowed these PPE businesses to safeguard the integrity of their supply chain.

Moderated by: Kavita Mathur, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Textile and Apparel, Technology and Management, North Carolina State University


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