IN THE WORKS, OUR 2017 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

Paul Fogleman,

Funding for the MSC and Textile Technology Centers and removal of sales taxes on manufacturing equipment will headline our chwork agenda for the Legislature next year. We also welcome suggestions from our industries executives. Let us know problems you have experienced with regulations or government mandates. And while lower income taxes is a priority with legislative leaders, we expect fees on services and shipments to make up the differences. Let us know what concerns you.

HERE’S TO A BOUNTIFUL THANKSGIVING FOR ALL!!!


TWIN CITY KNITTING SOLD

Paul Fogleman,

The sale of Twin City Knitting Co.in Conover was announced recently by owner Fran Davis, the new chairman of the Hosiery and Textiles Governmental Affairs Council. Davis will continue in his role as CEO of TWK which becomes a division of Sock and Accessory Brands Global, a division of Huron Capital Partners LLC. Twin City is a manufacturer of team sports socks and accessories.

HERE’S TO A BOUNTIFUL THANKSGIVING FOR ALL!!!


DIVIDED GOVERNMENT IN N.C.

Paul Fogleman,

If Attorney General Roy Cooper finally is declared governor—and this seems more likely as recounts proceed—then North Carolina will have divided government again…a Democratic governor and an overwhelmingly Republican Legislature. The General Assembly leadership set the agenda for North Carolina under GOP Governor Pat McCrory. Republicans will continue to have a veto-proof majority for the next two years, but the governor is not shut out from setting state policies. Secretary of Commerce, Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, Corrections, Health and Human Services, and Cultural Affairs are subject to Governor appointments.

The governor has the bully pulpit to carry his priorities to the general public, i.e. voters. And while Gov. McCrory was loathe to criticize the GOP legislative majority, the opposite will be true with Cooper. He also will have an ally in Josh Stein who succeeded him as Attorney General. North Carolinians will experience the possibilities and pitfalls of divided government.

HERE’S TO A BOUNTIFUL THANKSGIVING FOR ALL!!!


HOUSE LEADERSHIP

Paul Fogleman,

The victorious Republican majority in the North Carolina House of Representatives has selected leaders for the 2017-18 sessions. And, as expected, Rep. Tim Moore of Shelby again will serve as Speaker of the House. His re-election by the caucus was unanimous.

Rep. John Bell IV of Goldsboro is the Majority Leader, continuing the role he assumed by the unexpected resignation of Rep. Mike Hager of Rutherfordton who left the General Assembly. The Majority Whip is Rep. Jon Hardister of Greensboro whose family owned a hosiery company in Morganton. Hardister is starting his third term and is seen as a rising star in the GOP ranks. Rep. John Szoka of Fayetteville will chair the 74-member GOP House caucus.

HERE’S TO A BOUNTIFUL THANKSGIVING FOR ALL!!!


THANKS AND GOOD LUCK

Paul Fogleman,

Rep. Marilyn Avila of Wake County has been a staunch and loyal supporter of the HTGAC agenda. She was employed in the testing laboratory at Hanes Hosiery Mills in the 1970s and visited the Manufacturing Solutions Center soon after her election to the N.C. House in 2008. Rep. Avila moved up into the leadership ranks under Speaker Moore and helped the MSC and Textile Technology Center appropriations requests. She lost her bid for re-election and will be missed. Prediction: she will assume an administrative role in the Legislature.

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IN N.C. MORE OF THE SAME

Paul Fogleman,

It seems likely that North Carolina will have a Democrat governor. But on the day after the election, fewer than 4,900 votes put Attorney General Roy Cooper over incumbent Gov. Pat McCrory. The Senate gained a GOP seat giving the party a 35-15 majority over Democrats. Republicans lost House seats in Wake and Mecklenburg counties but picked up some rural legislators. This would sustain the Legislature’s ability to override a gubernatorial veto. When the General Assembly convenes January 15, 2017, there will be an atmosphere of celebrations and anticipation. But North Carolina will still have divided government with the Legislature in the driver’s seat.

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WE ENTER A NEW ERA

Paul Fogleman,

As the reality of a Trump presidency sinks in, it’s time to think about the implications for the hosiery and textiles industries—as well as the U.S. economy. Mr. Trump has aroused passions about jobs that have left the country. He has railed again NAFTA and CAFTA and called out companies that have set up operations in Mexico i.e. Nabisco and Oreo cookies. Will textile companies with plants in Central America and South America be targeted? Will American consumers accept higher prices for goods when cheaper products no longer flow freely into U.S markets?

President-elect Trump also criticized the influence of lobbyists on members of Congress. National retailers, energy companies, agricultural operations, and defense contractors employ thousands of lobbyists—many former employees or members of Congress—to shape tax bills and regulations favorable to their business climate. Will there be a recession on K street?

Especially significant is the upheaval in American politics resulting from the 2016 election. Where will the establishment socially-moderate Republicans go? Without white working class voters does the Democratic party have a future?

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WHY WE’RE IN POLITICS

Paul Fogleman,

This week we are featuring a Hickory-based hosiery company that has re-invented itself for 21st century manufacturing and marketing. The Socks Factory and its premiere William Tucker line of high-quality men’s socks are thriving under the management of Michael Banks Jr., who oversees manufacturing, and his brother, Nate, vice president of marketing and product development. The company has thrived with services from the Manufacturing Solutions Center.

The appropriations from the North Carolina Legislature represent the state’s investment in the future of hosiery and textiles manufacturing. That investment has preserved 50 jobs at the Socks Factory alone. Our ongoing lobbying with state lawmakers over the past 24 years is dedicated the success of hosiery and textiles companies across North Carolina. The Textile Technology Center, the Manufacturing Solutions Center and the N.C. General Assembly have pursued a partnership that produced dividends that have been reinvested many times over.

Third Generation Leadership Fuels Hosiery Company Growth

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Third Generation Leadership
Fuels Hosiery Company Growth

Paul Fogleman,
(L to R) Michael Banks Jr., Michael Banks Sr. and Nate Banks

(L to R) Michael Banks Jr., Michael Banks Sr. and Nate Banks

A family-owned Hickory-based hosiery company is experiencing significant growth, thanks to 2lst century manufacturing and marketing strategies.

Michael Banks Jr. and his brother, Nate, are third-generation executives at The Socks Factory and NuSox Finishing Inc. Their father, Michael Banks Sr. ran the operations for 40 years as a contract finishing company and his father, Alvin Banks, was employed with large manufacturers in the last half of the 20th century.

But things have changed.

Today The Socks Factory is a vertical manufacturer with 50 people employed in knitting, dyeing and finishing operations under the direction of Michael Banks Jr., president. Nate is vice president of sales, marketing and product development. He is responsible for the rapidly-growing online business for the private label William Tucker line of high-end men’s dress socks. Also, the Crazy Compression sock for the medical market is sold online and in hospital gift shops throughout North America. According to Nate Banks, the compression socks line has 60,000 followers on social media.

The 21st century addition of knitting capabilities was prompted by the decision of the Banks brothers to “switch the business model” for the company. The Socks Factory operates machines from 84-needle to 168-needle production. The products range men’s dress and leisure socks to athletic and medical footwear.

Dan St. Louis, director of the Manufacturing Solutions Center, says the innovations at The Socks Factory reflect the renaissance in North Carolina’s hosiery industry. “We are working with entrepreneurs who see opportunities in new high-performance footwear for specialty markets,” St. Louis observes. Nate Banks uses the center’s hosiery technology services for testing and prototyping.

While contract work for marketers of global brands remains a significant segment of the company’s volume, the online and private label segment is fueling growth as well.

“There is still a demand for specialized products made in the U.S.,” Nate Banks asserts. “Success depends on a relentless focus and continuous improvement,” he insists.

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Fuels Hosiery Company Growth

A NAME YOU WILL SOON REMEMBER; ADVANCED FUNCTIONAL FABRICS OF AMERICA ( AFFOA)

Paul Fogleman,

The U.S. Department of Defense has selected the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to run a $317 million public-private partnership to run a Manufacturing Innovation Partnership to create and manufacture new, high-tech textile products. The initiative is known as AFFOA, Advanced Functional Fabrics of America.

The Textile Technology Center of Gaston College is among the partners which includes 32 universities, 16 industry members, 72 manufacturing entities and 26 startup incubators. The partners are in 27 states and Puerto Rico. N.C. State University College of Textiles and the Manufacturing Solutions Center at Catawba Valley Community College are participating.

An overview of the partnership structure and mission was given to SYFA attendees in Charlotte by Carole Winterhalter of the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research Center. She stressed that the institute will identify opportunities for breakthroughs in high-tech products and pursue commercialization of those with the most potential. The new fibers and fabrics made from them will have the ability “to see, hear, and sense their surroundings…communicate, store and convert energy, monitor health, control temperature, and change color,” a MIT news release reports.

The initiative will focus on the manufacturing of products and the training of production personnel. The Textile Technology Center and the Manufacturing Solutions Center are pushing for a role in personnel training.

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