In this episode of Clocking In, Phil Mintz talks with Chris Rojas, the vice president of Fairystone Fabrics. Chris has been at Fairystone for over five years. He started as the plant manager and was later promoted to vice president. Chris is a part of the Wolfpack family and graduated from NC State with a Bachelor's in textile management.

In this episode, Mintz and Dr. Mack discuss the relationship between NCMEP and NCCCS, the journey Dr. Mack took to become the vice president of the NCCCS, what solutions NCCCS provides to North Carolina business and more.

Chapel Hill-based CPAP manufacturer Bleep Sleep is a breath of fresh air in the CPAP industry.

CPAP masks have been a long-standing nightmare for sleep apnea patients. Many CPAP masks on the market tend to leak, are too loud and can even result in the breaking of hair and bald spots due to headgear. On this episode of clocking in, I talked to a CPAP manufacturer who — through innovation — has eliminated many of the problems that are stereotypically associated with CPAP masks. 

Established in 2019, CPAP manufacturer, Bleep Sleep is based out of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Bleep Sleep was rated a Top  CPAP in 2019 and 2021 by CPAPAdvice.com. The organization was awarded the 2021 NIH SBIR Grant Award for PAP Innovation by the National Institute of Health.

Listen in as  I speak with the Founder, Executive Chairman and Head of R&D/Product Design of Bleep Sleep, Stuart Heatherington and CEO and President of Bleep Sleep Rebecca Holland New. Stuart is the creator of Bleep’s DreamPort solution and a 30-year pioneer in the sleep industry securing approximately 15 sleep apnea product patents during the course of his career. Rebecca has served on the board of Bleep Sleep, LLC since 2019 and directs the company’s advisory board.

We discuss the invention of Bleep Sleep’s Dreamport, how Stuart came up with the concept of Bleep Sleep, how Rebecca optimizes her years of expertise to take Bleep Sleep to new heights and more. 

LINKS

NCMEP
Bleep Sleep

ABOUT

Phil Mintz

Phil Mintz is the executive director of NC State Industry Expansion Solutions (IES) and director of the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP). At NCMEP, Phil drives outreach to NC manufacturers, builds relationships with federal and state leaders and coordinates efforts to drive profitable manufacturing growth in the state. He also leads the broader IES Extension Operations outreach unit of regional managers, technical specialists and business development leaders providing business engagement, assessment and improvement tools. This includes statewide peer networks, ISO 9000 quality management systems, Six Sigma, Lean manufacturing, environmental services, and health and safety solutions.

Stuart Heatherington 

Stuart Heatherington is the creator of Bleep’s DreamPort solution and a 30-year pioneer in the sleep industry securing approximately 15 sleep apnea product patents during the course of his career. As a certified sleep technician, researcher, and sleep apnea patient he has cultivated a deep domain expertise surrounding the 22 pain points that lead to poor CPAP compliance. He is a sleep lab owner with extensive experience in sales, product development and sleep apnea treatment. Stuart has been a DME and sleep apnea patient for 18 years. He has a BA in American History from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and is RPSGT certified.

Rebecca Holland New 

Rebecca Holland New carries a history of helping healthcare and life sciences companies effectively scale operations to capitalize on rapidly growing market segments. Over the course of her career, she has helped several leading companies including Thermo Fisher Scientific/Patheon, Novo Nordisk and Bristol-Myers Squibb, expand market share, execute transformational business strategies and complete several public market transactions. Rebecca has served on the board of Bleep Sleep, LLC since 2019 and directs the company’s advisory board. Rebecca received an MS in Industrial Labor Relations and a BS in Economics, Marketing, and Finance from Cornell University.

Check out the Clocking In: Voices of NC Manufacturing website.

Retired William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor and extension economist Dr. Walden discusses the current supply chain and workforce issues.

Dr. Michael Walden

The pandemic has put the economy into a tailspin, leaving supply chain disturbances, workforce vacancies, and spiked inflation in its wake. But what is exactly going on and how long will it last? We’re speaking to a regular guest— economist Dr. Michael Walden, to make sense of current events.

Dr. Walden is a retired William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor and extension economist at North Carolina State University and a member of the graduate economics faculty with The Poole College of Management. His Ph.D. degree is from Cornell University and he has been at N.C. State since 1978. He has also been a Visiting Professor at Duke University.

In this episode, we discuss where the NC and US economy stands today.  Also, about how different factors including the continued global uncertainty of the virus may continue to have an impact for several months to come and more.

LINKS

Michael Walden
NCMEP
IES

ABOUT

Phil Mintz
Phil Mintz is the Executive Director of NC State Industry Expansion Solutions (IES) and Director of the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP). At NCMEP, Phil drives outreach to NC manufacturers, builds relationships with federal and state leaders and coordinates efforts to drive profitable manufacturing growth in the state. He also leads the broader IES Extension Operations outreach unit of regional managers, technical specialists and business development leaders providing business engagement, assessment and improvement tools. This includes statewide peer networks, ISO 9000 quality management systems, Six Sigma, Lean manufacturing, environmental services, and health and safety solutions.

Dr. Michael Walden
Dr. Michael Walden is a retired William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor and extension economist at North Carolina State University and a member of the graduate economics faculty with The Poole College of Management. His Ph.D. degree is from Cornell University and has been at N.C. State since 1978. He has also been a Visiting Professor at Duke University.

Check out the Clocking In: Voices of NC Manufacturing website.

Laurinburg, NC-based industrial thread manufacturer Service Thread is working hard for the people who work for them.

Service Thread

According to a recent Gartner study of employees from across the U.S., only 13 percent of employees are largely satisfied with their work experiences. Additionally, nearly half (46 percent of employees) are largely dissatisfied with their work experiences. With the current labor crisis, many organizations are scrambling to find ways to appeal to the modern American workforce. On this episode of “Clocking In”, we speak with a manufacturer who invests in their employees and attracts talent in an unconventional way.

Established in 1942, Service Thread is a manufacturer based out of Laurinburg, NC that designs, develops and delivers engineered yarns and sewing threads specifically to solve product and processing problems and add value through longer running times or faster processing speeds. Service Thread has been awarded the NC Governor's Award for Workforce Development, Microsoft Award for Customer Service and NC Dept of Labor OSHA Sharp Award. In 2018, Service Thread was recognized with the IFF Greater Good Award. The Greater Good Award is given in recognition of member companies of the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) that do good business and strive to be good neighbors, good citizens and good partners.

Phil speaks with the CEO of Service Thread, Jay Todd. Jay has been a part of Service Thread for 25 years and has formally held the positions of CFO and COO.  He graduated from Saint Andrews Presbyterian College with a bachelor’s in business administration, marketing and management and Elon University with an MBA in management and finance.

We discuss the services the company provides, the unique way they care for their workforce, what they’re doing to try to remedy the labor shortage and more.

 

LINKS
NCMEP

Service Thread

 

ABOUT

Phil Mintz
Phil Mintz is the Executive Director of NC State Industry Expansion Solutions (IES) and Director of the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP). At NCMEP, Phil drives outreach to NC manufacturers, builds relationships with federal and state leaders and coordinates efforts to drive profitable manufacturing growth in the state. He also leads the broader IES Extension Operations outreach unit of regional managers, technical specialists and business development leaders providing business engagement, assessment and improvement tools. This includes statewide peer networks, ISO 9000 quality management systems, Six Sigma, Lean manufacturing, environmental services, and health and safety solutions.

Jay Todd
Jay Todd is CEO of Service Thread. Jay has been a part of Service Thread for 25 years and has formally held the positions of CFO and COO.  He graduated from Saint Andrews Presbyterian College with a bachelor’s in business administration, marketing and management and Elon University with an MBA in management and finance. Jay currently serves as the Lumber River Workforce Development Board (LRWDB) Chairman and received the Board Member of the Year Award in 2009, 2013, and 2019. He also serves as the President of the Flexible Intermediate Bulk Container Association (FIBCA), Chairman of the Laurinburg Scotland Chamber of Commerce in 2019, and as Chairman of the City of Laurinburg’s Downtown Advisory Committee and as Secretary for the Scotia Village Advisory Board. Jay also serves as a board member for the Cape Fear Boy Scouts Executive Council, North Carolina Manufacturing Advisory Partners (NCMEP), Richmond Community College (RCC) Foundation and the Scotland Memorial Foundation.

Check out the Clocking In: Voices of NC Manufacturing website.

Elastic Therapy, Inc., a compression wear manufacturer located in Asheboro, NC, strives to maintain its niche dominance in the hosiery industry.

Elastic Therapy, Inc.

It may come as no surprise that a state with a rich textile history also has deep roots in the hosiery industry. According to IBIS World, North Carolina leads the nation in the state with the most hosiery manufacturing mills with 64 mills as of 2021. On this episode of Clocking In, we’re sitting down with a hosiery manufacturer in Randolph county that is paving the way in compression wear.

Established in Asheboro, North Carolina in 1989, Elastic Therapy, Inc. (ETI) is a world leader in the design and manufacture of private label medical compression products. Their products are worn to aid in the treatment and prevention of vein-related disorders. ETI started with 25 associates working to manufacture medical compression products on 30 knitting machines. Today, ETI maintains 250 employees working with more than 200 knitting machines and producing millions of medical hosiery products annually.

Phil speaks with the director of operations and general manager of Elastic Therapy, Chris Harrington. His previous leadership positions include general manager at Technicolor, vice president of operations at Sony Digital Audio Disc Corporation and the head of North American operations at Draeger Safety. Chris has a bachelor’s in organizational management from Crichton College, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Tennessee and a doctorate of philosophy in Leadership Studies from NC A&T State University.

We discuss the history of ETI, how Chris got into the hosiery industry, how the pandemic has impacted ETI’s game plan, the future of the hosiery industry and more.

 

LINKS
NCMEP

Elastic Therapy Incorporated

 

ABOUT

Phil Mintz
Phil Mintz is the Executive Director of NC State Industry Expansion Solutions (IES) and Director of the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP). At NCMEP, Phil drives outreach to NC manufacturers, builds relationships with federal and state leaders and coordinates efforts to drive profitable manufacturing growth in the state. He also leads the broader IES Extension Operations outreach unit of regional managers, technical specialists and business development leaders providing business engagement, assessment and improvement tools. This includes statewide peer networks, ISO 9000 quality management systems, Six Sigma, Lean manufacturing, environmental services, and health and safety solutions.

Chris Harrington
Chris Harrington is the director of operations and general manager of Elastic Therapy. His previous positions include general manager at Technicolor, vice president of operations at Sony Digital Audio Disc Corporation and the head of North American operations at Draeger Safety. Chris has a bachelor’s in organizational management from Crichton College, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Tennessee and a doctorate of philosophy in Leadership Studies from NC A&T State University.

Check out the Clocking In: Voices of NC Manufacturing website.

The NC State University Wilson College of Textiles uses modern technology to take textile manufacturing into the future.

NC State University Wilson College of Textiles

What does the healthcare, fashion, defense and advanced material industry have in common? They all utilize textiles as a way to invent. Long gone are the days where the word “textile” exclusively refers to woven fabric. Heart valves, cells and organs and vein grafts are now being created with the use of textiles. Institutions like the NC State University Wilson College of Textiles use cutting-edge technologies to discover innovative uses for textiles.

Located on the NC State campus, the Wilson College of Textiles is the only one of its kind in the United States devoted entirely to textiles. In recent years, companies worldwide have used the assistance of Wilson College to begin or expand operations in North Carolina, bringing hundreds of new jobs and investing more than $100 million — mainly due to access to superior textiles education, research and development.

The Wilson College of Textiles is a member of the North Carolina Extension Manufacturing Partnership (NCMEP) which uses federal program assistance to provide increased access to technical and management support for smaller manufacturers across the state. Zeis Textiles Extension (ZTE), one of the Wilson College of Textiles’ units, works with textile manufacturers to advance economic development, educate the workforce, provide testing services, and promote quality improvement.

Phil Mintz speaks with the associate director of Zeis Textiles Extension (ZTE), Melissa Sharp. Phil and Melissa discuss how Melissa got into the textile industry, highlights of the Wilson College of Textiles’ services, some of the breakthroughs being made with textile innovation, thoughts on where the textiles industry is headed and more.

 

LINKS
NCMEP

NC State University Wilson College of Textiles

Zeis Textiles Extension

 

ABOUT

Phil Mintz
Phil Mintz is the Executive Director of NC State Industry Expansion Solutions (IES) and Director of the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP). At NCMEP, Phil drives outreach to NC manufacturers, builds relationships with federal and state leaders and coordinates efforts to drive profitable manufacturing growth in the state. He also leads the broader IES Extension Operations outreach unit of regional managers, technical specialists and business development leaders providing business engagement, assessment and improvement tools. This includes statewide peer networks, ISO 9000 quality management systems, Six Sigma, Lean manufacturing, environmental services, and health and safety solutions.

Melissa Sharp
Melissa Sharp is the associate director of Zeis Textiles Extension, one of the units of the Wilson College of Textiles. While working with the Wilson College of Textiles, Melissa has been business development coordinator and interim director of marketing and communications. She has experience in business development, economic development, marketing strategies,  lean six sigma, textiles, and sustainability. Melissa has a bachelor’s in molecular biology and structural biochemistry.

Check out the Clocking In: Voices of NC Manufacturing website.

NCMEP partner, North Carolina A&T State University collaborates with NC manufacturers to cultivate the engineers of tomorrow.

North Carolina A&T State University

Industrial engineers are professional problem solvers. Their role in manufacturing is to find ways to eliminate wastefulness in production processes. In this episode of Clocking In, we sit down with a North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership partner working to connect promising industrial engineering students with NC manufacturers.

The Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at North Carolina A&T State University is well known for its innovative research, transformational teaching, learning and impactful community engagement. The department completes projects with local industry around topics including process improvement, ergonomics, in-plant logistics and layout. The ISE department has a long-standing capstone senior design project requirement for all BSISE students, plus graduate student project requirements.

Phil Mintz speaks with associate professor and interim chair in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the university, Dr. Paul Stanfield. Dr. Stanfield has consulted, taught, and advised leaders across many government and  private sector organizations.While at NC A&T, Dr. Stanfield has taught over 35 different courses in the areas of systems engineering, supply chain/production systems, and leadership development.Dr. Stanfield has a bachelor's in electrical engineering, MBA in business administration, M.S. in industrial engineering and operation research and a Ph.D. in industrial engineering.

In this episode of Clocking In we discuss the solutions NC A&T provides for North Carolina manufacturers, Dr. Stanfield’s professional background, what manufacturers can expect when working with NC A&T students on their senior design projects and more.

LINKS
NCMEP

ABOUT

Phil Mintz
Phil Mintz is the Executive Director of NC State Industry Expansion Solutions (IES) and Director of the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP). At NCMEP, Phil drives outreach to NC manufacturers, builds relationships with federal and state leaders and coordinates efforts to drive profitable manufacturing growth in the state. He also leads the broader IES Extension Operations outreach unit of regional managers, technical specialists and business development leaders providing business engagement, assessment and improvement tools. This includes statewide peer networks, ISO 9000 quality management systems, Six Sigma, Lean manufacturing, environmental services, and health and safety solutions.

Dr. Paul Stanfield
Dr. Paul Stanfield is the associate professor and interim chair in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at North Carolina A&T State University. Dr. Stanfield has consulted, taught, and advised leaders from all DoD services, all DHS, and over 30 private sector organizations. He is past president of ABCO Automation, an engineering and consulting firm. While at NC A&T, Dr. Stanfield has taught over 35 different courses in the areas of systems engineering, supply chain / production systems, and leadership development. He has received the Goody’s Powders, College of Engineering, and multiple department teaching awards. Dr. Stanfield has served as principal investigator on over 30 projects and published in Operations Research, European Journal of Operations Research, Computers and Operations Research, Computers and Industrial Engineering, IISE Transactions and International Journal of Production Research. He won the NC A&T Young Investigator award and the IISE UPS Minority Advancement, Young Industrial Engineer in Education, Pritsker Dissertation, and Graduate Research awards.

Check out the Clocking In: Voices of NC Manufacturing website.

A second-generation family business located in Charlotte, NC, is keeping the family legacy alive.

Tropical Foods

Family businesses are great. They can help transfer family values, grow leaders, strengthen inter-generational bonds and they’re also a large part of the American economy. According to the Family Business Alliance, family enterprises employ 63% of the U.S. workforce. In addition, 75% of all new jobs are generated by family businesses. In this episode of Clocking In, we’re highlighting a second-generation family business that shows no signs of slowing down.

Tropical Foods is a woman-owned family food manufacturer based out of Charlotte, NC. Tropical Foods, established in 1977, manufactures nuts and snack mixes and distributes a wide variety of convenience food products with more than 3,000 selections in their product line. The organization maintains additional operating centers in Orlando, Atlanta, Washington DC, Dallas and Reno.

Phil Mintz speaks with the co-owner and CEO of Tropical Foods, Angela Bauer. Before joining the family business, Angela worked as a marketing specialist for Scientific Atlanta and a logistics coordinator for AJC International. Angela graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a bachelor’s degree in International studies and again with a master’s degree in business administration.

We discuss how Tropical Foods came to be, what Angela Bauer learned from her parents about the family business, how the organization was affected by the pandemic, the process of manufacturing nuts and candies and more.

Watch Tropical Foods video "We Are Truly Good Foods"

LINKS
NCMEP

Tropical Foods

ABOUT

Phil Mintz
Phil Mintz is the Executive Director of NC State Industry Expansion Solutions (IES) and Director of the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP). At NCMEP, Phil drives outreach to NC manufacturers, builds relationships with federal and state leaders and coordinates efforts to drive profitable manufacturing growth in the state. He also leads the broader IES Extension Operations outreach unit of regional managers, technical specialists and business development leaders providing business engagement, assessment and improvement tools. This includes statewide peer networks, ISO 9000 quality management systems, Six Sigma, Lean manufacturing, environmental services, and health and safety solutions.

Angela Bauer
Angela Bauer is the co-owner and CEO of Tropical Foods in Charlotte, NC. Prior to joining the family business, Angela worked as a marketing specialist for Scientific Atlanta and a logistics coordinator for AJC International. Angela graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a bachelor’s degree in International studies and again later with a master’s degree in business administration.

Check out the Clocking In: Voices of NC Manufacturing website.

High Point furniture manufacturer, Custom Contract Furnishings, pivots to making gowns to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Custom Contract Furnishings

According to AARP, the leisure and hospitality industry was the hardest hit by the pandemic.  Our guest, whose business has been focused on supplying a booming hospitality industry, saw three months’ worth of orders dry up—virtually—overnight in March 2020. In this episode, we speak with a leader from Custom Contract Furnishings about how they discovered how to utilize their talents and technology to create a competitive protective gown solution for the healthcare industry.

Custom Contract Furnishings is a furniture manufacturer located in High Point, North Carolina. Established in 1989, the organization makes high-quality upholstered seating for the hospitality, healthcare and senior living industries. Custom Contract Furnishings has been featured in national publications such as Network of Executive Women in Hospitality magazine, Hospitality Design magazine and Boutique Design magazine.

Phil Mintz speaks with the vice president of Custom Contract Furnishings, Chris Morris. Chris has worked many years in the hospitality furniture industry and previously worked for a furniture company in Oakland, California as the director of contract furnishing sales. Chris is a locally grown leader who attended Guilford Technical Community College and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

In this episode, we discuss how Custom Contract Furnishings has been affected by the pandemic, views of the furniture business, the organization’s pivot to making personal protective equipment (PPE), what the future looks like for the organization and more.

LINKS
NCMEP

Custom Contract Furnishings

ABOUT

Phil Mintz
Phil Mintz is the Executive Director of NC State Industry Expansion Solutions (IES) and Director of the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP). At NCMEP, Phil drives outreach to NC manufacturers, builds relationships with federal and state leaders and coordinates efforts to drive profitable manufacturing growth in the state. He also leads the broader IES Extension Operations outreach unit of regional managers, technical specialists and business development leaders providing business engagement, assessment and improvement tools. This includes statewide peer networks, ISO 9000 quality management systems, Six Sigma, Lean manufacturing, environmental services, and health and safety solutions.

Chris Morris
Chris Morris is the vice-president of sales at Custom Contract Furnishings in High Point, NC. Chis has worked many years in the hospitality furniture industry and previously worked for a furniture company in Oakland, California as the director of contract furnishing sales. Chris attended Guilford Technical Community College and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Check out the Clocking In: Voices of NC Manufacturing website.

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