Narrow Fabrics Institute Northeast Networking Event 2022

Professionals in narrow fabrics and webbing manufacturing are welcome to join for our first Narrow Fabrics Institute (NFI) Northeast Networking event. Meet with fellow industry leaders and learn more about how NFI, a division of the Advanced Textiles Association (ATA), can benefit your company and industry as a whole.

Key speakers will discuss industry trends and challenges along with a Q&A to engage all attendees. Topics will include government relations, workforce development and more. We will then finish the day with a private tour of the first American cotton spinning mill, Old Slater Mills.


10–10:30 am: Coffee and Conversation
Meet at the Blackstone Valley Visitor Center and enjoy coffee with fellow industry contacts.  

10:30–11 am: Welcome!
Welcome and Informational session on NFI and ATA

11 am–Noon: Textile Workforce Training Needs to Evolve Along with Product Technology-Based Evolution

Christian Cowan, Chief Operating Officer at URI Research Foundation

Christian Cowan discusses how narrow fabrics and the broad textile industry has evolved tremendously with the introduction of advance materials, sensor embedding, improved manufacturing techniques and 3D printing. These technology-based advancements are allowing manufacturers to produce higher performing products at higher volumes, but the workforce also needs to evolve in order to execute on the opportunities. This session will explore technology impacts on manufacturing, implications on workforce requirements and how state, federal and local partners can team together to solve this problem.

Noon–1 pm: Lunch & Networking

1–2 pm: How do I get a Fully Vested Supply Chain, Internally and Externally?

Karl Wadensten, President/CEO at VIBCO Vibrators

Join Karl Wadensten for a session on fully understanding and benefiting from your company’s supply chain. Change your way of thinking from a mentality of supply chain management to a supply chain system through an understanding of how company values, innovation and creativity can create a broader view to achieve a fully vested supply chain.

2–2:45 pm: Q&A Session
Join in a session led by NFI Advisory Board Members to discuss resources the industry would like to get out of NFI and ATA membership, and to better understand what is missing in their networks.

3–4 pm: Private Tour of Old Slater Mills
Tour the first water powered cotton spinning mill in North America.  Originally constructed in 1793, this mill stands as an important reminder of the changes brought on by industrialization.

Slater Mills is just a short walk across the street from Blackstone Valley Visitor Center

4:30 pm: Happy Hour and Dinner
Join in this optional gathering to continue the conversation! Details coming soon.

Please note: This is an optional opportunity at the cost of the attendee.

Schedule is subject to change

Thank You Sponsors!

Supporting Organization

Please log in to register for Narrow Fabrics Institute Northeast Networking Event 2022.


June 24 10:00 am EDT

June 24 4:00 pm EDT

Janelle Buerkley


Blackstone Valley Visitors Center and Old Slater Mills

175 Main Street
Pawtucket, RI 02860