2019 Executive Conference Speakers
Carlos Botero is the President of Inexmoda (the Institute to Connect and Transform the Fashion Industry), a private non-profit institution that links players of the fashion system to transform and strengthen the fashion and design industry in Colombia, promoting its growth and development. In his position, Mr. Botero leads innovation efforts, builds connections with key players in fibers, textiles, and apparel, and develops tools that enable competitiveness.
Mr. Botero has been intimately connected to the fashion world since 2001, when he held the position of Executive Director in the Cotton, Fibers, Textiles and Apparel Camera Sectorial at ANDI. Since then, he has been artificer of multiple international trade agreements, acting as sector representative and spokesperson in trade agreements between Colombia and the North Triangle, Canada, Mexico, EFTA, and the European Union. He was actively involved in the negotiation of the United States-Colombia FTA. Prior to this, Mr. Botero worked in the private and public sector where he held the position of Treasury Secretary in the Colombian state Risaralda, and in many opportunities of Deputy Governor.
Mr. Botero is also a member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the International Apparel Federation.
President, Cape Fear Apparel & Bear Fiber, Inc.
Guy Carpenter is the President of Cape Fear Apparel and Bear Fiber, Inc.. He has more than 30 years of experience on five continents as a senior executive, consultant, trainer, and auditor in sourcing, textile, and apparel manufacturing and sales. His professional experience includes management of large yarn-forward apparel manufacturing companies, developing successful consumer/wholesale apparel brands and their distribution networks in the United States and Europe. Driven by the vision to create an overall business case for all partners in a supply chain, Mr. Carpenter combines sustainability expertise with business and brand building perspective to assist companies in reaching their sourcing and corporate goals.
Political Commentator & Media Personality
James “The Ragin’ Cajun” Carville gained significant notoriety in the late 1980s and early 1990s when he managed the gubernatorial victory of Robert Casey in Pennsylvania in 1986, helped guide Wallace Wilkinson to the governor’s seat in Kentucky in 1987, managed the successful 1990 gubernatorial campaign of Georgia’s Lieutenant Governor Zell Miller, including a tough primary win over Atlanta mayor Andrew Young, and in 1991 drew national attention when he led Senator Harris Wofford from 40 points behind in the polls to an upset landslide victory over former Pennsylvania Governor and U.S. Attorney General Richard Thornburgh. His most prominent victory was in 1992 when he helped William Jefferson Clinton win the Presidency. Mr. Carville is also a best-selling author, actor, producer, talk-show host, speaker, restaurateur, and professor of Practice at Tulane University in New Orleans.
Nicole Bivens Collinson
President, Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A.
Nicole Bivens Collinson leads the International Trade and Government relations practice of Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A., and serves as managing principal of the Washington, D.C., office. She is also a member of the Firm's Operating Committee and a commentator on trade matters on MSNBC and NPR.
Ms. Collinson has over 30 years of experience in government, public affairs, and lobbying. She has drafted and guided the successful implementation of several pieces of key international trade legislation positively affecting the bottom line of many U.S. companies. Ms. Collinson prepares countries, companies, and associations for negotiations with the United States on free trade agreements, trade and investment agreements, labor disputes, or other preferential programs. She also works directly with U.S. multinational corporations and associations, as well as foreign companies, associations, and government agencies, to clearly represent their positions in Washington.
President & CEO, National Council of Textile Organizations
Kim Glas is the President & CEO at the National Council of Textile Organizations. She has over 20 years of experience in government policy development and advocacy. Her multifaceted career includes spearheading manufacturing and trade policy efforts on Capitol Hill, serving as a key leader on behalf of the textile industry in the Administration, and leading a non-profit organization working to advance critical policies to grow quality, U.S. jobs in the clean energy economy.
Most recently she served as Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance, a non-profit partnership of labor and environmental organizations. Before leading the BlueGreen Alliance, Ms. Glas served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Textiles, Consumer Goods, and Materials at the U.S. Department of Commerce. She also served as the chairman for the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements, which supervises the negotiation and implementation of textile and apparel agreements.
Ms. Glas served for a decade on Capitol Hill working extensively on manufacturing, trade, and economic policy issues for Congressman Michael H. Michaud from Maine and Congressman John J. LaFalce from New York. She was also Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Director for Congressman Michaud.
Chief Technology Officer, Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing
Arnie Kravitz is the Chief Technology Officer of Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM). In this role, Mr. Kravitz drives ARM’s technical vision to help the organization fulfill its mission of increasing U.S. global competitiveness by accelerating innovative technologies that make robots more accessible to U.S. manufacturers. He achieves this goal, in part, by convening experts and stakeholders from among ARM’s industrial, academic, non-profit, and government partners.
Mr. Kravitz has spent over 37 years designing, developing, and manufacturing a large portfolio of products that include aquatic robots, autonomous vehicles, robotic, augmented, and virtual reality vision systems, self-learning inference engine-based systems, commercial consumer electronics, and cryptographic devices. He has taught as an Adjunct Professor at The Johns Hopkins University and has significant experience exploiting emerging tools and techniques to rapidly transform new ideas into manufactured products. Mr. Kravitz holds a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Executive Vice President, American Apparel & Footwear Association
Stephen Lamar is Executive Vice President at the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA). Mr. Lamar is responsible for the design and execution of AAFA lobbying strategies on a series of issues covering trade, supply chains, and brand protection. In these roles, Mr. Lamar also advises AAFA member companies on legislation and regulatory policies affecting the clothing and footwear industries. Prior to AAFA, Steve was a trade analyst at the U.S. Department of Commerce. Mr. Lamar is also President of the Washington International Trade Association (WITA), a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to providing a neutral forum for discussion of international trade policy and related issues.
Acting Administrator & General Counsel, U.S. Small Business Administration
Chris Pilkerton is the Acting Administrator and General Counsel for the U.S. Small Business Administration. Mr. Pilkerton serves as the Acting Administrator and General Counsel of the U.S. Small Business Administration. As leader of the SBA, he is an advocate for America’s 30 million small businesses and works to connect entrepreneurs to the resources they need to start, grow, and expand businesses of their own. Prior to his time with the SBA, Mr. Pilkerton was a compliance director at JP Morgan Chase, helping businesses manage risk and regulatory change. He began his legal career as a prosecutor in New York and later investigated cases related to insider trading and accounting fraud at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He has also worked in private practice and taught public policy at Catholic University’s law school.
Senior Director, Enterprise Risk Manager, VF Corporation
Mick Reed is the Senior Director of Strategy & Enterprise Risk Management at VF Corporation. A U.S. veteran and former pilot on Marine One, Mr. Reed utilizes his background in military operations and strategic planning to inform his expertise on companies in the sewn products industry and how to activate enterprise risk management as a system to predict and shape their futures. This forward-looking approach can help companies anticipate emerging forces of change – industry, technology, society, geopolitical influences – that can impact their business and where they want to be in the future.
Gary F. Simmons was President and Chief Executive Officer of Gerber Childrenswear LLC, one of the nation’s leading marketers of infant and toddler apparel and related products. Mr. Simmons joined Gerber Childrenswear as President in March 2005 and was promoted to President and Chief Executive Officer in April 2007, retiring in April 2018. During his thirteen years at Gerber he managed successfully three different ownership relationships, Public, Private Equity (Sun Capital) and Family (Intradeco) and the purchase of Triboro Bedding merging the two successfully in 2016 – 2017. He joined the Intradeco (Owners of Gerber Childrenswear) Board of Directors in April 2018. Mr. Simmons is the current Board Chair of the American Apparel and Footwear Association.
Dan St. Louis
Executive Director, Manufacturing Solutions Center
Dan St. Louis has been the Director of the Manufacturing Solutions Center (MSC) since its inception in 1990. The MSC exists to create and maintain jobs in the US. The MSC has grown to a staff of 26 full time employees serving all of North Carolina. It is housed in a new 30,000 square foot building located in Conover, North Carolina, and is part of Catawba Valley Community College. Services include testing, applied R&D, prototyping, on-site business incubation, helping entrepreneurs launch new products, and customized training. The MSC has a customer list of over 1600 companies located in all 50 states and 42 foreign countries. Mr. St. Louis is a graduate of North Carolina State University and previously worked in manufacturing at Springs Industries and Collins and Aikman Incorporated.
Project Coordinator, Carolina Textile District
Tanya Wade is the Project Coordinator for the Carolina Textile District (CTD), an enterprise of The Industrial Commons (TIC). Since joining CTD in 2013, she has immersed herself in the textile industry to learn as much as possible about every process involved in producing cut and sewn products. She is a resource for entrepreneurs who want to produce goods domestically and connects them to CTD's members and referrals. She is also the Entrepreneur Intake Administrator at the Manufacturing Solutions Center, one of the co-founders of CTD and a strong partner with TIC, which specializes in testing, R&D, prototyping, training, and more. Ms. Wade has a wide range of office experience including a background in human resources, office management, logistics, RTV, OS&D, and customer service. In 2016, she graduated Magna Cum Laude with an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science in Web Technology from Catawba Valley Community College.
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Textiles, Consumer Goods, and Materials, U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration
Lloyd Wood was appointed the Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS) for Textiles, Consumer Goods, and Materials (TCGM) in February 2019. As DAS, he oversees programs and strategies to designed to boost U.S. jobs and exports by improving the global competitiveness of a wide range of U.S. manufacturing industries, including textiles, apparel, footwear, travel products, consumer goods, chemicals, metals, building products, and forest products.
Prior to joining the International Trade Administration, Mr. Wood consulted or worked for organizations representing domestic textile interests, including the National Council of Textile Organizations; the U.S. Industrial Fabrics Institute and Narrow Fabrics Institute divisions of the Industrial Fabrics Association International; and the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition.
President & CFO at HomTex, Inc.
Gerald “Jeremy” Edward Wootten, III graduated from Harvard College in 2005 with a BA Degree with a concentration in Government studies. Upon graduation, he went to work with HomTex, Inc., founded by his father Gerald “Jerry” Edward Wootten, Jr. Jeremy Wooten began as VP of Operations for the company. In 2010, he became Chief Operating Officer and then President and CFO in 2013.
HomTex, Inc. is headquartered in Cullman, Alabama, and has domestic manufacturing and distribution facilities located in Vinemont, Alabama; Sylva, North Carolina; Leoma, Tennessee; and Belton, South Carolina. HomTex has offices and showrooms in New York, Las Vegas, and Atlanta. There are two sourcing offices overseas located in Hangzhou, China and Mumbai, India. The company owns the brands Dreamfit, Southern Proper, Simply Home, Dream Essence, Loom Craft, and New Hope Fabrics.
Currently, Mr. Wooten serves as the Ex-Officio President of the SEAMS Association. He is a member of the Southern Textile Association and the National Council of Textile Organizations.
Program Coordinator, The Industrial Commons and Work in Burke
Tea Yang is the Program Coordinator for Work in Burke, a project of Burke Development, Inc., and The Industrial Commons. She markets and promotes college and career opportunities for Burke County, North Carolina, students through a network of government and education institutions, and industry leaders vested in economic growth and retention. She is a graduate of Western Piedmont Community College with her Associates in Arts where she also currently serves on the Board of Trustees. She also holds a Bachelor’s in Communication with a focus on Media Studies and Production from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.