2020 Executive Conference Opening Remarks

SPESA Chairwoman Nina McCormack welcomed attendees to the 2020 SPESA Virtual Executive Conference October 29th and shared her hopes for the SPESA membership and the sewn products industry moving forward.

It is my pleasure to welcome you to SPESA’s first ever virtual Executive Conference!

While I had most certainly hoped to welcome all of you in person to Boston this year, I am excited to share a few virtual hours over the next couple of afternoons with you.

Many of you are very familiar with SPESA, but for some who might be new to our organization as well as our conference, I wanted to share some brief information on what SPESA is. SPESA is the industry association for suppliers to the sewn products industry, which includes apparel, upholstered furniture, home textiles, transportation interiors, leather goods, footwear, industrial textiles and more.

These suppliers are manufacturers and distributors of machinery, systems, technology, supply chain solutions, equipment, and related parts and supplies, along with other products and services used for the development, manufacture, or distribution of sewn products.

It is our mission at SPESA to provide members and industry partners with the highest quality networking, education, and information within the global sewn products industry. supply chain solutions, equipment, and parts, along with

I would like to thank our sponsors, Gerber Technology, Methods Workshop, and Tukatech, for their continuous support and for enabling us to host this conference. I also want to thank the SPESA Management Team, Michael, Marie, and Maggie, who have put great effort into planning this conference to keep us up-to-date on industry topics.

Over the next two afternoons we will talk about the “Past, Present, and Future” of the sewn products industry which seems appropriate as SPESA celebrates its 30thanniversary. The conference will feature a combination of speakers and panel discussions for attendees to learn and engage.

We will kick things off with our keynote speaker Dr. Roger Tutterow who will give us a global economic outlook moving into 2021 and beyond. He will be followed this afternoon by trade and tariff expert Nicole Bivens Collinson, President of Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, and Dr. Sheng Lu who will examine the existing and changing global supply chain and the impact of Covid-19.

Tomorrow we will start with Lloyd Wood, from the U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration, followed by our Technology Panel featuring speakers from Bluewater Defense, ARM, and AFFOA, as well as a presentation by Jeff Streader on the Digitalization of the Sewn Products Industry.

Networking has always been an important part of every SPESA conference. Although we can’t be together in person this year and share a coffee, glass of wine, or scotch, I hope you will all join us for the happy hour immediately following our last speaker this afternoon. I was told by team “M”, as I like to call Michael, Maggie, and Marie sometimes, that they have prepared for some fun trivia games.

As all of us during these unprecedented times of 2020, SPESA also had to adapt and find new ways of engaging its members and keeping our industry informed.

While Texprocess Americas and our planned and sure to be very successful Advancements in Manufacturing Technologies Conference weren’t possible this year, SPESA hosted several webinars, some of them together with our partners VDMA and SEAMS, concerning the topics on how COVID-19 affects our industry.

At the beginning of this year, we also hosted a SPESA After Hours event in Miami that punctuated SPESA’s dedication to networking and building connections. These events give SPESA members, and others in the industry, a chance to get together to discuss the state of the sewn products industry and how SPESA can best support its members in the future.

Hopefully, we will get an indication over the next two afternoons where our industry stands today. There is a lot of uncertainty right now, but I believe 2020 has taught all of us so far, that we have to adapt, do this quickly, and that every challenge brings new opportunities. We might never completely go back to doing business as before, but the opportunities are out there and it is up to all of us to find them and take advantage of them.

Thank you again for joining us and I look forward to a successful first virtual SPESA conference.