Did you know the defense industry is the second largest segment of our state’s economy after agriculture, and that North Carolina is the home to more textile manufacturers (600+) than any other state in America?
The fact that North Carolina has earned the designation of “Defense Manufacturing Communities” shows the confidence the Department of Defense (DoD) has that North Carolina can respond to national priorities for textile soldier systems, including individual and unit tactical gear, uniforms, and personal protective equipment.
North Carolina is fortunate to have academic resources like the North Carolina State University Wilson College of Textiles and other partner agencies that are well suited to address military requirements in the areas of advanced yarns and fabrics, topical fabric treatments, innovative smart textiles and wearables. They accomplish this through a centralized approach of educating, identifying and recruiting manufacturing partners and technical resources.
The Federal and Defense Textile Summit (FEDTEX) is an event that hosts open dialog from the brightest in textile academia, textile manufacturers and textile suppliers together with DoD and federal agencies. This event is hosted by the Office of US Senator Thom Tillis, the North Carolina Military Business Center (NCMBC) and the North Carolina Defense Technology Transition Office (DEFTECH).
FEDTEX will be held at the McKimmon Conference Center at North Carolina State University on May 23-24, 2023. The event website is: https://fedtex.ncmbc.us and registration information can be found at: https://fedtex.ncmbc.us/registration/.
Who should attend FEDTEX? This event is open to all existing US textile DoD and federal contractors, textile suppliers, plus any companies interested in learning how to grow their businesses while satisfying the needs of our warfighters. The business case opportunity is real. As an example, in FY 2021, the Defense Logistics Agency (Clothing and Textiles) procured over 50,000 textile related line items of textile product equating to $2.3 billion in awards to manufacturers.
Most textile procurements are protected by the Berry and Kissell Amendments - a protection for US textile manufacturers. These laws are in place for DoD procurements and intended to ensure textiles (including uniforms, footwear, and other textile related equipment) are fully American made. Compliance requires that not just final products, but all materials and supplies that go into making the final product are sourced from the US. That means, for example, a uniform must be from US sourced fibers/yarns woven into US textile fabric, then cut, sewed, and assembled with buttons, braid, and snaps all from US origin. Even though this creates its own supply chain challenges, the Berry and Kissell amendments also provide “quite the advantage” for US-based manufacturers.
FEDTEX attendees will hear briefs and have open social dialog with senior leadership from the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), the US Army Program Executive Office (PEO Soldier), the US Army Combat Development Command Soldier Center (DEVCOM), Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC), procurement officials from every military branch, as well as other prime federal agencies.
The FEDTEX agenda highlights include textile technology innovations with military applications, hosting in-depth tours of the Woven and Nonwoven facilities at North Carolina State University Wilson College of Textiles, a mini trade show and networking social forum, a business economic forecast brief, procurement requirement briefs from each military service and specific commodity product breakout sessions. There will also be open dialog on procurement challenges such as workforce, and inflation and supply chain that will certainly be of interest to any manufacturer.
At the NC Military Business Center, our #1 priority is to help North Carolina businesses compete and win federal contracts. We hope to connect with you at FEDTEX. For more information about FEDTEX or any of our other networking events, please visit https://www.ncmbc.us/.
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